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A tray of ribs, a cardboard tray of rice and nuts and a dessert in a container.
Barbecue from KG BBQ.
Cat Cardenas/Eater Austin

12 Essential Barbecue Restaurants in Austin

The absolute best smoked meats destinations in the city with so many smoky briskets, ribs, and sausages

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Barbecue from KG BBQ.
| Cat Cardenas/Eater Austin

Barbecue is a way of life in Texas, there’s just no way around it. The nationally recognized smoked meat scene found in the Austin area is so important that pitmaster Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue even won a James Beard Award; Distant Relatives pitmaster Damien Brockway was a two-time semifinalist; and KG BBQ pitmaster Kareem El-Ghayesh was a first-time semifinalist.

Here is Eater’s updated definitive guide to the finest barbecue in Austin, including places with and without lines, outdoor picnic table seating and indoor table service, restaurants and food trucks, and all the briskets, ribs, and sausages a person could ever want. This means Franklin Barbecue, La Barbecue, African American-slanted Distant Relatives, Egyptian takes at KG BBQ. many others. Brisket is naturally recommended at all of the restaurants and trucks below and remember — barbecue is typically a daytime meal.

For other smoked meats needs, Eater Austin has it covered: there are Hill Country picks, excellent ribs, best sandwiches, stellar sides, desserts, and more. Then there's the Austin barbecue primer and a guide to the barbecue capital of the world, Lockhart.

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Interstellar BBQ

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The Anderson Mill-adjacent restaurant from John Bates and Brandon Martinez (of the long-gone Noble Sandwich Co.) was named the second-best barbecue joint in the state by Texas Monthly. The menu is full of meats by weight (including sliced or chopped brisket), sandwiches, and tacos. The sides are particularly great as well. Expect lines.


Service style: counter-service with indoor and outdoor dine-in areas; takeout orders can be placed in person or advanced preorders online.
Days and hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. or until everything is sold out.
Recommended orders: brisket, peach tea-glazed pork belly, pork spare ribs, beef kielbasa, turkey, and smoked scalloped potatoes.

Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew

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The Brentwood barbecue restaurant is a prime spot with seating that is focused on good smoked meats by the weight; plenty of daily specials like smoked prime ribs; chicken wings, and enchiladas; and solid desserts. Lead pitmaster Lance Kirkpatrick trained under Bob Mueller in Taylor. There’s a second location up in Cedar Park, and a Cajun-focused offshoot out in Dripping Springs.


Service style: counter-service with indoor and patio dine-in areas; takeout orders can be placed online or in person.
Days and hours: Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Recommended orders: brisket, beef ribs, pork ribs, turkey, sausages, smoked half-chickens, barbecue sandwiches, and peach cobbler.

Mum Foods

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The farmers market smoked meats stand opened its own physical deli, focused on its well-crafted barbecue in the Pecan Springs-Springdale neighborhood. This means pastrami a la carte or within sandwiches (plus the option of a brioche made with beef tallow), brisket (naturally), turkey breast, and much more. Owner Geoff Ellis is also a James Beard semifinalist this year.

Service-style: counter-service with indoor and outdoor dine-in areas; takeout and delivery orders can be placed orders can be placed online or in person; there are DoorDash deliveries.
Days and hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. until everything is sold out (typically 3 p.m.)
Recommended orders: brisket, pastrami, matzo ball soup (yes), smoked turkey salad, and the pastrami sandwich.

The Eater Award-winning barbecue pop-up-turned-barbecue truck offers Egyptian-Texan smoked meats courtesy of James Beard Award semifinalist pitmaster Kareem El-Ghayesh. The menu is fun and delicious, with barbecue-topped rice bowls, stuffed pitas, and tahini. The location at MLK neighborhood brewery Oddwood Brewing makes it that much easier to pair beers with meats.


Service style: food truck-style service with indoor and outdoor dine-in areas courtesy of the host site; takeout orders can be placed online or in-person.
Days and hours: Thursday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. or until everything is sold out; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. or until everything is sold out.
Recommended orders: brisket, lamb bacon ribs, pomegranate-glazed pork ribs, kebabs, brisket rice bowl, and the cardamom and pistachio rice pudding.

Franklin Barbecue

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Everyone knows about the long lines at Franklin Barbecue — it’s been well documented — but for many, it’s worth the wait for those perfect briskets from James Beard Award-winning pitmaster Aaron Franklin in Central East Austin. It truly is one of the best barbecue restaurants in Austin.


