13 Austin BBQ Spots You Should Totally Visit (2024 Edition!)

Whether you’re local to the Austin area or you’re visiting for a long weekend, one thing is really clear about this town: we love our barbecue. I mean, we LOVE it. In fact, ever since Franklin Barbecue put Austin on the map for being one of the best places in the United States to eat brisket, Austin BBQ restaurants have been popping up all over town, winning national awards, and gaining fans like Harry Styles, President Obama, and the late Anthony Bourdain. And Austinites are loud and opinionated about the places for the best bbq in Austin.

The Best BBQ In Austin Texas

Where’s the best bbq in Austin? It’s pretty simple! There are about 6 or 7 spots that continually rack up awards (like getting top places in Texas Monthly’s 50 Best BBQ Spots in Texas) and have looong lines out the front door on any day of the week. 

And after eating at all of these spots multiple times, we’re rounding up the best places for Austin Texas BBQ, including an easy map below so you can find one close to you.

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For each of these best bbq joints in Austin, we’ll include a quick description to help you decide if it’s the best one for you. Rest assured that they’re ALL delicious options! But if you’re looking for an iconic bbq joint in Austin, a fun food truck, a unique BBQ/fusion spot, or an Austin bbq joint that’s not so touristy, you’ll be able to get all of that information. 

What’s Texas Barbecue?

In Texas, brisket is definitely king. Sure, you can find pork ribs, smoked turkey, craft sausages, and even “dino” ribs (giant beef ribs), but brisket is always #1 for central Texas bbq. 

Beef, in general, is a pretty big deal in Texas. 

What cut of meat is brisket?

Brisket is a cut of meat that comes from the breast of the cow. It’s directly above the shank and below the chuck. It’s deliciously fatty, and it’s smoked low and slow (typically overnight) to create an incredibly moist, melt-in-your-mouth bite of meat. Brisket is usually seasoned with LOTS of salt and pepper and served sliced into thin pieces. When you order it, you can choose to get the “lean” part of the brisket or the “fatty” part of the brisket. Or do it like most of us Austinites do and get a combo of both of them. 

How To Eat Texas Brisket

Once you have your brisket, you can eat it as is (delicious!), dip it in the BBQ pit’s homemade bbq sauce (if it’s a good bbq restaurant, they’ll offer a good bbq sauce), or make a sandwich with white sandwich bread, pickles, and sliced onions (typically served complimentarily.) 

The Best BBQ In Austin Texas

1. Interstellar BBQ

Interstellar BBQ
Best BBQ IN Austin
Interstellar BBQ Sausage

One of the new(ish) kids on the block, but their bbq is SO good. Interstellar BBQ got the no. 2 spot on Texas Monthly's list of the 50 best bbq in the state of Texas.

The line will be decent, but since it’s not in a touristy part of Austin (it’s in really far north Austin), you won’t have the same crowds that you’ll find at La Barbecue or LeRoy and Lewis. 

They smoke their meats low and slow on clean Post Oak smoke. Interstellar honors its commitment to always start with the best products and then treat them carefully (no shortcuts here!) to create the very best bbq in Austin. And it shows! That brisket is delightfully soft and literally dissolves in your mouth with a rich, smokey, salty flavor. The pulled pork is excellent (try it on a sandwich and be sure to smother it in their yummy bbq sauce).

Interstellar also offers a few unique types of meat, like their St Louis ribs: they use a housemade dry rub and the result is a slightly spicy rib that falls off the bone. And the peached tea pork belly is SO decadent, you might just want to call it dessert. 

(But don’t do that - the dessert is too good to miss.) 

WEBSITE | 12233 Ranch Rd 620 N Ste. 105, Austin, TX 78750

2. Franklin Barbecue

Franklin Barbecue

It’s impossible to talk about the best bbq spots in Austin without having Franklin near the top of the list. If you’re researching the best bbq in Austin, you’ve already heard about Franklin. EVERYBODY knows about Franklin! Here are the quick facts: 

  • Franklin Barbecue is known for having the longest bbq lines in Austin
  • They open at 11 am and stay open until they sell out (typically around 2 pm)
  • Aaron Franklin has won a James Beard Award (he’s a big deal!)
  • It’s a pretty small, no-frills restaurant in east Austin. 
  • People start getting in line as early as 5 am, even on weekdays.
  • Celebrities like President Obama, David Chang, and Jimmy Kimmel have eaten at Franklin. 

