BBQ in Texas

The ultimate guide to

In Texas barbecue is an obsession. However you like it – sliced thick onto butcher paper, on picnic plates, doused with a tangy sauce or eaten right out of the smokehouse pit – be sure to savor it.

And then argue to the death that your way is the best way. Like a true barbecue-loving Texan.

BBQ done right

The best Texas barbecue often comes from famous family dynasties that have been dishing up the same crowd-pleasing recipes for generations.

Telltale signs that you've located an authentic barbecue joint include zero decor, smoke-blackened ceilings and laid-back table manners (silverware optional).

At most places, you can order a combination plate or ask for specific meats to be sliced by the pound right in front of you.


Most folks agree on the basics: slow cooking over a low-heat wood fire. A cooking time of up to 12 or 16 hours isn’t unheard of – anything less and you’re just too durn impatient.

It allows the meat to be infused with a rich smoky flavor of usually hickory or pecan in the eastern part of the state, oak in central Texas and mesquite out west.

The Meat

Texas barbecue leans heavily toward beef – a logical outgrowth of the state’s cattle industry.

The most common is beef brisket; with a combination of patience, experience and skill, a seasoned pit boss can transform this notoriously tough meat into a perfectly smoked, tender slab of heaven.

The noble pig makes appearances in the form of succulent ribs, and occasionally chops and sliced loin.

Every self-respecting barbecue joint will also serve sausage. Texas hot links, the peppery sausage of regional renown, is created with ground pork and beef combined with pungent spices.