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Apr 10, 2014 11:45 AM

My list of Less Than Famous Central TX BBQ - Which ones?


A couple of years ago my buddy and I did a pilgrimage to Central Texas to eat at many of the famous Q joints, and they were great. Here's my write up if you're interested:

I will be in San Antonio for a conference in late April and will sneak out at some point for a BBQ quest, but wanted to focus on some of the lesser known gems that don't take me too far from San Antonio. I've done a bit of research but I'd love to hear from all of you who have been to some of the places within say, 70 miles of San Antonio.

Here is my list. Which of these are must-eats? Which can be skipped? Which ones am I missing?

San Antonio – Granary
New Braunfels – Cooper’s Barbecue
San Marcos – Hay’s Co. Bar-B-Que
Luling – City Market

My big thing is brisket and guts.


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  1. Not sure I would classify Cooper's or City Market as lesser known.

    2 Replies
    1. re: PappyAustin

      Okay, that's good to know. So they are good? Others you might suggest?

      1. re: EarlyBird

        City Market in Luling is fantastic. Cooper's in New Braunfels has no atmosphere or character and the times I've been there, it's been about as good as a Rudy's. Ok. Not anything special.

    2. I couldn't even finish my BBQ in Luling. Locals there will say otherwise but I'd recommend you stay away. I like Coopers but their brisket isn't great shakes but they do great steaks, sausage and prime rib. Can't speak to the others. If you are that close to Luling just go to Lockhart and go to Black's or Smittys. Great stuff.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Rptrane

        Well, I've been to both Black's and Smitty's and was trying to avoid getting that close to Austin on this trip, and wanted to visit other places.

        Thanks for the information.

        1. re: EarlyBird

          I've never had any bad food at City Market.

          1. re: James Cristinian

            City Market in Luling has always been consistently good to great. It's there whenever the Lockhart ones have an off day.

            1. re: Rene

              I'll third that. I've always enjoyed City Market (and conversely, never enjoyed Black's)

                1. re: ieathereforeiam

                  Thanks all. Sounds like City Market in Luling is a must. I'll report back.

        2. If you get close to Lexington, check out Snow's. Dear Daughter's boyfriend grew up with it and swears by it. I am looking forward to the fall visit. And thank you in advance for making my research so easy.

          8 Replies
          1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

            Snow's seems to have fallen off a lot of people's radar since Franklin's and LA BBQ came on the scene. People that used to drive to Lexington would rather stand in line (or so it appears).

            1. re: TroyTempest

              A lot of the problem with Snow's is that, unless things have changed, it's only open on Saturday mornings. That can certainly make it a less-than-convenient option.

              And City Market in Luling has had for many decades a reputation as being one of the iconic Texas greats for one reason: it is one of the iconic Texas greats.


              1. re: Jaymes

                Okay. I'm most definitely making it to Luling and City Market. I notice there is "City Market," the famous one, and "Luling City Market." They must be entirely different establishments, right?

                1. re: EarlyBird

                  The "Luling City Market" in Houston initially had some tenuous connection to City Market in Luling, a former employee or something. At this point, it's deceptive at best.

                  1. re: ampeg66

                    There is also a Luling BBQ in Luling, never been there though.


                    1. re: James Cristinian

                      Funny about that "other" barbecue joint in Luling. It's right across the street from City Market. I always sit there and look at it for a few minutes and think I really should try it.

                      But never have.

                      Honestly, City Market is so good, I've never really seen the point of trying Luling BBQ. I mean, if it were really good enough to compete with City Market, why is it that you never hear about it anywhere.

                      And I've usually driven at least an hour to get to City Market. So don't want to waste time, money, tummy space on second tier barbecue.

                      You know?

                    2. re: ampeg66

                      Right. The City Market in Luling is so famous as being a top tier iconic smoked meat market that somebody in Houston is currently trying to capitalize on the confusion.

                      There's a pretty sleazy sordid story about how the owners of the ripoff joint in Houston lured a family member from the real City Market in Luling. But, as usually happens when somebody is being "used," there was a falling out.

                      Unfortunately, there are still folks that think there's a connection. Unfortunately.

              2. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                I've seen Snow's on many lists, and I think I can build an itinerary which includes it. Thanks for the information. I'll report back on my trip.

              3. Thought a response to your original question might be helpful. A co-worker that lives in New Braunfels suggested

                1 Reply
                1. OK, so given the criteria "top tier BBQ" and "close to San Antonio", you probably want to add Two Bros BBQ Market in SA and Texas Pride (which also has great cobbler) in nearby Adkins. They are both really good and close enough that they would be easy to add to your route.
                  I also like Buzzie's in Kerrville but it's out the other direction from most of the rest of the joints.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Alan Sudo

                    Thanks, Alan. I'll have a AAA map, a full tank of gas and an empty stomach when I set out. These two will be on my radar too.

                    1. re: Alan Sudo

                      Agree with 2 Bros, you may want to post this in the general Texas forum as well to get non Austinites opinions.