Service style: counter-service with indoor and outdoor dine-in areas; takeout orders can be placed in person; advanced preorders online; and there is national shipping.
Days and hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. until sold out (typically around 2 to 3 p.m.)
Recommended orders: brisket, beef ribs (only available Fridays through Sundays), turkey, sausages, Tipsy Texan sandwich, and the bourbon-banana pie.

A tray of barbecued meats.
Barbecue from Franklin Barbecue.
Franklin Barbecue

Micklethwait Craft Meats

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Pitmasters owner Tom Micklethwait and Ren Garcia serve up thoughtful smoked meats at this Central East Austin food truck parked at their beer garden and bar Saddle Up. Expect the staples (brisket, Tex-Czech sausages, ribs) and standout sides like lemon-poppy slaw and jalapeno cheese grits.


Service style: food truck-style service with outdoor dine-in areas; takeout orders can placed online or in person.
Days and hours: Thursday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. or until everything is sold out.
Recommended orders: brisket, Tex-Czech sausages, beef ribs (only available Saturdays and Sundays), jalapeno-cheese grits, lemon-poppy slaw.

Terry Black's BBQ

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Other members of the famed Black family made their mark on Austin with barbecue, too. Twin sons Mike and Mark Black honor their father with this Bouldin Creek smoked meats restaurant. The typical meats are served by the pound, within sandwiches, or family meal-style ; along with sides, beer, and even wine. It’s an easy destination for larger groups and families.


Service style: counter-service with indoor and outdoor dine-in areas; takeout and delivery orders can be online or in-person; there is national shipping.
Days and hours: Sunday through Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Recommended orders: brisket, smoked turkey, and beef and pork ribs.

Distant Relatives

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Pitmaster/chef/owner Damien Brockway, co-pitmasters Omari Mackey and Graham Penninger, and the McKinney truck at Meanwhile Brewing have quickly made a huge impression in the local barbecue scenes. It was named one of Eater’s best new restaurants of 2021 and Eater Austin’s food truck that same year, plus the pitmaster is a two-time James Beard Award semifinalist (2022 and 2023). The menu honors and explores what modern African American fare really is with a Texas lens, which leads to items such as pulled pork served alongside tamarind barbecue sauce and brisket with a smoked mustard-butter sauce.


Service-style: food truck-style service with indoor and outdoor dine-in areas courtesy of the host site; takeout orders can be placed in person.
Days and hours: Wednesday through Sunday, noon to 8 p.m. or until everything is sold out.
Recommended orders: brisket, pulled pork, chicken leg quarters, burnt ends with black-eyed peas.

A tray of barbecue and sides.
Distant Relatives’s barbecue.
Nicolai McCrary/Eater

La Barbecue

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The Holly barbecue restaurant from the late LeAnn Mueller has a permanent home befitting its ethos of funky cool and delicious vibes. On deck are beautiful briskets, ribs, house-made sausages, and, for something different, caviar, plus beers, Champagne, and cocktails.


Service style: counter-service with indoor and patio dine-in areas; takeout orders can be placed online or in person.
Days and hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Recommended orders: brisket, pulled pork, beef ribs (only available Fridays through Sundays), sausages, the Bobby Dawg, shells and cheese, and pickles.

Brown's Bar-B-Que

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It’s hard to miss the bright red trailer outside Zilker spot Corner Bar, serving simple, high-quality meats. Owner and pitmaster Daniel Brown serves what he calls “old-school barbecue” where the goal is “to give people great food for a cheap price.” Pair the smoked meat plate with drinks from the bar.


Service style: food truck-style service with indoor and outdoor dine-in areas courtesy of the host site; takeout orders can be placed in person.
Days and hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Recommended orders: brisket, pork ribs, chicken, and the pulled pork sandwich.

Leroy & Lewis

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The new-school Dawson neighborhood barbecue trailer and Eater Austin’s best food truck of 2017 from pitmaster Evan LeRoy offers up twists on the usual smoked meat classics. Think beef cheeks, halved avocados stuffed with barbacoa, vegan (!) cauliflower burnt ends, maple-glazed bacon ribs, and more. Stay tuned for the truck’s future physical restaurant, which should be opening soon in Garrison Park neighborhood in South Austin sometime this February 2024.


Service-style: food truck-style service with outdoor and indoor dine-in areas courtesy of host site Cosmic Coffee + Beer Garden; takeout orders can be placed in person.
Days and hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. or until everything is sold out.
Recommended orders: brisket, beef cheeks, barbacoa, brisket burger, cauliflower burnt ends, and the cheddar cheesecake.

