A new website wants to help Houstonians eat better barbecue. Created by the founders of the Houston BBQ Festival, the Houston BBQ Guide offers readers the ability to search for restaurants based on a wide range of criteria, including location, parking, and whether a restaurant is likely to sell out of food.
The editors of the guide, led by Houston Chronicle barbecue columnist J.C. Reid, have selected the 28 initial entries with an eye on small, family-run businesses that aim "to provide a quality product and experience on a consistent basis." Entries include both historic barbecue joints like Lenox Bar-B-Q and Pizzitola's Bar-B-Que as well as spots that have earned recognition on Texas Monthly's list of the state's 50 best such as CorkScrew BBQ and The Pit Room.
Each entry includes details about a restaurant's ownership and pitmaster, noteworthy dishes, and a brief video tour. The website also includes essays about the history of Houston's barbecue restaurants and other relevant topics.
As an "about the guide" section notes, people who want to eat barbecue may not know where to find it. By breaking things does geographically, the guide offers diners the opportunity to discover new places or be prompted to visit old favorites that aren't necessarily included in media-generated lists of the "best" barbecue restaurants.
"I like to think of it as a guide for everyday barbecue fans," Reid said in a statement.
The guide also offers an alternative to crowd-sourced review websites as well as the responses one gets on social media when a request for a restaurant near Sugar Land might be met with a suggestion to drive to Tomball — well-intentioned, surely, but not very helpful.
The guide will add new entries in time. For example, Feges BBQ's original Greenway Plaza location is listed but its newly opened Spring Branch outpost isn't (yet). A separate guide to barbecue pop-ups is already in the works, and the editors also tout the possibility of expanding to other Texas cities.
As for the future of the Houston BBQ Festival, expect an announcement soon.