The 10 Best BBQ Joints in Austin, Texas

From sit-down restaurants to food trucks, here’s where to load up on brisket, ribs and sausages

January 30, 2024 7:42 am
BBQ on a plate, including meat, picked sides, coleslaw and mac and cheese, from Terry Black's, one of the best BBQ joints in Austin, Texas
Go ahead and skip breakfast. You're going to need the room at Terry Black's, and the other nine spots here.
Bethany Ellen Ochs

Smoked meat existed long before the first briskets were cooked low and slow in Central Texas, but there’s no denying that Austin has honed the craft into a world-famous cuisine that draws diners from far and wide, many who happily stand in line for hours all for the honor of scoring a two-meat plate flanked by sides.

Austin’s barbecue scene has grown over the years to include modern interpretations alongside the tried-and-true classics. The newer operations are pushing the category into exciting directions, and young pitmasters are building on the skills and techniques honed by the city’s first BBQ pioneers. All that adds up to a city with a lot of really good barbecue, so consider skipping breakfast, then get out there to experience it for yourself. We’ll help point you in the right direction, with these 10 great barbecue joints in Austin.

InterStellar BBQ

InterStellar is what happens when a fine-dining chef, in this case John Bates, opens a barbecue joint in a North Austin strip mall. Bates sources the best ingredients, including meat, produce and post oak wood that makes clean smoke. That attention to detail is seen on the menu, with brisket and spare ribs joined by less expected items, like peach tea-glazed pork belly, pulled lamb shoulder, smoked scalloped potatoes and a fresh tomato and zucchini salad. The red beans are cooked down with meat and spices, available in a help-yourself container at the end of the counter and, in a welcome twist, they’re free.

12233 Ranch Rd 620 N Suite 105

Plates with meat, bread, various salads and other sides
Plates from Leroy and Lewis
Leroy and Lewis

Leroy and Lewis Barbecue

LeRoy and Lewis promises new-school barbecue and old-school service, and they’ve been dishing up both since opening in 2017 in the lot of Cosmic Coffee + Beer Garden. They source meat from Texas ranches and play the hits with must-haves like brisket and sausage, but the brisket is Akaushi and the sausage is made with Citra hops. The menu also features beef cheeks, barbacoa and massive maple-glazed bacon ribs, plus sides like kimchi, braised cabbage, and pork hash and rice. That fun-loving spirit extends to dessert: cheddar cheesecake with a Ritz crust and apple butter.

121 Pickle Road

Distant Relatives

Head to Meanwhile Brewing, and you already have a nice day ahead of you, but not just because of the beer — the barbecue deserves equal attention. It’s courtesy of the Distant Relatives truck, which is inspired by the foodways and flavors of the African diaspora within the U.S. Using pecan and mixed hardwoods, pitmaster Damien Brockway turns out brisket with smoked mustard butter sauce and chicken leg quarters with chili vinegar dip. For sides, don’t miss the black-eyed peas cooked with burnt ends, and collard greens in barbecue broth.

3901 Promontory Point Drive

Meat, bread, coleslaw, beans and potato salad on a tray
The full experience at Franklin Barbecue
Wyatt McFadden

Franklin Barbecue

The most famous barbecue joint in Texas is still one of its best. Franklin has been putting out perfect briskets since 2009, moving from a truck to its brick and mortar location in 2011. People still line up each day to sample what’s cooking, hoping to score their favorite cuts before they sell out. Go for great examples of traditional Texas barbecue, including brisket, pork ribs, beef ribs, turkey and jalapeño-cheddar sausage.

900 E 11th St

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Meat and other sides on a tray
Familiar looks, singular flavors at KG BBQ


What happens when you fuse Texas barbecue with Egyptian and Middle Eastern flavors? You get KG BBQ, the exciting spot from Kareem El-Ghayesh. He left a finance career in Cairo to follow the siren song of smoked meat, attending culinary school and working at Austin barbecue joints before opening his truck in October 2022. KG BBQ applies a Middle Eastern lens to Central Texas barbecue, as seen in Egyptian-spiced and pomegranate-glazed pork ribs, brisket shawarma, smoked kofta and sumac-and-cinnamon-rubbed lamb shoulder.

3108 Manor Road

Meat and other sides on a tray
La Barbecue was built on tradition
La Barbecue

La Barbecue

The late LeAnn Mueller had barbecue in her blood. Her parents ran the popular Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor for years, and LeAnn and her wife Alison Clem carried on the family tradition with La Barbecue. Low-and-slow smoked meats are available by the pound (pro tip: the hulking beef ribs are only available Friday through Sunday, so plan your weekends accordingly), and the restaurant also serves a selection of sandwiches, from chopped brisket to more creative fare, like the La Frito Loco, with pulled pork, brisket, chipotle slaw, black beans, Fritos, jalapeños and cheese. They don’t skimp on drinks, either — the bar slings beers, cocktails and Champagne to complement your meal. 

2401 E Cesar Chavez St

Plate with meat and other sides
It’s all about the meats, but the sides are no slouch

Micklethwait Craft Meats

Chef and pitmaster Tom Micklethwait opened his eponymous barbecue joint in 2012 and has enjoyed a loyal following and plenty of accolades ever since. Order from the trailer, then post up at one of the picnic tables with a full plate of brisket, ribs and Tex-Czech sausage, plus some of the freshest sides in town, with options including lemon poppy slaw and citrus beet salad complementing hearty staples like mac and cheese and chili beans.

1309 Rosewood Ave

BBQ tray with meat, sauces and other sides
Don’t forget the sausages at Stiles Switch
Stiles Switch

Stiles Switch BBQ

Now with outposts in Dripping Springs and Cedar Park, there are three ways to get your Stiles Switch fix. But the Austin original is still going strong, serving a menu of staples and daily specials. Fill a tray with brisket and ribs, of course, then choose something from the always-changing board, which features rotating sausages, plus other specials like smoked prime rib, brisket burgers, sandwiches and enchiladas.

6610 N Lamar Blvd

Terry Black’s BBQ

This family-run operation has roots in Lockhart, and the Austin location does the family patriarch proud. Terry Black’s continues to serve solid barbecue for lunch and dinner seven days per week, pumping out brisket, beef ribs, sausages and turkey in a comfortable setting where you can sit and stay awhile. Throw in some mac and cheese, baked potato salad, slaw and a few beers to ensure a successful outing.

1003 Barton Springs Road

Close-up of meat, bread, sauce and mac and cheese on a tray
There’s no wrong day to visit Moreno, but Saturdays and Sundays offer a unique dish

Moreno Barbecue

Bo Moreno opened his food truck in 2019, trading a secure job at H-E-B for longer hours and a lot more smoke. Austinites are glad he did, because Moreno is making top-notch brisket, rich and succulent with a crisp bark. Spare ribs, jalapeño-cheddar sausage, half chickens and the brisket grilled cheese all deserve a spot on your plate, but if you’re eating on Saturday or Sunday, be sure to leave room for the weekends-only smoked Akaushi barbacoa served with tortillas and salsa.

5608 Menchaca Road


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