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Franklin BBQ_Photo Credit Eric Ellis

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:

La Barbecue:
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.

Brown's Bar-B-Que:
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.

Kerlin BBQ:
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.

John Mueller Meat Co.:
Third-generation Texas meat master, John Mueller brings happy masses his world-famous brisket, ribs, pork shoulder and other smoked meats. Bonus: The host of the biggest backyard BBQ in Austin hands out beers to those waiting in long lines for his barbecue. Pull up a picnic table and try the beef ribs and squash casserole.

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 décor complement the assorted menu of smoked beets, pit chili, housemade pickles, horseradish potato salad, barbecue sammies and much more. Ask about the Whiskey of the Month.

Franklin Barbecue:
Bon Appétit 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 pulls out the "Sorry, Sold Out! Come Back Soon." Aaron Franklin, owner became the first ever pitmaster recognized in any "best chef" category as James Beard Foundation Winner of Best Chef: Southwest. (pictured above, photo courtesy Eric Ellis)

Tell us who holds your barbecue-lovin' heart on our Facebook page. Craving more? Check out this complete list of Austin restaurants.