Live Music Capital of the World. Silicon Hills. River City.
These are all titles I’ve heard bestowed upon my hometown of Austin, TX. Yes, we’re known for our music scene, our nightlife, our nature, and our strong (though increasingly homogeneous) economy. We’ve got a lot going for us. My favorite thing about Austin, however, is the food. Specifically, the barbecue! There’s a lot of great BBQ in the ATX. This is a list of my personal favorites, in no particular order:
Terry Black’s Barbecue
1003 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78704
Situated south of the river, this one is near and dear to my heart. When this young lady I had met at a hostel named Kristen decided to pay me a visit, we went here to grab some dinner. Might I mention that she loves this place, too, and she’s part-time vegan. I would recommend absolutely anything on their menu, although I’m partial to their brisket, mixed with some of their sweet sauce, as well as their perfectly moist and delicious turkey. This establishment also holds the distinction of being one of the very few open on Mondays.
Sun-Thur 11am-9 pm, Fri-Sat 11am-9:30pm
The Original Black’s Barbecue
3110 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX, 78705
Yes, these two establishments are related. The first entry on this list was founded by brothers Mike and Mark Black, using the name of their father, Terry. However, Terry’s brother Kent, the pitmaster at the original Black’s Barbecue in Lockhart, TX, didn’t like this. He claimed their methods differed from the style that his family had been using at Black’s Barbecue in Lockhart since 1932. So, he decided to open his own location in Austin, on what we call “The Drag.” Some Austinites think it’s a fun bit of rivalry to argue about which is better, Terry Black’s founded by the sons, or The Original Black’s founded by the uncle. I don’t have a dog in that fight, so I just go to enjoy the amazing food. Their spare ribs almost want to melt right off the bone, and their sausage is extremely flavorful.
Sun-Thur 11am-9pm, Fri-Sat 11am
Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew
6610 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78757
Named after an historic railroad stop in West Texas, this is definitely one of the more popular bbq hubs in town. Again, anything on their menu is going to be high-quality, but I recommend the Smokehouse Club. It’s the biggest sandwich you’ve ever seen in your life. Loaded with brisket and turkey, it’s delicious and extremely filling. By the way, ever seen the movie Dazed and Confused? This was the location of the Emporium pool hall.
Sun 11am-9pm, Tue-Thur 11am-9pm, Fri-Sat 11am-10pm
900 E 11th St, Austin, TX 78702
Probably the single most famous bbq joint in all of Austin. Situated just east of the highway from Downtown, Franklin is widely considered the king of Austin bbq. It’s as well known for its moist, slow-cooked beef as it is for the long lines of people it generates early in the morning. A few years ago there was even one enterprising middle schooler who started a business waiting in line for you.
Sun-Sat 11am-…whenever they sell out (usually 2 or 3pm)
There you have it! Believe me when I say that no trip to Austin is complete without trying some of the local bbq. It really is just something you have to do, dietary restrictions permitting. I will be adding to this list as I explore new places, but this should be plenty to get you started.