• September 8, 2023
  • Lauren Critzer
  • 0

Austin’s Barbeque Bounty: Your Local Guide to the Best BBQ Spots in Austin

Welcome to Austin – a place where you’ll be hard-pressed to mosey down any street without catching the comforting aroma of smoked meats wafting in the air. Reputed for its pulsating music scene and electric energy, this Texas city has, indeed, earned its reputation as the Barbeque Capital of Texas.

A visit to Austin is incomplete without delving into the heart of its barbeque culture: tasting flavorful, slow-cooked brisket, succulent smoked sausage, tender, fall-off-the-bone ribs, and all the delicious sides that accompany this feast. If you’re in search of the absolute best BBQ spots in Austin, you’re in the right place, friend!

Austin: The Barbeque Capital of Texas

In Austin, barbeque isn’t just food – it’s a way of life. A robust and diverse culinary scene unfolds here, boasting everything from spicy Mexican flavors to delightful farm-to-table creations and an ever-bustling food truck parade. But when it comes to defining Austin’s gastronomical identity, nothing does it better than its legendary barbeque.

Each BBQ joint in Austin adds its unique signature twist that titillates your taste buds, keeping you coming back for more delicious goodness. Let’s embark on a mouth-watering sojourn, exploring the flavorful heart of Austin’s BBQ one joint at a time.

Franklin Barbecue

Topping any “best BBQ” list in Austin, and arguably, the nation, is Franklin Barbecue. This institution of smoked cuisine came to life in a humble trailer on the I-35 but quickly rose through the ranks due to its unrivalled BBQ.

What sets Franklin Barbecue apart, you ask?

  • World-acclaimed brisket – Smoked unhurriedly over post oak to tender, fall-apart perfection, there’s just no beating Franklin’s brisket. A celestial balance of velvety fat, well-rendered bark, and smoke uplifts this meat to another plane of deliciousness.
  • Long lines that are worth it – The line starts forming at 7 a.m., or even earlier, but don’t let that dishearten you. The social atmosphere and comradery among patrons make this wait part of the Franklin experience. Plus, they serve beer and handheld fans to keep you cool!
  • The magician behind it – Aaron Franklin, a James Beard Award winner, is a stalwart at holding the banner high for Austin’s barbecue. His passion for quality and consistency has held steadfast over the years.

La Barbecue

Austin’s BBQ scene reached new heights when La Barbecue hit the landscape. Brought to life by LeAnn Mueller, a progeny of the legendary Mueller BBQ dynasty, this joint is BBQ royalty.

Here’s why La Barbecue stands out:

  • Famed for the BBQ trifecta – Brisket, ribs, and sausage make up the holy trinity of Texas BBQ, and La Barbecue nails each one of them. Their brisket, smoked for up to 15 hours over oak, is a sublime experience of flavor and texture.
  • Smoky, succulent sides – Don’t miss the chance to pair your BBQ with a side of chipotle slaw or pinto beans, which will elevate your dining experience.
  • Divine house-made sausage – Fennel sausage or spicy, cheddar-filled sausage – take your pick. LeAnn’s delectable sausages are a bold proclamation of her Austin BBQ lineage.

Get Into the Groove of Austin’s BBQ Beat

Now that you’ve tasted a hint of Austin’s BBQ prowess, keep the momentum going and catch the BBQ beat. If you’re still hungry, read on. You ain’t seen nothing yet!

Micklethwait Craft Meats

A quirky vintage Comet trailer situated on Rosewood Avenue houses Austin’s hidden BBQ marvel, Micklethwait Craft Meats. This unassuming joint brings a gourmet touch to Texas BBQ and doesn’t shy away from mixing things up.

Here are some reasons why you should give Micklethwait a go:

  • Craft-sausages – Taking inspiration from cuisines around the world, Micklethwait serves a changing lineup of handcrafted sausages that you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. Moroccan Lamb, Duck and Cherry, Bourbon and Pork, to name just a few of them.
  • BBQ with a twist – Their menu boasts unusual, albeit delectable, items like BBQ Frito Pie, smoked chicken salad sandwich, and pulled goat.
  • Fresh, locally sourced ingredients – They take pride in using local, high-quality meats and fresh ingredients, reaffirming their craft-bbq philosophy.

