Full and frank discussions about our favorite food. That's what the Texas BBQ Posse has been all about in the decade or so we've been on the barbecue trail. Sometimes we all agree. Often we don't. So it is with the Posse's Favorite 41. After getting opinions from everyone, co-founders Chris Wilkins and Gary Jacobson made the final selections. Here's how other Posse members rate their Top 5.
- Snow's BBQ, Lexington: The brisket is always superb -- but, honestly, I've never had a bad bite of anything there. This consistent high quality is a testament to Tootsie's skills and experience as a pit master. If you paid a Hollywood production company to design a movie set of a Central Texas BBQ joint, they couldn't do better than Snow's.
- Franklin Barbecue, Austin: Still the standard by which all Texas BBQ is measured. 'It's as good as Franklin' is high, high praise for any joint -- maybe the highest.
- Louie Mueller Barbecue, Taylor: Great owner, black pepper.
- Bodacious Bar-B-Q on Mobberly, Longview: One of the best-kept secrets in Texas.
- (tie) Miller's Smokehouse, Belton: On the way to Austin, excellent, you don't have to stand in line for two hours. Hutchins BBQ, McKinney & Frisco: Never had a bad meal there.
- Cattleack BBQ, Dallas: I think Todd David is always looking to make things better and try something new.
- Snow’s BBQ, Lexington: Best pure BBQ experience in the state.
- Killen's Barbecue, Pearland: Ronnie Killen has never let us down and he’s a real renaissance man when it comes to running restaurants.
- The Slow Bone, Dallas: My day-to-day choice when I need a great BBQ lunch.
- Louie Mueller Barbecue, Taylor: The coolest interior of any BBQ joint in TX and their meat is top notch. Plus Wayne Mueller is always ready to come out and talk BBQ with us. He’s very generous with his time and BBQ knowledge.
- 2M Smokehouse, San Antonio: Best full menu spread, period.
- Snow’s BBQ, Lexington: For every reason they've been named number one.
- Killen's Barbecue, Pearland: Never disappoints.
- Zavala's Barbecue, Grand Prairie: Lovin' BBQ with a Mexican flare (secret: mix the sauces and drizzle over the homemade brisket taco) .
- (tie) Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ & Micklethwait Craft Meats, Austin: Because I'm weird like Austin!
- 2M Smokehouse, San Antonio: Brisket like butter on warm toast, answers some previously unknown primal desire and works its way down into your DNA. Authentic with a twist.
- Snow’s BBQ, Lexington: Heaven with picnic tables and the indomitable Tootsie!
- Flores Barbecue, Whitney: Feed me till I’m full then put a little more on my plate. Best tortillas in Texas. Seriously.
- Brotherton’s Black Iron BBQ, Pflugerville: Innovative, delicious and the best socks in BBQ.
- Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew, Austin: Their three-meat plate is the best $20 you’ll ever spend on BBQ.
- Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew, Austin: There's nothing not to like about my go-to spot in north Austin. Brisket to die for. Ditto on the sausage. Wednesday prime rib and other rotating daily specials including a surprise sandwich creation every Friday. A roof over your head. A parking lot. Air conditioning. Dinner service. Beer on tap. Great, friendly people. A manageable line. And I've never seen them sold out of anything, except, occasionally, the beef ribs. Oh, did I mention the beef ribs?
- Leroy and Lewis Barbecue, Austin: The beef cheek is probably the single most delicious morsel of BBQ I've ever tasted. For the more health-conscious among you, try the Barbacado. And it's 5 minutes from my house, even with Austin traffic.
- John Mueller Black Box Barbecue, Georgetown: A nice, shady outdoor picnic table, some Robert Earl Keen on the loudspeakers, peppery, perfectly-done brisket, and a can of Lone Star plus a smidgeon of attitude served up by none other than the man himself. Yes, please.
- The Switch, Dripping Springs: I know, it's probably not fair to include two Shane Stiles restaurants in a top-5. And the place has only been open for a couple of months. But not only are the basics on-point, the restaurants, and the menus, are so different, and that Sunday brunch is just so good (Brisket Benedict? Seriously?) that I can't in good conscience leave it off my list.
- Smitty's Market, Lockhart: They haven't lost a step--they've just unfortunately been passed by, by too many really, really good BBQ joints that have raised the bar on food. But no one, and no building, will ever be able to duplicate the atmosphere or, for those photographers among us, the light, of this special place.
- Jambo’s BBQ Shack, Rendon: New owners Waldo and Barbie Strien are some of the best old school BBQ pitmasters around , taking many first-place trophies all over Texas and the U.S. The Strien’s recipes closely follow those of Jambo's original founder Jamie Geer, who has won multiple World Grand Champion cookoffs.
- Snow’s BBQ, Lexington: Smelling the sweet burning oak, sitting outdoors under the old original tin metal shed right next to the wood burning pits, all while watching a couple of true pitmasters cooking the BBQ. It is the the best ambiance to eat BBQ in Texas.
- Cattleack BBQ, Dallas : Brisket cooked like Franklin’s, some of the best you'll find in DFW.
- MeShack’s Bar-Be-Que Shack, Garland: Great old-fashioned barbecue.
- Hutchins BBQ, McKinney & Frisco: If you're hungry & want some damned good barbecue at a great value, go to Hutchins.