Here’s something you might not know about Franklin Barbecue: the meat is the star of the show here (it’s seriously perfect), and so they don't put a lot of effort into the sides. They’re definitely good, but they’re not as good as some other spots in Austin like Mickelthwait and Terry Blacks. 

Is Franklin Barbecue worth it? Depends on what you value. If you’re hoping to try some of the best briskets in the world and you’re willing to wait in line, then YES. Franklin Barbecue is worth it. 

If you don’t know much about brisket and you honestly couldn’t tell the difference between a “good” and a “great” cut of meat, and you don’t care about checking this place off your bucket list, go to La Barbecue or Stiles Switch instead. 

WEBSITE | 900 E 11th St, Austin, TX 78702

3. La Barbecue

La Barbecue sausage - best barbecue in Austin
La Barbecue - best bbq in Austin

Solid, steady, and always one of the best places to get barbecue in Austin, La Barbecue is famous for its perfectly smoked brisket. It’s hands down one of the BEST bbq joints in the entire state of Texas. 

The brisket is cooked low and slow for 14 hours on Post oak, and everything is served spicy and peppery (LeAnn Mueller, the owner, hates sweet stuff, so there’s no sugar added to the meat or the slaw.) She recommends trying it without barbecue sauce, but (of course) there's a great sauce there if you need it.  

The line can be a bit long (not as long as Franklin, but still fairly long on Saturdays and Sundays), but it’s worth it once you get to the small counter and order a few pounds of meat, their legendary smoked shells and cheese, the chipotle coleslaw, and a bunch of those housemade pickled red onions. La Barbecue is an iconic Austin barbecue pit and it should be one of the first places you put on your Austin bbq bucket list. 

WEBSITE | 2401 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78702

4. Terry Black’s Barbecue

Terry Black's BBQ

Terry Black's is located on Barton Springs Rd (you can literally see downtown Austin while you’re eating your brisket on the outdoor patio) and it’s the perfect place to stop for some bbq after taking a dip in Barton Springs Pool in the summer. 

They’re relentless in how they smoke their meat. It’s absolutely legendary, and the line out the front door proves it. Terry Black’s twin sons, Michael and Mark Black, own and run this bbq joint. Their family has had a bbq place in Lockhart since 1932, so bbq truly runs in this family. 

Of course, the brisket here is phenomenal. It’s ridiculously peppery and delicate. 

But, as most of Terry Black’s fans will tell you, the sides here are one of their powerhouses. You’ve got to try that rich and creamy mac n cheese, the cream corn, and the baked potato salad. Oh, and be sure to save room for the banana pudding and peach cobbler for dessert. 

WEBSITE | 1003 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78704

5. Valentina’s Tex-Mex BBQ

best new restaurnats in Austin
best new restaurnats in Austin

Valentina’s is a Tex-Mex/BBQ fusion, so you’re really getting the best of both worlds here. We’re talking about big gourmet tacos filled with smoked brisket or carnitas or smoked chicken fajita meat and topped with sea salt, lime guacamole and habanero salsa, and fresh cilantro. But just because they “do it all” doesn’t mean that they're cutting any corners! Nope. This is some of the best briskets in Austin, and they sell it by the pound, just like all of the other best bbq spots in Austin. 

Valentina's recently opened their gorgeous new brick-and-mortar in Buda. It has air conditioning AND a full bar! Praises.

The smoked meat is amazing, but they also make delicious homemade flour tortillas, served thick and warm and dusted with flour. Their charro beans are the stuff dreams are made of, and the brisket queso (yup) and homemade salsa are going to leave you wanting to come back again and again. 

