Texas Monthly Names Franklin BBQ State’s Best

Photo: Liz Barclay

Photo: Liz Barclay

Brisket rules in the great state of Texas. The cut defines barbecue traditions, and the search for the best is popular sport for both Texans and visitors alike.

There are a lot of accolades up for grabs in the world of world of Lone Star State barbecue, but certainly one that gets the most attention is a coveted spot on Texas Monthly’s list of the Top 50 Barbecue Joints, published once every 5 years. This week, newly minted barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn unleashed the latest version, representing eight months and 658 restaurants worth of reporting. At the top of the pile: Franklin Barbecue.

With media hype surrounding Aaron Franklin’s Austin smokehouse at a constant boil—Bon Appetit named the spot one of the “20 Most Important Restaurants in America“—the accolade is hardly surprising. However, rather than a story of the new-school overtaking the old, the real story here is one of passion and reverence for Central Texas tradition. Franklin has been heralded as the scene’s new leader. He’s got a pedigree, since his parents used to run a BBQ spot, and he’s got drive. Franklin also does what others should: Keeps things fresh. The “11am ’til sold out” mentality means that nothing is reheated and everything is prepared as close to service as possible. In essence, the young guy is a throwback. And, for that, he’s been duly recognized.

Franklin’s general manager, Ben Jacob said of the barbecue, “It is not very unique”—which is exactly the point. Texas Monthly validates what Franklin has known all along—the state of Texas needed a guy who treats brisket (and its fans) the way it deserves to be treated.

Need more evidence? Take a look at our behind-the-scenes photo essay.

Below is a complete list of the Top 50 Barbecue Joints in Texas (* denotes inclusion in the 2008 list):

ALAMO
The Original Willie’s Bar-B-Que

AMARILLO
Tyler’s Barbecue

AUSTIN
Franklin Barbecue
John Mueller Meat Co.
La Barbecue
Lamberts Downtown Barbecue*
Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew

BELTON
Miller’s Smokehouse

BRYAN
Fargo’s Pit BBQ

CYPRESS
Brooks’ Place

DALLAS
Lockhart Smokehouse
Pecan Lodge

EAGLE LAKE
Austin’s BBQ and Catering*

FANNIN
McMillan’s Bar-B-Q*

FORT WORTH
Cousin’s Bar-B-Q*
Longoria’s BBQ

FREDERICKSBURG
Cranky Frank’s Barbecue Company

GALVESTON
Leon’s World’s Finest In & Out Bar-B-Que

GARLAND
Meshack’s Bar-B-Que

GIDDINGS
City Meat Market*

GRAPEVINE
Bartley’s Bar-B-Q

HENDERSON
Bob’s Bar-B-Que

HOUSTON
Gatlin’s BBQ & Catering
Virgie’s Bar-B-Que*

JASPER
Billy’s Old Fashion BBQ

JEFFERSON
Joseph’s Riverport Barbecue

KERRVILLE
Buzzie’s Bar-B-Q*

LEXINGTON
Snow’s BBQ*

LIVINGSTON
Hitch-N-Post BBQ

LLANO
Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que*

LOCKHART
Black’s Barbecue
Kreuz Market*

LULING
City Market*

MARLIN
Whup’s Boomerang Bar-B-Que*

MCKINNEY
Hutchins BBQ

MEXIA
Kirby’s Barbecue

PEADENVILLE
Hashknife on the Chisolm*

PEARSALL
Cowpoke’s*

PECOS
Pody’s BBQ

ROCKPORT
Hatfield’s BBQ & Blackjacks Beer Garden

SAN ANTONIO
The Granary ‘Cue and Brew
Two Bros. BBQ Market

SAN MARCOS
Hays Co. Bar-B-Que and Catering

SMITHVILLE
Zimmerhanzel’s BBQ

SPICEWOOD
Opie’s Barbecue*

SPRING
Corkscrew BBQ

SWEETWATER
Big Boy’s Bar-B-Que

TAYLOR
Louie Mueller Barbecue*

TYLER
Stanley’s Famous Pit Barbecue*

VICTORIA
Mumphord’s Place BBQ

Newsletter

Feed your inbox.

Subscribe