Lamberts Downtown Barbecue

Housed in a restored 1873 brick general store, Lamberts offers a unique blend of the rustic charm of Texas’s wild west and modern refinement. Fancy and stylish, they describe their fare as “Modern Texas BBQ”.

What sets Lamberts apart?

  • Upscale Barbecue – Expect traditional BBQ with a gourmet twist. For instance, their Brisket is brown sugar and coffee-rubbed, their Ribs come glazed with a Maple and Coriander sauce, and the sausage of the day keeps patrons intrigued.
  • Live Music – Keeping Austin’s reverence for music alive, Lamberts hosts live music on their upstairs lounge. Good grub and great music – it doesn’t get more Austin than this.
  • Sides with a flair – It wouldn’t be fair not to mention their classy accompaniments – crispy wild boar ribs, spicy deviled eggs, or their famous mac and cheese.

Uncover Hidden BBQ Wonders

‘Stay Weird’ is possibly the most well-known phrase you’ll hear in this town. And, as you probably guessed, even Austin’s lesser-known BBQ tributaries maintain this weird charm.

Kerlin BBQ

Emerging as a true-blue East Austin gem, Kerlin BBQ has drawn notable attention from both locals and tourists alike. It’s not just their smoked meats winning over hearts, but their smoked cornbread is nothing short of a revelation.

Why are Austinites obsessed with Kerlin?

  • The Cornbread! – Imagine a loaf of cornbread – gently smoked and slathered with honey butter. Now imagine taking a bite of it alongside your BBQ. That’s why Kerlin’s cornbread is something of a phenomenon.
  • BBQ staples done right – From their prime brisket to St. Louis style pork ribs, there’s a simplicity yet finesse to Kerlin’s BBQ that’s hard not to admire.

Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew

Proudly holding on to its retro vibe, Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew stands out as a solid representation of how traditional Texas BBQ has evolved while still retaining its roots.

What makes Stiles Switch worth the trip?

  • Unique Treats – Ever tried a ‘Dino Rib’? It’s a colossal beef rib that redefines ‘Texas-sized.’ Or how about a corn casserole side, humming with jalapeno warmth? You’ll find them both here.
  • An impressive lineup of beers – With 25 Texas beers on tap, you can find the perfect brew to wash down your BBQ feast.

Conclusion: The Ultimate Austin BBQ Experience

Austin is every BBQ lover’s paradise. Each spot on this list adds to the vibrant fabric of Austin’s unrivaled BBQ culture. Topped with friendly local folks, down-to-earth ambience, and the heavenly aroma of meats that serenade your senses, Austin extends an open invitation to every BBQ enthusiast out there.

Plan your great Texas BBQ quest, hit these hot spots, and bid adieu to your BBQ cravings! It’s always a good time to enjoy barbeque in Austin; no BBQ bucket list would be complete without these worthy mentions.

As you venture out, bib in pocket and appetite in tow, recall the local’s catchphrase: “Keep Austin Weird”, and its barbecue, delicious. The BBQ capital of Texas is calling! This has been your guide to the best BBQ spots in Austin, a start to your finger-licking adventure.

Tuck in, y’all! The barbeque in Austin waits for no one.

Lauren Critzer

I was born in Charlottesville, Virginia and after college, I moved to San Francisco to explore new opportunities and broaden my horizons. I fell in love with the city's vibrant culture and unique atmosphere, but eventually, I moved again, this time to Austin, Texas.

As much as I loved living in different parts of the country, having a baby boy brought me back to my hometown in Charlottesville, where I now live with my husband, our little one, and two furry friends. I enjoy going to wineries, taking my pups everywhere, and spending quality time with my family.

Receive the latest news

Get the Inside Scoop!

Austin’s latest events and eats, straight to your inbox. Subscribe now!