Could Texas compete against Memphis Barbecue?
Joe and I were determined to find out. Memphis is known for its pork barbecue, cooked low and slow with sweet, thick barbecue sauce. Just the thought of Memphis barbecue makes my mouth start to water and gives me the urge to run down to my local Corky’s Barbecue (see The Ultimate Memphis Barbecue Guide). Could Texas compete? I mean seriously, the sauce is on the side? It’s beef not pork? Trying to stay open-minded, I used Texas Monthly’s “The Top 50 Barbecue Joints” and plotted out our course. And so the great Texas Barbecue Road Trip was planned. (Also read “Planning the Perfect Road Trip“)
Barbecue #1: Riverport Barbecue, Jefferson, TX
River port Barbecue is located in the quant little town of Jefferson, TX (see Jefferson Texas: Worth the Stop!). Jefferson is an antique lover’s delight, and Riverport is located right among the shops in the historic downtown. I had the ribs which came with fries and water cornbread (like a cross between flat hushpuppies and cornbread). The ribs had a nice, tender smokiness to them. Yum! Joe had the swamp fries which were like barbecue nachos with fries instead of chips. They weren’t his favorite, but still pretty good.
Address: 201 North Polk St., Jefferson, TX
Website: Riverport BBQ Facebook Page
Barbecue #2: Stanley’s Famous Pit Bar-B-Que, Tyler, TX
Since I was still full from lunch, Joe and I split the $12.99 2-meat combo. It came with potato salad, coleslaw, and beans. Mouth-watering good meat! But for me, the real winner was the coleslaw. It reminded me of my mother’s. She had coleslaw down to perfection, a just right combination of sweet, crunchy, and tang. I’ve had very few coleslaws that could match my mama’s, but Stanley’s did. Definitely worth a trip to Tyler, TX!
Address: 525 South Beckham Avenue, Tyler, TX
Barbecue #3: Taylor’s Smokehouse, Hillsboro, TX
While driving from Tyler to Waco, we stopped in the Roadside America Museum. The owner of the museum, Carroll, recommended that we try Taylor’s Smokehouse for lunch.
Always go with what the locals recommend.
We arrived a little early and were warned that the ribs might be a little tough because they needed a little more time to be “church crowd” ready. We should have stuck with something else because the ribs were a little dry. The barbecue sliders, however, were tender and delicious! The slaw on top had just the right amount of sweetness! I must compliment the service, too. Friendly, but not hovering.
Address: 5626 SH22, Hillsboro, TX
Website: Taylor’s Smokehouse Facebook Page
Barbecue #4: Rudy’s Country Store & Bar-b-que, Austin, TX
When I started researching for this road trip, all the Austin reviews recommended Franklin’s. The problem with trying Franklin’s was the warning of having to wait in line for several hours. I’m all about waiting for fantastic food, but there were so many other things we wanted to see and do in Austin, that the idea of using several hours of our precious touring time standing in line just didn’t seem the best idea. (see A Day in Austin, Texas). Also high on the reviewers’ lists was Rudy’s. I have eaten at Rudy’s before, just outside of San Antonio, so I knew it would be a good place to go.
We chose wisely! The service at Rudy’s was excellent. At the ordering counter we were asked if we had eaten at a Rudy’s before. Joe was a Rudy’s newbie, so the nice guy at the counter went through the different choices and suggested that we sample some the restaurant favorites. Even though people were waiting behind us, we weren’t rushed to make a decision. We went with the brisket, sausage, creamed corn, potato salad, and coleslaw. Everything was delicious, especially the creamed corn and brisket!
Address: 2451 S Capital Of Texas Hwy, Austin, TX 78746
Barbecue #5: Busbee’s Bar-B-Que, Bandera, TX
Bandera, Texas is called the Cowboy Capital of the World. With that distinction, you’d think a town like Bandera would have a multitude of barbecue restaurants to chose from. That would not be the case. Fortunately the one we tried, Busbee’s, was pretty good. I tried the ribs, and Joe sampled the brisket. The brisket was a little above average. A little dry for me, but then again, I was still switching my taste buds over from Memphis-style barbecue. The ribs, whether or not you prefer one style over the other, were divine. The meat was tender and juicy and full of smokey-flavored goodness. As far as the sides go, I could have eaten a gallon of the potato salad.
By this time we had eaten at 6 barbecue restaurants on our road trip (1 in Arkansas & 5 in Texas)
Address: 339 Main Street, Bandera, TX 78003
Website: Busbee’s Facebook Page
Barbecue #6: Black’s Barbecue, Lockhart, TX
I have my neighbor, Dwight, to thank for convincing us to make a little side trip to Lockhart. He was exactly right. You can’t have a true Texas barbecue road trip without a sampling from Lockhart. Lockhart is home to three of the top rated barbecue restaurants in Texas. Black’s, Smitty’s Market, and Keuz Market. We decided to try Black’s because of its #1 rating on Trip Advisor, and it is the oldest BBQ joint in Texas, owned and operated by the same family since 1932.
As you can see from the picture I took from the outside of Black’s, there was a line going out the door. Luckily, the line moved swiftly, and we only had about a twenty minute wait. It was well worth the drive and the wait! Joe had the mammoth beef ribs. That must have been one huge cow! I had the brisket and potato salad. The brisket was the best I have ever had. It melted like butter in my mouth. The only problem was that I became full way too fast! Joe like his ribs so much that he bought a Black’s T-shirt. I was already becoming a believer in Texas barbecue, and Black’s confirmed my convictions!
Address: 215 N Main St, Lockhart, TX 78644-2121
If you’ve never taken a road trip through central Texas, we highly recommend it, especially for the barbecue. Here was our route:
So what do you think? What state has the best barbecue? And why do all of the Texas barbecue restaurants serve sliced white bread with their meals? Do they not know how to make dinner rolls? Please let us know your opinion by commenting below.
Next up on our itinerary, camping in Mississippi, then 12 days in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland! Keep up with our adventures and travels by following us on social media. Get our posts once a week in your email (no SPAM) by subscribing to our newsletter.