Any Southern city worth its salt will have top notch barbecue at the ready. Among Houston’s vibrant food scene filled with culinary excellence in the form of hamburgers, pizza, ice cream, and more, Houston is on the level when it comes to barbecue. Meet your meat makers this season and beyond at the best barbecue joints in Houston.
One of the most celebrated barbecue restaurants in Houston, Gatlin’s BBQ is known for its southern-style craft barbecue. Furthermore, it is one of the few barbecue restaurants around that offers a breakfast menu, options include Wings & Waffles, GBBQ Big Boy Sandwich (triple decker sandwich piled with three eggs, spicy sausage, and more), and the Chicken Biscuit served on a housemade biscuit. Closed on Sundays.
2. Pinkerton’s Barbecue
Home to exemplary Central Texas-style prime brisket, beef ribs, boudin, and smoked sausage, compelling sides – such as Jalapeño cheese rice and smoked duck & sausage jambalaya – and a full bar, Pinkerton’s is essential when it comes to BBQ in Houston.
3. Truth BBQ
Opened in early 2019, Truth BBQ in a relative newcomer on the Houston scene. As the second location of the Brenham-based BBQ restaurant, Truth BBQ’s new Heights location has already received an influx of accolades – most recently, it was the only Houston restaurant to crack the top 10 of The 50 Best BBQ Joints in Texas according to Texas Monthly, coming in at number three.
Here, owner and pitmaster Leonard Botello IV is known for his authentic Central Texas approach, while still pushing the envelope when it comes to traditional BBQ dishes. Don’t miss Saturday’s whole hog barbecue and get there before 11.
4. Blood Bros. BBQ
Located inside a Bellaire strip mall, Blood Bros. BBQ represents the best in Houston’s melting pot culture with extraordinary, worldly flavors inspired by the likes of Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean. Recognized by such publications at New York Times, Food & Win, bon appétit, and Texas Monthly, Blood Bros. features a mostly rotating menu with past options including guava-glazed pork ribs, Gochujaru fried onion rings with Kimchi dipping sauce, and piquant jalapeño coleslaw.
5. J-Bar-M Barbecue
Owned by 93-year-old retiree and barbecue enthusiast, John Toomey, J-Bar-M opened in 2021 in East Downtown as an equally refined, equally traditional addition to Houston’s historical barbecue scene.
The meat maker, bar, and beer garden features a menu that consists of barbecue classics, ranging from pork ribs, sausage, and turkey, to prime brisket, with no shortage of sides. The latter includes cream corn, mac and cheese, bacon-laded green beans, charro beans, and much more.
6. CorkScrew BBQ
Run by husband-and-wife team Will and Nichole Buckman, Corkscrew BBQ began as a food truck catering businesses to a full-fledged brick-and-mortar in Old Town Spring. Here, you can’t really go wrong; the brisket, pulled pork, and ribs are all beloved. Visitors are advised to get in on the earlier side as the barbecue restaurant regularly sells out.
7. Goode Co. Barbecue
Goode Co. Barbecue is renowned for its slow and meticulous mesquite-fired smoked ribs, sausage, and brisket. Go-to options include the chicken, beef brisket, Czech sausage, Jalapeño pork sausage, turkey breast, and ham – all meats of which will be available in the form of sandwiches and po-boys.
8. Killen’s Barbecue
Now with locations in Pearland, The Woodlands, and Cypress, the revered holy trinity of sausage, brisket, and ribs at Killen’s Barbecue are now more accessible than ever in the Houston area. If not in the barbecue mood, Killen’s also has killer Tex-Mex, southern, and steakhouse restaurants.
9. Tejas Chocolate & BBQ
Old Town Tomball‘s pride and joy is a household name in Houston. What began as a side hustle to their bean-to-bar chocolate business, has developed into the stuff of barbecue legend. Pork belly and ribs, smoked turkey sandwich, and chocolate truffles are all off the hook.
10. The Pit Room
In addition to hand-crafted, traditional barbecue, The Pit Room in Montrose offers varieties of A La Carte tacos (tortillas made with brisket fat FYI), as well as southern comfort classics such as chili and loaded Frito pie.