Valentina’s is famous for their breakfast tacos, so if you’re able to squeeze in a trip to this south Austin BBQ pit in the morning hours, you’ll be able to try the Real Deal Holyfield: fried egg, potatoes, refried beans, bacon, and tomato serrano salsa on a homemade flour tortilla. Add brisket for 3 bucks.  

WEBSITE | 308 S Main St, Buda TX

6. Distant Relatives

Distant Relatives Barbecue
Distant Relatives

Parked at the popular east Austin brewery Meanwhile, Distant Relatives is a small yet mighty BBQ food truck. Chef Damien Brockway was a James Beard semifinalist for his menu of food that’s inspired by the heritage of the African diaspora living in the United States. What does that mean? Nose-to-tail cookery, traditional preservation methods, and strong use of Pecan smoke. 

This is probably the only Austin bbq restaurant on this list that’s NOT all about the brisket. It’s on the menu (and really good!), but if it’s your first time visiting Distant Relatives, try the pork ribs. They’re prepared with a spicy dry rub, and they're REALLY spicy. Or go for the pulled pork with tamarind bbq sauce. It’s slightly sweet with a little bit of a kick to it. 

Sides include items like collard greens, spicy burnt ends with black-eyed peas, and spicy smoked peanuts. Nearly everything on the menu has a bit of spice to it, so be sure to head into the brewery and get a pint of lager ready!

WEBSITE | 3901 Promontory Point Dr, Austin, TX 78744

7. Micklethwait Craft Meats

Micklethwait Craft Meats
Micklethwait Craft Meats

Open since 2012, this is one of the older bbq joints in Austin, but it’s still one of the best! Micklethwait (pronounced “mickle-wait”) has been called one of the Ten Best BBQ Joints in Texas by Texas Monthly, and they consistently sell out of their famous craft meats every day. 

Tom Micklethwait started this place as a stand-alone trailer back in the day, but now it's parked behind a fun little beverage garden in east Austin. Stop by, stand in line for your food, and enjoy it with a craft beer from the adorable Saddle Up Austin beer garden. 

They're known for their inventive sausages, so be sure to try the Tex-Czech sausage, as well as any specials they have on hand. The oak-smoke brisket is SO deliciously soft and tender, you could easily fill up on that alone. But here are a few other must-try items: 

Micklethwait typically has beef “dino” ribs on hand. They’re giant and a single rib is often too much food for one person. But they’re a really fun thing to try, especially if you’re visiting Texas. Also, the sides at Micklethwait are legendary. Folk loves that lemon poppy slaw and the jalapeno cheese grits. 

They also offer family-style meals, so you can order a bunch of stuff that will feed four people. It’s a great way to taste a little bit of everything they have to offer. Regardless of what you try, rest assured that when you stop by Micklethwait you’re eating some of the best barbecues in all of Austin. 

WEBSITE | 1309 Rosewood Ave, Austin, TX 78702

8. Stiles Switch

Stiles Switch BBQ
Stiles Switch Barbecue in North Austin

Let’s jump to north Austin, shall we? Stiles Switch BBQ is in the 1950s Violet Crown shopping center, and if you don’t know what you’re looking for, you might just drive right past. But local Austinites know that this is some of the best briskets in Texas, and whether you’re a local or a visitor, it’s a spot that you need to check off your bucket list. 

It’s a total neighborhood spot, with locals lining up every day for that smoked brisket, cold craft beer, and crazy good corn casserole. Along with their expertly-prepared meats (brisket, pork ribs, smoked turkey, half chicken, and a few types of smoked sausage) Stiles Switch has a hefty menu of other fun Texas BBQ options to try. 

Take, for instance, the Frito pie. You can try it with pulled pork or brisket chile con carne, Fritos, beans, cheddar cheese, sour cream, and pickled onions. Or go for one of their epic barbecue sandwiches, like the spicy Buford T’s Diablos: chopped brisket, sliced sausage, pickled jalapenos, and spicy chili arbol mayo. 

Fun fact: the 1990s movie Dazed and Confused was filmed here! The Emporium pool hall in the movie was filmed right here at the Stiles Switch space. 

