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Brisket from Opie’s
Brisket from Opie’s
Opie’s Barbecue/Facebook

7 Outstanding Barbecue Spots in the Hill Country

Find top-tier brisket, sausage, and more at these superb smokehouses

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Brisket from Opie’s
| Opie’s Barbecue/Facebook

Barbecue is in Texas's bloodlines, and the state does the smoked meat properly. Yes, everyone knows about the Lone Star State’s absolute best barbecue spots, from Austin to Dallas to Houston, but what about those smoked meat joints elsewhere, perhaps the picturesque Hill Country? The region is more than just areas for antiquing, swimming, hiking, and posing with bluebonnets.

Eater mapped out the best Hill Country barbecue destinations in Texas. There’s the original Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que in Llano, pork chops from Opie’s Barbecue in Spicewood, the fun and delicious vibes of San Marcos’s Hays County Barbeque and music, and yes, the atmospheric grounds and pit of Driftwood’s Salt Lick BBQ, among others. For the purposes of this map, Austin proper and Lockhart aren’t being included (Eater has those covered elsewhere).

Extend those Hill Country plans by exploring the area’s best restaurants and pie options, or dig into the offerings within Fredericksburg and Dripping Springs.

As with all businesses right now, be sure to call ahead to make sure each restaurant is still open or if there are updates on current offerings and service models, as things are changing constantly. Be sure to wear a mask, tip well, and, if you’re ordering delivery, try to order directly from the restaurant themselves.

The latest CDC guidance for vaccinated diners during the COVID-19 outbreak is here; dining out still carries risks for unvaccinated diners and workers. Please be aware of changing local rules, and check individual restaurant websites for any additional restrictions such as mask requirements. Find a local vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Payne’s Bar-B-Q Shak

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616 TX-29
Burnet, TX 78611
(512) 756-8227
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Sausages and briskets are the highlight of the Burnet, Texas barbecue joint, run by butchers-turned-pitmasters Robert and Penny Payne, so much so it landed on Texas Monthly’s coveted best barbecue list for the first time ever in 2017. Outdoor seating is available.

2. Cooper's Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que

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505 W Dallas St
Llano, TX 78643
(325) 247-5713
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Bypass the downtown Austin and the New Braunfels locations of Cooper’s and head straight for mini-chain’s first location. The Llano pits are where so many cuts of meat are smoked (don't miss out on the pork chops) and there’s plentiful seating. Even better: barbecue is available into the evening hours as well. Takeout and dine-in services are available.

A barbecue tray from Cooper’s
A barbecue tray from Cooper’s
Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que/Facebook

3. Opie’s BBQ

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9504 TX-71
Spicewood, TX 78669
(830) 693-8660
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The go-to Spicewood barbecue restaurant features plentiful smoked meats, from tender brisket, customers choose their barbecue cuts, including tender brisket, spicy-sweet baby back ribs, and full-on pork chops. The dessert menu is tight, too, from the fruit cobblers to the off-menu Coca-Cola cake. Takeout and indoor dine-in services are available.

A barbecue tray from Opie’s
A barbecue tray from Opie’s
Opie’s BBQ/Facebook

4. Alice's Restaurant at Treaty Oak Distilling

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16604 Fitzhugh Rd
Dripping Springs, TX 78620
(512) 400-4023
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Among the Dripping Springs on-site restaurant’s varied menu is a short but smart one, which makes sense given that pitmaster Elias Vidal helped open Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ with his brother, Miguel Vidal. There’s brisket, pork in the form of pulled and spare ribs, and turkey; plus the smoked meats are available in Frito pie, sandwiches, and tacos. It’s also another later-night barbecue option. Takeout and outdoor/indoor dine-in services are available.

Glazed pork ribs from Alice’s
Glazed pork ribs from Alice’s
Alice’s Restaurant/Facebook

5. The Switch BBQ

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166 Hargraves Dr Suite G-100
Austin, TX 78737
(512) 212-7211
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Revered Austin barbecue restaurant Stiles Switch opened this Hill Country restaurant combining barbecue and Cajun fare. This means dishes such as gumbo full of smoked brisket and sausage alongside the expected meats lineup (brisket, sausage, turkey, pulled pork, etc.). Takeout (online and call-ahead), Door Dash delivery, and indoor/outdoor dine-in services are available.

Brisket from the Switch
Brisket from the Switch
The Switch/Facebook

6. The Salt Lick

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18300 Farm to Market Rd 1826
Driftwood, TX
(512) 858-4959
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Vibes and atmosphere are everything and that’s where the Driftwood barbecue restaurant shines. Order up barbecue, sides, and desserts, and take a seat inside or outside, while taking advantage of wine from Salt Lick Cellars. Then there’s the ever-popular and much-photographed barbecue pit. It’s open in the evening as well. Takeout, national shipping, and indoor/outdoor dine-in services are available.

