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Texas Monthly's Top 50 Texas BBQ Joints

ddavis May 24, 2008 07:07 PM

The June 2008 issue of Texas Monthly addresses the question many on this board argue about on a regular basis -- where is the best Q in Texas? They conclude that the best is a place no one has ever heard of -- Snow's BBQ in Lexington. Supposedly it's only open on Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. till the meat runs out, usually around noon. The Top 5 on their list are Snow's, Kreuz Market and Smitty's Market, both in Lockhart, City Market in Luling and Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor.

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  1. b
    biteme2 May 24, 2008 10:40 PM

    Have you tried PAPPAS? It was once called the BRISKET HOUSE, and is located on Pierce st in downtown Houston. Some of the best bbq in town. The side dishes are made from scratch, and the beans are to die for!
    Not pricy, just good quality great tasting food, that will make you go back again and again.

    3 Replies
    1. re: biteme2
      ddavis May 25, 2008 07:58 AM

      Haven't been there. Is it part of the Pappas family chains?

      1. re: biteme2
        Jayro May 29, 2008 03:10 PM

        I’m glad to hear other people like Pappas BBQ on Pierce St. too. It’s pretty tasty. It’s not as good as Kreuz Market, but what place in Houston is? Williams Smoke House was also very good, but someone told me it burned down in back in December. I hope they open another place soon.

        Back to Pappas… We have been choosing Pappas BBQ over Goode Company for the past two years now. As a native Houstonian, I have gone to Goode Company all of my life. I have witnessed a steady decline in their BBQ --- each time, the beef is less flavorful and even a bit dry at times. My jalapeno bread was stale on 3 occasions. Just two days ago we went to Goode Co. to give our old pal another shot. I hate to say it, but once again, I had some dry flavorless BBQ. I had to use liberal amounts of sauce to “revive” my meal. The jalapeno bread and beans were both good though (this time). The pork was better than the brisket we got that day. IMO, Pappas brisket has a better meaty flavor. Also, I don’t feel compelled to smother it with sauce (I hate to smother food… I wan to taste it).

        We’ve tried Luling City Market both here in Houston and in Luling. We preferred the one in Luling ( big surprise!). We still prefer Pappas BBQ on Pierce St. to the Luling City Market here in town. We usually order brisket and links by the pound at Pappas so I cannot remark on any of their side dishes. Sometimes service can be slow too (at least for take-out).

        If you are up for a road-trip, some of the best BBQ can be found at Cooper’s in Llano, Tx. This place really does live up to all the hype. It certainly was worth the long drive. On the day we went they had pork ribs, beef short ribs, sliced brisket, reg. pork sausage, jalapeno pork sausage, and chicken. We tried ALL of it – YUM! I would not recommend trying to drive back to Houston after eating at Cooper’s.

        1. re: Jayro
          Bulldozer May 30, 2008 12:55 PM

          Luling City Market is NOT affiliated with the place in Luling. City Market (in Luling) is fantastic. Luling City Market in Houston is eh...


          Back to the Texas Monthly article... I do find it strange that all of the top 5 are central Texas style. Aren't we really talking about opinions here with styles?

          That being said, the four of the top five (having not tried Snow's) are absolutely amazing.

      2. GroovinGourmet May 25, 2008 08:47 AM

        Not familiar with Snow's in Lockhart. Is this a new place?

        4 Replies
        1. re: GroovinGourmet
          ddavis May 25, 2008 09:45 AM

          You're not alone. Till now it's just been a very under-the-radar local place. The article says it opened five years ago. It's owned by a guy whose real job is as a control room operator at a local power plant. Before that he was a long-haul truck driver, field officer in the Texas prison system and a rodeo clown for fiften years. His childhood nickname was Snowman, hence the name of the joint. The pitmaster is a 73 year old woman who started smoking meat in 1967 at City Meat Market in Giddings. Now that Texas Monthly has crowned it, can you imgaine the line that will be there the next few months?

          1. re: ddavis
            GroovinGourmet May 25, 2008 07:45 PM

            Interesting, and you are right about the lines. When it comes to brisket, Black's is still #1 in my book. But Snow's is on the list for next time.

            And yes, Pappas BBQ is part of the Pappas empire. The one in Irving is OK. As with all things Pappas, portions are huge, even if the chow is not the best. Their brisket was above average, but nowhere close to anything offered in Lockhart.

          2. re: GroovinGourmet
            austineater Jun 5, 2013 04:32 PM

            It's been around for a while. It topped the TM list the last go-round. There are lines, but if you get there before 9:00 or so, you should be OK.

            1. re: GroovinGourmet
              DoobieWah Jun 7, 2013 02:08 PM

              Snow's is in Lexington, Not Lockhart.

            2. q
              QBALL263 Jun 24, 2010 02:10 PM

              If memory serves me correctly, #5 was Harold's in Abilene. Was formerly Toby's in the 70's till Toby had a run-in with the IRS and changed the name to Harold's (his son). SMALL joint where 35 people crowds the joint. When I went there "back in the day", Toby's BBQ was BLACK and crusty, with a perfect red smoke ring and you could eat it with your teeth still in the glass on the toilet tank. The sauce tasted a bit different day to day because Toby was a pinch, dab, tad, etc. cook and when it tasted right, he served it. Small cinder block building with 3 picnic tables and 4-5 booths, Coke machine, cooler of ice and tea dispenser. Condiments were on the tables in knock-off Rubbermaid containers. There was one with a brownish-red paste with seeds in it and "DAMN HOT" on the lid...that didn't even come close. Toby catered for the majority of functions in Abilene. A fine gentlemen who would praise baseball and "cuss" Nixon. Harold has taken over now and from what I've heard, nothing has changed. To sum it all up, Harold's BBQ is better than a mother's kiss on a boo-boo. Anybody have any info on Harold's?

