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Texas Monthly's Top 50 Texas BBQ Joints

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. 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

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

      1. re: biteme2

        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

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

          http://www.houstonpress.com/2005-05-2...

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

        4 Replies
        1. re: GroovinGourmet

          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

            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

            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

              Snow's is in Lexington, Not Lockhart.

            2. 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

                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. 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

                  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

                    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:

                    http://www.texasmonthly.com/2008-06-0...

                    No Black's.

                    I seriously don't get it.

                    1. re: Jaymes

                      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

                        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

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

                    2. re: Jaymes

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

                    3. 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.