Best BBQ in Austin

May 2, 2018
by Zagat Staff

Whether you want something quick, or you're prepared to wait in a multiple-hour line.

Black's BBQ
Barbecue · West Campus · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.7 · Service 4.1

It’s “worth the drive” to eat at this “venerable” “BBQ heaven” where fans “get down and dirty” over “stellar" ribs and brisket, plus sausage and sides, all served “cafeteria-style” ; the “folks” at the counter are “super-friendly” , and the circa-1932 Lockhart original's “old-time decor” (jackalopes, signs for high school sports teams) is "appropriate for the location.
La Barbecue
Barbecue · East Austin · $
Food 4.6 · Decor 3.7 · Service 4.5

You’ll have to go early to “get a good spot in line” at this East Austin trailer (now in Aztec Food Trailer Park) that smokes “fabulous barbecue” like “pork ribs” , “monster beef ribs” , brisket and housemade sausage; occasional “live music” and “free beer” sweeten the deal, and as for decor, that “doesn't count here” as patrons sit outdoors at picnic tables.
Micklethwait Craft Meats
East Austin · $
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.7 · Service 4.4

Barbecue fans “highly recommend” this East Austin food trailer doling out specialty sausages, “tender” brisket and “insane” beef ribs; customers eat at picnic tables next to the cheerily painted trailer.
Stiles Switch
Barbecue · Brentwood · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.9 · Service 4.4

Brentwood is home to pitmaster Lance Kirkpatrick (of Mueller’s fame), who turns out “amazing” , “moist brisket” , “hot” sausage and other “tasty” BBQ backed by “cold” craft beer on draft; contrary to trend, they cook and stay open all day, and (perhaps the best part) you “don't have to wait in line for five hours” to get in.
Franklin Barbecue
Barbecue · East Austin · $$
Food 4.8 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.3

“Believe the hype” that’s built up around this East Austin “experience” , in which “melt-in-your-mouth” brisket, “unbelievable” ribs and pulled pork are doled out in modest digs from 11 AM till the eats run out (usually early) at what many claim is “hands-down” the “best” BBQ joint in town and "possibly the world" ; fans agree the “hours” -long waits are “well worth it.
Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ
Mexican · $$

Barbecue meets tacos at this fusion trailer, where smoked brisket comes topped with guacamole and tomato-serrano salsa on a flour tortilla, while sides include smoked corn, red potato salad and queso. A lively setup on Manchaca offers people-watching.
Leroy And Lewis Barbecue
Barbecue · South Austin · $

Precursor to a brick-and-mortar, this food truck in a parking lot in South Austin deviates from the barbecue norm by focusing on smoked meats and game. Duck confit, oxtail and beef belly bacon are on offer during the week while more traditional items like turkey, sausage and brisket will be served Saturday. P.S. Locally sourced seasonal sides are always available.
Cooper's Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que Austin
Barbecue · Downtown · $$

The first Austin outpost of a well-loved Llano barbecue joint offers a wide range of pit-smoked meats, from beef ribs and brisket to the less common likes of whole chickens, sirloin and goat, plus traditional sides and desserts. The historic, wood- and brick-filled space also features a garden patio and a full bar that stays open late and serves a special menu.
Brunch · 2nd Street District · $$$
Food 4.1 · Decor 4.1 · Service 4.0

“Fancy” barbecue and “great beers” are what’s on tap at this “lively” Second Street District destination that’s also known for its “fantastic cocktails and happy hour” ; set in the “historic” Schneider Brothers Building and outfitted with leather banquettes, it’s offers an “upscale” feel to go along with “good live music” in the bar upstairs.
Kerlin BBQ
Barbecue · East Austin · $

New-school sides such as blue-cheese slaw and smoked corn on the cob with chipotle butter complement classic Texas brisket, sausage, ribs and more at this East Austin permanent trailer. Occasional live music enhances the outdoor scene, where patrons nosh at picnic tables. P.S. The window closes when supplies run out, so fans arrive early.
Brunch · West Campus · $

“Outstanding” barbecue and “amazing” cocktails are the calling cards of this West Campus saloon; the historic setting comprises a rustic-chic interior decked with marble-top tables, an early-1900s South Texas soda-fountain counter and antique lighting, plus an “incredible” patio outside.
Salt Lick BBQ
Barbecue · $$
Food 4.4 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.3

This “landmark” bastion of beef in Driftwood (with spin-offs in Round Rock and at the airport) provides a “quintessential Texas BBQ experience” to loyal locals and “out-of-towners” thanks to “moist” brisket, “terrific” ribs, “first-rate” sausage and its famous “tangy” sauce; it’s cash only and “usually crowded” , and though it’s BYO beer, you can pick up a bottle of wine from their on-site tasting room, and on weekends “enjoy some music from local bands while you wait.”