In light of a recent “Essential BBQ list for Houstonians" firestorm on social media, I’m compelled to try and rectify what was at the very least some short-sighted and misguided information.
There are literally dozens of BBQ purveyors in our city; some are not so good, but others are doing very well. You will undoubtedly have your favorites, possibly based on relationships or a personal experience with one or another. It doesn’t help that a social media publication puts out a list that disregards many of the hard working people and places that have done so much to bring the Houston BBQ up to its current highly-respectable level.
If you’re new to Houston, you need a place to start if you’re looking for good BBQ. I would never begin to characterize this list as “essential”; this is just a 'map' of sorts to get you started, and a way to get a good representative sampling of the variety in BBQ that the greater Houston area has to offer. It is intentionally not numbered or ranked, and it is in no particular order.*
Pappa Charlies Barbeque
Roegels Barbecue Co.
The Brisket House
Ray's BBQ Shack
Jackson Street BBQ
The Pit Room
Southern Q BBQ & Catering
El Burro & The Bull
Lenox Barbecue & Catering
Triple J's Smokehouse
Tin Roof BBQ
I’m often asked “what’s your favorite BBQ in Houston?”, or “who is the best?” Honestly, I don’t have an answer for either of those, and I doubt I ever will. I love the variety of the styles of BBQ we have, and the different methods of cooking being utilized. I’m often in the mood for a different taste of BBQ, and the multiple options I have to choose from please me to no end.
Your Houston BBQ experience should be your own. If you don’t have any idea where to begin, start with these and make it so.
*The list represents those who have a regular, physical presence at a particular location as of the date of this posting. "Pop-ups" are not included, but should not be disregarded should you discover information about them.
All photos copyright Scott Sandlin, Texas Pit Quest. All rights reserved.