What To Eat at 18 of the Best BBQ Joints in Houston

grilled meat on black charcoal grill at nighttime

In a state known for their smoked meat, Houston BBQ doesn’t play by the same rules as the better known Texas Hill Country BBQ, or the mesquite-smoked stuff you find in West Texas and the High Plains, and definitely not Memphis or Kansas City, but instead has a big mix of cajun and southern styles, and East Texas, which is a thing all it’s own. Unlike South Texas, I still haven’t found a place with cabrito on the menu, and while smoked ham was a staple when I was growing up in Houston during the 80’s, it’s hard to find now, too. Today, you’ll find menus heavy in boudin and smoked turkey, and as always, tons of pulled pork and ribs, almost enough to make you forget all the local, salt-grass fattened cows grazing nearby. But you’ll find a balance with house-made sausages, a plethora of sauces and amazing sides which also whisper the reminder that we are closer to the swamps of Louisiana than the hills of Austin anyway. In case it’s a little overwhelming, I’ve helped you out with what to order when you visit, too.

grilled meat on black charcoal grill at nighttime
Photo by Everson Mayer on Pexels.com

Andy’s Hawg Wild BBQ, Pasadena This fun restaurant may not be the most authentic Texas BBQ you’ll find, but more of a hodge-podge of Louisiana and Mississippi influences and fried foods, but their big menu gives you plenty of options and a nice kids menu, too. The armadillo eggs are a must-try! I do love that they only use hickory, and being in Pasadena, my hometown, is a big plus, too!

Blood Bros. BBQ, Bellaire Just as Houston is a big melting pot of people and culture, so is Blood Bros. BBQ, with an eclectic blend of spices and preparations, and you aren’t going to want to miss their Togarashi Split Chicken. They use locally grown meats, and are open Wed-Sunday from 11am – until they sell out, just like any self-respecting BBQ joint should.

Brook’s Place, Cypress Burnt ends brisket in a consistent, no frill BBQ place, open Tues – Saturday, from 11am until they sell out.

Burn’s Original BBQ, Houston It’s hard for me to love a place that is so proud of their sauce as Burn’s is, while just referring to their prime brisket as sliced beef, but the proof is in the ring. Get a two meat plate of sliced beef and house made sausage, and add some dirty rice for a meal you won’t soon forget.

Corkscrew BBQ, Spring A more traditional BBQ restaurant, they cook on Red Oak, and serve it up until it’s all gone. We like the big, dog friendly patio with games for the kids, Open Tuesday – Saturday from 11am until they sell out, and don’t worry about the line, unless you got there late. Go for the 44 Farms beef rib, with at least a pound of meat on it!

Fainmous BBQ, Houston Tennessee BBQ is alive and well in Houston thanks to Fainmous, with hickory smoked meats and sides. Try the pig burger! Open Monday – Saturday from 11am – until sold out.

Fege’s BBQ, Houston Named on of Texas Monthly’s 25 Best New BBQ Joints in 2019, Fege’s claims to offer “a new approach to barbecue combining traditional flavors and modern interpretations of classics”. You can’t beat their sausage with collard greens and baked potato salad.

Gatlin’s BBQ, Houston Open 7am – 6pm, which includes breakfast from 7am – 10am, you can’t go wrong with their sausage or ribs, dirty rice and collard greens, but sometimes they make up a batch of gumbo, too! For breakfast, don’t miss out on the pork belly biscuit sandwich with fresh made biscuits each morning!

Killen’s BBQ, Pearland Chef Ronnie Killen’s bbq is more like Hill Country BBQ, using Pecan and Oak wood for their smokers. open Tuesday – Sunday from 11am – sell out. Don’t miss out on the brisket enchiladas and brisket queso!

No Name BBQ, Pasadena It takes coming home to find some smoked ham, but No Name in Pasadena, which had been serving since the early 1980’s when I was still just a little kid, has the good stuff! Order the ham, with baked beans and ranch style potatoes.

Papa Charlie’s BBQ at Cypress Trail Hideout, Cypress This fun location mixes live music, Saturdays are the day to go get a big beef rib.

Pinkerton’s BBQ, Houston Texas Hill Country BBQ smoked on post oak and mesquite, with big beef ribs but also boudin and smoked duck and sausage jambalaya to remind you that you are in Houston.

The Pit Room, Houston Another recipient of the Texas Monthly 50 Best BBQ joints, the Pit Room offers a fun patio, great Texas BBQ, and I’ll agree with Texas Monthly on the chicharrones and house hot sauce, but go straight for their house-made sausage!

Pizzitola’s Barbecue, Houston A Houston legend, it’s the only place where a 1/2 lb of ribs is considered a starter. Don’t miss out on the Frito Pie, with fritos covered in beans and brisket!

Ray’s Real Pit BBQ Shack, Houston Currently only open for take out, but you can’t have a good list of Houston BBQ without Ray’s. Ray’s offers old-school East Texas style BBQ, and oxtail on Thursdays, but I prefer the beef ribs on the weekends. The fried corn on the cob is a killer, too.

Roegel’s BBQ, Houston Open 7 days a week, from 11am until they sell out, Pig is king at Roegel’s, so get it pulled with a side of ribs. The boudin is a winning addition to your order, too! And the pastrami. Maybe you should just go hungry.

Tejas Chocolate and BBQ, Tomball To avoid the confusion, no, they don’t put chocolate on their burnt end beef ribs, but it makes a nice dessert afterwards! Located in the oldest building in Tomball, and named by Texas Monthly and Southern Living as one of the best BBQ restaurants, it’s worth the drive.

Truth BBQ, Houston Their 2nd location, because the Brenham one just can’t cook enough. If you can’t go to Brenham, go here. Amazing BBQ, cooked on an open pit.

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