WEBSITE | 6610 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78752

9. The Original Black’s BBQ

Black's BBQ Austin

Turns out there’s some family drama in the Texas bbq scene! Black’s BBQ is from the same family as Terry Black’s (listed earlier in this guide), but they’re not the same company. Nope. They’re actually two completely different entities, but they both serve exceptional BBQ in Austin, Texas. 

The Original Black’s BBQ is located in central Austin. It started in Lockhart (and it’s still there! It opened in 1932, and it’s the oldest bbq joint in Texas), and now this Austin location allows Austinites to more easily access the incredible smoked goodness that is Black’s BBQ. 

The menu is huge, but that doesn't mean they don’t take great care of every single piece of meat that they smoke. They offer everything: smoked brisket, turkey, pork spare ribs, homemade sausage, beef ribs, half-smoked chicken, chopped brisket, and even a Frito pie. 

The sides are aplenty, too. Try the Mexican Street Corn: it’s creamy and peppery. Or go for a tangy bowl of chunky potato salad, which pairs perfectly with the salty meat. For dessert, you’ve got to try both the banana pudding AND the delicious peach cobbler. 

Oh, and candied brisket ice cream. Need we say more?  

WEBSITE | 3110 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX 78705

10. LeRoy and Lewis

LeRoy and Lewis beef cheeks
The Best BBQ In Austin Texas

LeRoy and Lewis opened as a “New School BBQ” food truck in south Austin in 2017, and they’ve been attracting crowds of people ever since. In fact, they’ve been near the top of the list of Texas Monthly’s list of 50 Best BBQ Spots in Texas. 

New School bbq means that you’ll be able to try something a bit different here than what you’re getting at all of the other bbq joints in Austin, but it’s still going to focus on exceptional smoked meat as the star of the show.

Take, for instance, the Citra Hop pork sausage. Yep, it’s literally made with Citra hops (used to make IPA beer!) Another fun menu item is their New School BBQ Sandwich, on which they place your choice of meat topped with kimchi, Beet BBQ sauce, and herbs and put it all on a  toasted potato bun. 

There are so many fun menu items to try at LeRoy and Lewis (the beef cheeks and the burger and way too many others to list here - go look at their menu!), and on top of that, the location is really fun: it’s parked at Cosmic Coffee and Beer Garden, a fun little garden in south Austin with chill vibes, an outdoor water feature, lots of picnic tables, and plenty of craft beer. If you’re hoping for a really good Austin bbq spot that’s a bit different from the normal stuff, try LeRoy and Lewis. 

WEBSITE | 121 Pickle Rd, Austin, TX 78704

What's the best BBQ in Austin Texas?

Ugh! Such a hard question because it depends on what you value in your barbecue. But the top 3 that should be on everyone's list to try in Austin are Franklin Barbecue, La Barbecue, LeRoy and Lewis, Interstellar, and Stiles Switch. 

A few other Austin bbq spots worth checking out:

Salt Lick BBQ // Everyone knows about this spot and talks about it (and takes pictures of it!), and here’s the deal: it’s a really cool spot in Driftwood, and it will be PACKED on the weekends. The meat is solid, but it’s not as good as the 10 places listed above. But the ambiance is really fun (you can literally see the giant bbq pit in the middle of the kitchen), and the sides are tasty. Fun spot for sure, but it’s not considered one of the best places to get brisket in the state of Texas. 

Loro // Pitmaster Aaron Franklin (from Franklin Barbecue) teamed up with a famous sushi chef (Tyson Cole from Uchi) to open this Asian Smokehouse. If you want to try some of Aaron Franklin’s smoked meats, but don’t want to stand in line at Franklin, try going to Loro. It's a very fun environment with a big patio, a beautiful indoor bar, and lots of creative Asian/smoked meat/fusion food. 

Try candied kettle corn with brisket burnt ends, smoked prime bavette with shishito salsa verde, and the sake slushee. 

EastSide ATX // For a fun east Austin hangout spot with pretty good bbq, go to EastSide. It’s a fun restaurant with smoked meat, cocktails, and a rooftop hangout spot.

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