Everything You Need To Know About Texas BBQ

by Bebe Brown on May 15, 2020 in Food+Drink, Living Texas,
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There are four regional styles of Texas BBQ—all of them mouthwatering.
Impress your foodiest of friends by learning how to identify them here. Plus, now that you’re in the ‘cue mood, we’ve got great news…

Some of the state’s most famed barbecue joints are now safely delivering across Texas and beyond. So, even if you’re staying safe at home, you can still support top pitmasters by ordering Texas barbecue to be shipped directly to your doorstep.

The Four Regional Styles of Texas BBQ

Central Texas Style 

Snow’s BBQ, Lexington, TX. Photo courtesy Travel Texas

“In Texas, Brisket is king and sauce is served on the side.”

Dry Rubbed Brisket gets slow smoked over mesquite, oak and hickory for at least 12 hours and is sliced and served with a couple of slices of white bread and sauce on the side (if you need it).

Looking for Central Texas style ‘cue? Then head to Lockhart, the BBQ capital of Texas, population 12,000. The town’s four BBQ restaurants get, in normal times, 5,000 visitors each week. In 1999, the Texas House of Representatives passed a resolution proclaiming Lockhart the BBQ Capital of Texas. The Texas Senate followed suit in 2003.

Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que, Llano. Photo courtesy Travel Texas

Can’t make it to Lockhart? These Central Texas Style pits are now shipping across Texas and beyond:

Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que (Since 1962, serving up delicious brisket, ribs and sausage. But you can never go wrong with their famous “Big Chop”); Louie Mueller Barbecue (Family-owned since 1949, and still serving their famous “dino” beef ribs—the name says it all!); Snow’s BBQ (their famous pitmaster, Tootsie Tomanetz, is now in her 80s, yet she still serves up delicious BBQ worth the trip—or in this case, the order); Kreuz Market (there’ve been a few changes since they opened in 1900 but one thing that hasn’t changed is the delicious meats they serves up); The Original Black’s Barbecue (the Black family tradition goes back more than three generations); The Salt Lick (idyllic location, stunningly huge pit and a sauce mop—yes, we said mop—to keep the meat moist and delicious.)

Pecan Lodge, Dallas. Photo courtesy Travel Texas

West Texas Style

They do it “Cowboy Style” in West Texas, with chicken, sausage and ribs cooked over direct heat of mesquite wood. Try it at: Evie Mae’s BBQ (Wolfforth)

South Texas Style

The Mexican influence meets BBQ with Barbacoa. The whole head of a cow gets smoked, baked or steamed, and the cheek and tongue meat get served as tacos. Try it at: Vera’s Backyard Bar-B-Que (Brownsville)

Gatlin’s BBQ, Houston. Photo courtesy Travel Texas

East Texas Style

This style is heavily influenced by southern cooking, which brings pork and even more sides into the mix. Here you’ll find more chopped meat sandwiches, pork ribs and sauce. Try it al: Ray’s Real Pit BBQ Shack (Houston)

Fun BBQ Facts: 

• Classic Texas BBQ sides are beans, slaw, potato salad and Texas Toast. 

• For dessert, there’s usually Pecan or Lemon Chess Pie, Peach Cobbler or a Texas Sheet Cake (basically, a giant brownie.) 

• The first BBQ state dinner in United States history was in 1964, courtesy of Texas native, President Lyndon B. Johnson

Cover photo Pecan Lodge, Dallas. Courtesy Travel Texas