Best Austin BBQ (that we’ve eaten)
Austin BBQ spoils people from all over on a daily basis
The Austin BBQ scene is a haven for those who crave perfectly smoked meats. Whether you’re a unicorn (born in Austin) or you recently moved here, there are places all over town where you can quiet your meatatarian urges. The Austin Marathon is entering its 28th year and we’ve witnessed firsthand the Austin BBQ explosion. We’ve done our best to visit as many Austin BBQ places as we can. After we arose from each meat-induced slumber we jotted down some notes about our favorites places. Might be a while before we recover from this BBQ frenzy. Maybe the next time we have one will be at home, although our BBQ is slightly knackered. This is why I’ve been looking at getting a new Weber BBQ. I must admit I may have a small break first! Check out the five best spots (in no particular order) where we’ve consumed smoked meats. Try our recommendations after your next intense speed workout or long run.
Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ (short/medium wait in line)
Valentina’s is a south Austin, family-owned joint that combines two Texas favorites: Tex Mex and BBQ. Everyone who visits this establishment (1150 Manchaca Rd. 78745) wins. Their hashtag is #hechoconamor and that is clearly evident in everything they do, from giant, peppery beef ribs to their homemade queso. Here’s the kicker, they don’t just have BBQ… THEY HAVE TACOS. Pro tip – get the Real Deal Holyfield before 11:00 a.m.
Kerlin BBQ (short wait in line)
Two words – brisket kolaches. Kerlin BBQ took two Texas staples and merged them into a slightly sweet, doughy, brisket-filled pouch of perfection. Get there early (they open at 9:00 a.m. Wed-Sun) because the kolaches go quickly. This east Austin spot is making noise as a powerhouse. But you can still get amazing ‘cue (brisket, pork ribs, hot links) without waiting in an extremely long line. Get there now because that won’t last. (watch the Austin Marathon in-person at Mile 24.5 and cheer on runners!)
La Barbecue (medium/long wait in line)
Skip a few blocks west and you’ll discover one of Austin’s OGs on the BBQ scene. They’ve lived in several different spots in Austin, but one thing remains the same: La Barbecue knows how to smoke meats. Their brisket is a crowd favorite and sells out quickly. If you manage to get one, the beef ribs are as big as your head. Sausage is made in-house. Every choice is the right choice. (watch the Austin Marathon in-person at Mile 24.5 and cheer on runners!)
LeRoy and Lewis (short wait in line)
Their slogan “New school barbecue, old school service” perfectly encapsulates this truck. Their South Congress location means they’re a stone’s throw from the office High Five Events, owners and producers of the Austin Marathon. They serve alternative meats (tender beef cheek) and creative, seasonal sides (Pakistani street corn). They stick to the originals (brisket, ribs, sausage) but add their own twist, taking flavors to another level. Pro tip: their brisket fried is a must-have when available on the ever-changing menu.
Micklethwait (short/medium wait in line)
For some odd reason, Micklethwait flies under the radar when it comes to Austin BBQ. The smoked meats are always perfect when you pick them up outside their trailer window. Make sure you’ve been working out, their beef ribs normally weigh 1.5 pounds. While the meats are mouthwatering, their sides and desserts are what elevate their game. You must get the Jalapeño Cheese Grits and Banana Pudding. Pro tip – when they make homemade moon pies it’s illegal to not get one. Don’t break the law.