A tray of smoked meats.
LeRoy & Lewis’s barbecue tray.
Logan Crable

Moreno Barbecue

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For South Austinites, this Garrison Park neighborhood barbecue truck is the answer for excellent smoked meats, from brisket to sandwiches and tacos. There’s also a dedicated weekend breakfast service with meaty eggy breakfast tacos, and Wednesdays include smoked brisket burgers.


Service-style: food truck-style service with outdoor dine-in areas; takeout orders can be placed online or in person.
Days and hours: Monday through Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Thursday and Friday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., or until everything is sold out.
Recommended orders: brisket, barbacoa (only available on Saturday and Sundays with tortillas), turkey club sandwich, brisket gouda mac and cheese.

Interstellar BBQ

The Anderson Mill-adjacent restaurant from John Bates and Brandon Martinez (of the long-gone Noble Sandwich Co.) was named the second-best barbecue joint in the state by Texas Monthly. The menu is full of meats by weight (including sliced or chopped brisket), sandwiches, and tacos. The sides are particularly great as well. Expect lines.


Service style: counter-service with indoor and outdoor dine-in areas; takeout orders can be placed in person or advanced preorders online.
Days and hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. or until everything is sold out.
Recommended orders: brisket, peach tea-glazed pork belly, pork spare ribs, beef kielbasa, turkey, and smoked scalloped potatoes.

Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew

The Brentwood barbecue restaurant is a prime spot with seating that is focused on good smoked meats by the weight; plenty of daily specials like smoked prime ribs; chicken wings, and enchiladas; and solid desserts. Lead pitmaster Lance Kirkpatrick trained under Bob Mueller in Taylor. There’s a second location up in Cedar Park, and a Cajun-focused offshoot out in Dripping Springs.


Service style: counter-service with indoor and patio dine-in areas; takeout orders can be placed online or in person.
Days and hours: Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Recommended orders: brisket, beef ribs, pork ribs, turkey, sausages, smoked half-chickens, barbecue sandwiches, and peach cobbler.

Mum Foods

The farmers market smoked meats stand opened its own physical deli, focused on its well-crafted barbecue in the Pecan Springs-Springdale neighborhood. This means pastrami a la carte or within sandwiches (plus the option of a brioche made with beef tallow), brisket (naturally), turkey breast, and much more. Owner Geoff Ellis is also a James Beard semifinalist this year.

Service-style: counter-service with indoor and outdoor dine-in areas; takeout and delivery orders can be placed orders can be placed online or in person; there are DoorDash deliveries.
Days and hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. until everything is sold out (typically 3 p.m.)
Recommended orders: brisket, pastrami, matzo ball soup (yes), smoked turkey salad, and the pastrami sandwich.

KG BBQ

The Eater Award-winning barbecue pop-up-turned-barbecue truck offers Egyptian-Texan smoked meats courtesy of James Beard Award semifinalist pitmaster Kareem El-Ghayesh. The menu is fun and delicious, with barbecue-topped rice bowls, stuffed pitas, and tahini. The location at MLK neighborhood brewery Oddwood Brewing makes it that much easier to pair beers with meats.


Service style: food truck-style service with indoor and outdoor dine-in areas courtesy of the host site; takeout orders can be placed online or in-person.
Days and hours: Thursday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. or until everything is sold out; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. or until everything is sold out.
Recommended orders: brisket, lamb bacon ribs, pomegranate-glazed pork ribs, kebabs, brisket rice bowl, and the cardamom and pistachio rice pudding.

Franklin Barbecue

Everyone knows about the long lines at Franklin Barbecue — it’s been well documented — but for many, it’s worth the wait for those perfect briskets from James Beard Award-winning pitmaster Aaron Franklin in Central East Austin. It truly is one of the best barbecue restaurants in Austin.


Service style: counter-service with indoor and outdoor dine-in areas; takeout orders can be placed in person; advanced preorders online; and there is national shipping.
Days and hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. until sold out (typically around 2 to 3 p.m.)
Recommended orders: brisket, beef ribs (only available Fridays through Sundays), turkey, sausages, Tipsy Texan sandwich, and the bourbon-banana pie.

A tray of barbecued meats.
Barbecue from Franklin Barbecue.
Franklin Barbecue

Micklethwait Craft Meats

Pitmasters owner Tom Micklethwait and Ren Garcia serve up thoughtful smoked meats at this Central East Austin food truck parked at their beer garden and bar Saddle Up. Expect the staples (brisket, Tex-Czech sausages, ribs) and standout sides like lemon-poppy slaw and jalapeno cheese grits.