Salt Lick’s pit
Salt Lick
Salt Lick/Facebook

7. Hays County Barbeque

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1612 S Interstate Hwy 35
San Marcos, TX 78666
(512) 392-6000
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Michael and Asenette Hernandez turned the former Woody’s BBQ into a fun, easy, casual restaurant in San Marcos with outdoor seating, and, most importantly, stellar barbecue, from brisket to smoked chicken. Takeout and indoor/outdoor dine-in services are available.

A barbecue tray from Hays County Barbeque
A barbecue tray from Hays County Barbeque
Hays County Barbeque/Facebook

1. Payne’s Bar-B-Q Shak

616 TX-29, Burnet, TX 78611

Sausages and briskets are the highlight of the Burnet, Texas barbecue joint, run by butchers-turned-pitmasters Robert and Penny Payne, so much so it landed on Texas Monthly’s coveted best barbecue list for the first time ever in 2017. Outdoor seating is available.

616 TX-29
Burnet, TX 78611

2. Cooper's Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que

505 W Dallas St, Llano, TX 78643
A barbecue tray from Cooper’s
A barbecue tray from Cooper’s
Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que/Facebook

Bypass the downtown Austin and the New Braunfels locations of Cooper’s and head straight for mini-chain’s first location. The Llano pits are where so many cuts of meat are smoked (don't miss out on the pork chops) and there’s plentiful seating. Even better: barbecue is available into the evening hours as well. Takeout and dine-in services are available.

505 W Dallas St
Llano, TX 78643

3. Opie’s BBQ

9504 TX-71, Spicewood, TX 78669
A barbecue tray from Opie’s
A barbecue tray from Opie’s
Opie’s BBQ/Facebook

The go-to Spicewood barbecue restaurant features plentiful smoked meats, from tender brisket, customers choose their barbecue cuts, including tender brisket, spicy-sweet baby back ribs, and full-on pork chops. The dessert menu is tight, too, from the fruit cobblers to the off-menu Coca-Cola cake. Takeout and indoor dine-in services are available.

9504 TX-71
Spicewood, TX 78669

4. Alice's Restaurant at Treaty Oak Distilling

16604 Fitzhugh Rd, Dripping Springs, TX 78620
Glazed pork ribs from Alice’s
Glazed pork ribs from Alice’s
Alice’s Restaurant/Facebook

Among the Dripping Springs on-site restaurant’s varied menu is a short but smart one, which makes sense given that pitmaster Elias Vidal helped open Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ with his brother, Miguel Vidal. There’s brisket, pork in the form of pulled and spare ribs, and turkey; plus the smoked meats are available in Frito pie, sandwiches, and tacos. It’s also another later-night barbecue option. Takeout and outdoor/indoor dine-in services are available.

16604 Fitzhugh Rd
Dripping Springs, TX 78620

5. The Switch BBQ

166 Hargraves Dr Suite G-100, Austin, TX 78737
Brisket from the Switch
Brisket from the Switch
The Switch/Facebook

Revered Austin barbecue restaurant Stiles Switch opened this Hill Country restaurant combining barbecue and Cajun fare. This means dishes such as gumbo full of smoked brisket and sausage alongside the expected meats lineup (brisket, sausage, turkey, pulled pork, etc.). Takeout (online and call-ahead), Door Dash delivery, and indoor/outdoor dine-in services are available.

166 Hargraves Dr Suite G-100
Austin, TX 78737

6. The Salt Lick

18300 Farm to Market Rd 1826, Driftwood, TX
Salt Lick’s pit
Salt Lick
Salt Lick/Facebook

Vibes and atmosphere are everything and that’s where the Driftwood barbecue restaurant shines. Order up barbecue, sides, and desserts, and take a seat inside or outside, while taking advantage of wine from Salt Lick Cellars. Then there’s the ever-popular and much-photographed barbecue pit. It’s open in the evening as well. Takeout, national shipping, and indoor/outdoor dine-in services are available.

18300 Farm to Market Rd 1826
Driftwood, TX

7. Hays County Barbeque

1612 S Interstate Hwy 35, San Marcos, TX 78666
A barbecue tray from Hays County Barbeque
A barbecue tray from Hays County Barbeque
Hays County Barbeque/Facebook

Michael and Asenette Hernandez turned the former Woody’s BBQ into a fun, easy, casual restaurant in San Marcos with outdoor seating, and, most importantly, stellar barbecue, from brisket to smoked chicken. Takeout and indoor/outdoor dine-in services are available.

1612 S Interstate Hwy 35
San Marcos, TX 78666

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