Award-winning barbecue and Austin are synonymous. Area chefs have spent lifetimes perfecting this smoky, spicy craft, making no trip to Austin complete without sinking your teeth into these local faves:
Franklin Barbecue, credit Eric Ellis.
La Barbecue masters cook world-class beef, pork, turkey and sausage in a custom fabricated smoker using local, perfectly seasoned post oak. Sample their El Sancho sandwich - pulled pork or chopped brisket on top of house made sausage with red onion slaw - and see why they're taking rank among regional barbecue kings.
Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew
Named after the historic 1800s I. & G. N. railroad stop, Stiles Switch sits in the art deco 1950s Violet Crown Shopping Center (as seen in the 1990s film "Dazed and Confused"). Sip Austin craft brews, try their beef chuck ribs with classic sides like potato salad, corn casserole and peach cobbler, while taking in the nostalgic ambiance.
Taking their rightful place on numerous best-of-Austin barbecue lists, this meat-slinging trailer has hungry locals and visitors lining up. The father-son team built their own custom pit and tells Austin Eater the key is "good wood, low heat, salt, pepper." It's old school delicious and very affordable. Find them parked outside of Corner Bar on South Lamar.
Micklethwait Craft Meats
Smoked meats, fresh breads and creative sides pour from this East Austin food trailer. Barbacoa, a remarkable daily smoked sausage selection, tender brisket and sliced pork shoulder comprise the craft meats section of the menu, sides sing with lemon poppy coleslaw and jalapeno cheese grits. Try the brisket Frito pie and save room for the pecan pie.
Thrillist named Kerlin among the best new BBQ joints in America and the Austin Chronicle raves about their "transcendent brisket experience." If that's not enough of a draw, the seductive menu built on pork shoulder, beef hot links and prime Angus brisket should seal the deal. Kerlin also goes all out with sides like blue cheese coleslaw, jalapeno dill potato salad and creamed corn with chipotle and bacon.
The family-run Sam’s is an old-school barbecue joint that’s been open in East Austin since 1957. This no-frills spot is known for its fall-off-the-bone ribs and tender brisket that are cooked over an indoor brick pit. Order traditional sides like baked beans or potato salad.
Freedmen's is a laid-back lounge, beer garden and smokehouse set in an Austin landmark building. Retro cocktails, strung lights, an antique bar and vintage decor complement the assorted menu of smoked beets, pit chili, house made pickles, horseradish potato salad, barbecue sammies and much more. Ask about the Whiskey of the Month.
Bon Appetit magazine and loyal locals call them the best of the best and the lines outside of this Austin star aren't thinning anytime soon. Brisket lovers unite and arrive early to snag their place as hopeful diners before Franklin's staff pull out the "Sorry, Sold Out! Come Back Soon." Owner Aaron Franklin became the first ever pitmaster recognized in any "best chef" category as James Beard Foundation Winner of Best Chef: Southwest.