Service style: food truck-style service with outdoor dine-in areas; takeout orders can placed online or in person.
Days and hours: Thursday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. or until everything is sold out.
Recommended orders: brisket, Tex-Czech sausages, beef ribs (only available Saturdays and Sundays), jalapeno-cheese grits, lemon-poppy slaw.

Terry Black's BBQ

Other members of the famed Black family made their mark on Austin with barbecue, too. Twin sons Mike and Mark Black honor their father with this Bouldin Creek smoked meats restaurant. The typical meats are served by the pound, within sandwiches, or family meal-style ; along with sides, beer, and even wine. It’s an easy destination for larger groups and families.


Service style: counter-service with indoor and outdoor dine-in areas; takeout and delivery orders can be online or in-person; there is national shipping.
Days and hours: Sunday through Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Recommended orders: brisket, smoked turkey, and beef and pork ribs.

Distant Relatives

Pitmaster/chef/owner Damien Brockway, co-pitmasters Omari Mackey and Graham Penninger, and the McKinney truck at Meanwhile Brewing have quickly made a huge impression in the local barbecue scenes. It was named one of Eater’s best new restaurants of 2021 and Eater Austin’s food truck that same year, plus the pitmaster is a two-time James Beard Award semifinalist (2022 and 2023). The menu honors and explores what modern African American fare really is with a Texas lens, which leads to items such as pulled pork served alongside tamarind barbecue sauce and brisket with a smoked mustard-butter sauce.


Service-style: food truck-style service with indoor and outdoor dine-in areas courtesy of the host site; takeout orders can be placed in person.
Days and hours: Wednesday through Sunday, noon to 8 p.m. or until everything is sold out.
Recommended orders: brisket, pulled pork, chicken leg quarters, burnt ends with black-eyed peas.

A tray of barbecue and sides.
Distant Relatives’s barbecue.
Nicolai McCrary/Eater

La Barbecue

The Holly barbecue restaurant from the late LeAnn Mueller has a permanent home befitting its ethos of funky cool and delicious vibes. On deck are beautiful briskets, ribs, house-made sausages, and, for something different, caviar, plus beers, Champagne, and cocktails.


Service style: counter-service with indoor and patio dine-in areas; takeout orders can be placed online or in person.
Days and hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Recommended orders: brisket, pulled pork, beef ribs (only available Fridays through Sundays), sausages, the Bobby Dawg, shells and cheese, and pickles.

Brown's Bar-B-Que

It’s hard to miss the bright red trailer outside Zilker spot Corner Bar, serving simple, high-quality meats. Owner and pitmaster Daniel Brown serves what he calls “old-school barbecue” where the goal is “to give people great food for a cheap price.” Pair the smoked meat plate with drinks from the bar.


Service style: food truck-style service with indoor and outdoor dine-in areas courtesy of the host site; takeout orders can be placed in person.
Days and hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Recommended orders: brisket, pork ribs, chicken, and the pulled pork sandwich.

Leroy & Lewis

The new-school Dawson neighborhood barbecue trailer and Eater Austin’s best food truck of 2017 from pitmaster Evan LeRoy offers up twists on the usual smoked meat classics. Think beef cheeks, halved avocados stuffed with barbacoa, vegan (!) cauliflower burnt ends, maple-glazed bacon ribs, and more. Stay tuned for the truck’s future physical restaurant, which should be opening soon in Garrison Park neighborhood in South Austin sometime this February 2024.


Service-style: food truck-style service with outdoor and indoor dine-in areas courtesy of host site Cosmic Coffee + Beer Garden; takeout orders can be placed in person.
Days and hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. or until everything is sold out.
Recommended orders: brisket, beef cheeks, barbacoa, brisket burger, cauliflower burnt ends, and the cheddar cheesecake.

A tray of smoked meats.
LeRoy & Lewis’s barbecue tray.
Logan Crable

Moreno Barbecue

For South Austinites, this Garrison Park neighborhood barbecue truck is the answer for excellent smoked meats, from brisket to sandwiches and tacos. There’s also a dedicated weekend breakfast service with meaty eggy breakfast tacos, and Wednesdays include smoked brisket burgers.


Service-style: food truck-style service with outdoor dine-in areas; takeout orders can be placed online or in person.
Days and hours: Monday through Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Thursday and Friday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., or until everything is sold out.
Recommended orders: brisket, barbacoa (only available on Saturday and Sundays with tortillas), turkey club sandwich, brisket gouda mac and cheese.

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