TMBBQ Top 50

Some surprises on Texas Monthly list of 50 best barbecue joints: 7 Houston-area restaurants selected

Some surprises on Texas Monthly list of 50 best barbecue joints

Texas Monthly BBQ Fest 2015 Snow's BBQ Kerry Bexley Tootsie Tomanetz
Snow's BBQ pitmasters Kerry Bexley and Tootsie Tomanetz are the best in Texas. Photo by Eric Sandler

The queen of Texas barbecue has returned to her throne. Snow’s BBQ in Lexington has vaulted over Austin’s acclaimed Franklin Barbecue as the state’s best barbecue joint.

At least according to Texas Monthly, which ranked the state’s 50 best barbecue joints for the first time since 2013. Rather than listing a top four, this year’s list ranks the state’s 10 best, then shows the remaining restaurants alphabetically by city. Snow’s, led by pitmasters Tootsie Tomanetz, 82, and Kerry Bexley returns to the top spot it first claimed in 2008. Franklin slips to second, followed by Dallas’ Cattleack Barbeque, Bodacious Barbecue in Longview, and Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor.

The Houston area takes spots six and seven on the top 10, thanks to Tomball’s Tejas Chocolate Craftory and Spring’s CorkScrew BBQ. Austin scores a second slot in the top 10 courtesy of Micklethwait Craft Meats. Evie Mae’s Pit Barbecue in Wolfforth lands at No. 9, followed by Brenham’s Truth BBQ.

Overall, Houston fares well, with four restaurants inside the city limits — Gatlin’s BBQ, Pinkerton’s Barbecue, Roegels Barbecue, and The Pit Room — along with CorkScrew, Tejas Chocolate Craftory, and Pearland’s Killen’s Barbecue — all in the top 50. Seven total restaurants is a big step up from four in 2013. Neither Brooks’ Place nor Virgie’s returned from 2013 to the new list.

In Dallas, the big news is that Pecan Lodge has fallen from top four in 2013 to regular top 50 status. Lockhart Smokehouse also maintains its place in the top 50. Heim Barbecue is the only Fort Worth restaurant to make the cut.

As expected, Austin has the most of any city with seven representatives. In addition to Franklin and Micklethwait, Freedmen’s, La Barbecue, Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew, Terry Black’s Barbecue, and Valentina’s Tex-Mex BBQ are all included, although Lamberts Downtown Barbecue drops off. San Antonio gets two joints on the list: 2M Smokehouse and The Granary ‘Cue & Brew, but Two Bros. BBQ Market didn't return.

What does it all mean? Texas Monthly barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn writes that it’s never been easier for Texans to find high quality barbecue. He credits social media, the use of better ingredients, specifically USDA Prime brisket, and an expansion of barbecue into the major cities for the current progress.

Overall, CultureMap’s predictions fared fairly well. We picked seven of the top 10 correctly and even got the order right for CorkScrew and Micklethwait. Our apologies to Killen’s, Heim, and Pecan Lodge for getting their hopes up.

The magazine has devised a number of ways to cash in on all the attention, with barbecue-themed events, merchandise, and more. All of those details are available on its website.