              1 Reply
              1. re: QBALL263
                pinotho Jun 25, 2010 10:11 AM

                Harold's is still very good. I've eaten there within the past year. They serve hot water cornbread with their dinners. Cobblers are also very good. Everything is good at Harold's.Always a line at lunch, but it moves good.

              2. j
                Jaymes Jul 8, 2010 09:34 AM

                Something I've wondered about for years -

                Where is Black's on that TM list?

                I can understand if Black's doesn't make their top five, or ten, or twenty, or whatever. After all, who has the best barbecue in Texas is a purely subjective thing, and everybody has his or her own opinion, so if the consensus of the TM editors is that Black's isn't worthy of "Top Five," okay, whatever, I might disagree but I can understand it.

                But I've eaten at a lot of those 45 "Honorable Mentions" and definitely think Black's is better than most of them. Certainly deserving of a mention somewhere.

                I've even asked those nice fellers behind the counter at Black's why they're not even mentioned. They just shrug their shoulders and say, "We don't know, either. We get asked that all the time."

                Perhaps it's because that would be three spots in Lockhart. And that would mean that another town/region gets left out entirely.

                Is that it?

                Anyone know?

                7 Replies
                1. re: Jaymes
                  pinotho Jul 8, 2010 10:24 AM

                  Jaymes, I don't think that they are ignored. I can't remember where they fall on the list, but I think they are definitely on the list somewhere. I'm sure someone will log on with their official rank.

                  1. re: pinotho
                    Jaymes Jul 10, 2010 11:30 AM

                    If it's on that list anywhere, I certainly cannot find it. And I've looked for it every time that list comes out. I think it was on there years back (and a quick google tells me it was in 1997), but since then, no.

                    Here's the most recent:


                    No Black's.

                    I seriously don't get it.

                    1. re: Jaymes
                      James Cristinian Jul 10, 2010 12:07 PM

                      Jaymes, I was pleased to see your personal favorite, Goode Co. didn't make it this year. (Tongue planted firmly in cheek.)

                      1. re: James Cristinian
                        Jaymes Jul 10, 2010 12:29 PM

                        Yes, you're right. That IS my personal favorite!

                        I go there for the......wait a minute......what is it that I go there for?

                        Ah yes, the bread and the pecan pie.

                        I am shocked, SHOCKED, to discover that they did not make the list.

                        1. re: Jaymes
                          James Cristinian Jul 10, 2010 01:51 PM

                          Anytime people talk about sides, bread, and desserts at a bbq joint, you know the main ingredient is not up to par.

                        2. re: James Cristinian
                          dcbbq Jul 11, 2010 01:57 PM

                          Goode Co got an honorable mention

                    2. re: Jaymes
                      waistedinkerrville Jun 8, 2013 01:08 PM

                      2013 TM ranks Blacks and Kreuz in Lockhart in the top 50. No mention of Smitty's. Kinda weird.

                    3. w
                      waistedinkerrville Jul 18, 2010 05:34 AM

                      Ah, the price of fame. In 1997, TM put Buddy's BBQ in Kerrville in the top 50. On a house buying trip here, we had lunch there and it was superb. I had the cabrito. 4 months later we moved here to discover Buddy's had closed. The reason: Buddy, his wife and brother and sister-in-law (or vice versa), all retired, had opened the place as a hobby and the ensuing acclaim was too much for them to handle...or so we were told. The grounds are now the home of the Humane Society, to add a tad more irony to the story.

                      1. q
                        QBALL263 Jun 5, 2013 05:10 PM

                        To all of you SERIOUS "Q" aficionados in the Lone Star Republic: Everyone has their favorite "joint", just like favorite cars. But, the secret to cooking the WORLD'S BEST BBQ is... ya gotta keep the cook well marinated! Peace...

                        1. w
                          waistedinkerrville Jun 8, 2013 01:03 PM

                          Keeping current, the June 2013 TM lists Franklin in Austin a 5.0. Tied for second with a 4.75 rating are Pecan Lodge, Dallas; Snow's, Lexington and Louie Mueller, Taylor.

                          You can order Snow's online and what I've had is magnificent.

                          1. c
                            Chimayo Joe Aug 7, 2013 08:12 AM

                            I ate at Tyler's Barbeque in Amarillo when I was passing through a couple of weeks ago. Had brisket(a tiny bit too lean and dry for my tastes but still very good), ribs(meaty and nicely done), and peppercorn sausage(good flavor). Tyler's made the top 50 list and rightly so. Good enough that I tried to eat there again on my way back through Amarillo, but they're closed on Mondays(& Sundays), so I got a pretty decent CFS at Calico County Restaurant which is nearby.


                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Chimayo Joe
                              brucesw Aug 8, 2013 04:31 PM

                              Tyler's made the 2013 list. It didn't even exist when the 2008 list was published.


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