There’s nothing better than exploring the back roads of Texas, especially when your destination includes barbecue. Thanks to Texas 46 BBQ, it’s easy to explore and land in the right spot: your destination is in its name.
Texas 46 is a state highway that winds through a delightful swath of the Hill Country that includes Seguin, New Braunfels and Boerne. It’s a beautiful drive, made even better with a great barbecue spot to enjoy.
Located on an imaginary line between Spring Branch and Bulverde, Texas 46 BBQ offers “roadhouse ambience”—yes, that is a thing and it is one to enjoy. Vintage beer and band memorabilia, old signs from across the state and a covered front patio that opens up to lawn shaded by large oak trees. Picnic tables outside mean you can enjoy a beer (or two) over a game of washers or while the kids enjoy chalk art and other games.
Restaurateur Cuatro Kowalski, the owner of Freedmen’s in Austin, resurrected the over 30-year-old Texas 46 Bar and Grill and reimagined it as a barbecue destination. But what you really want to know about is the meat, right? The pit masters at Texas 46 BBQ smoke meats low and slow. Using post oak wood in four 1,000-gallon offset smokers, minimally seasoning the barbecue so the meat can shine. Meats by the quarter pound include brisket, pork and beef ribs, pulled pork, turkey breast, jalapeño cheddar sausage and daily house-made TX46 Sausage.
If your group includes some non-barbecue fans (elusive, but even in Texas, they do exist), Texas 46 BBQ has options for them, too. There are even salads on the menu, including a wedge with fabulous marinated tomatoes and crispy bacon. Burger lovers should check out the Gary, stacked with chopped brisket, bacon, cheese and a fried onion ring. Other solid options include a pulled pork sandwich, chicken fried steak burger and a salmon burger that features a fried green tomato.
Carnivores may scoff, but you can’t judge barbecue by meat alone. For the full experience, you need terrific sides, too, and Texas 46 definitely doesn’t skimp here. The sides stand on their own and are large enough to share (or hoard for yourself to ensure you have leftovers to enjoy later). Just know that while they sound standard, these sides are anything but and you’ll be thankful you made room for them.
Coleslaw that features delicately sliced red peppers alongside cabbage and cilantro? Not usual, but a great accompaniment for barbecue and with a bit of a twang, a welcome change to the standard coleslaw dripping in mayo. The potato salad also has a nice bite to it and the golden potatoes stand up well to provide good flavor. The Cowboy Beans include Mexican chilis, giving them more of a chili flavor that’s a fantastic match with the barbecue.
All of the sides were wonderful, but there’s a couple that I’m still craving/planning return visits for/might have changed my life. Yes, the cream corn and the fried okra are that good. The first hint that the cream corn isn’t typical is the inclusion of jalapeños. This corn screams freshly shucked and lightly cooked to bring out the flavor. Topped with panko bread crumbs, it is most reminiscent of Mexican street corn, not the typical sweet corn swimming in white cream that you find at most barbecue spots. It’s a must, trust me. So is the okra. I love okra and Texas 46 BBQ gets it more than right. Crisp, lightly covered in cornmeal, and not a hint of grease. Though the serving was generous, we didn’t leave a bite behind.
And what would a good road trip be without a sweet ending? Texas 46 BBQ offers generous portions of a fabulous mixed berry cobbler, not too sweet and great with ice cream, though that was a special that we devoured and it may not always be on the menu. The skillet pies give dessert a barbecue twist: the Texas pecan pie features a lemon crust that’s pit smoked. Enjoy dessert, savor some extra time on the porch, and make sure you cruise Texas 46 often.
Dawn Robinette is an award-winning writer and communications expert based in San Antonio who enjoys finding new discoveries, revisiting old favorites and telling stories. She regularly writes for San Antonio Woman and Rio Magazine. You can read more of her work at Alamo City Moms Blog.