Get your smoked meat fix at these top Houston barbecue joints

April 30, 2017 GMT

Brooks’ Place BBQ: Pitmaster Trent Brooks cranks out outstanding Central Texas-style brisket while mixing in occasional specials like smoked oxtails and smoked catfish at his little-trailer-that-could in an Ace Hardware parking lot. Wife Norma helps with sides like garlic potatoes and kicked-up baked beans. Don’t miss Brooks’ bacon-wrapped sausage and cheddar-stuffed jalapeños. Of note: Customers carrying firearms receive a 10 percent discount. 18020 FM 529, Cypress, 832-893-1682; Hours: 11 a.m. till they sell out Wed.-Sun. NW

Burns Original BBQ: The classic East Texas-style barbecue served at this Acres Homes institution includes big, meaty pork spareribs and a killer chopped beef sandwich. Anthony Bourdain stopped by to film the Houston-focused episode of his CNN show “No Reservations.” 8307½ De Priest, 281-999-5559. NW

Corkscrew BBQ: Pitmaster Will Buckman’s classic Central Texas-style, all-natural prime brisket is among the best in the city. Pork spareribs are huge and perfectly cooked, and the smoked turkey is always a great choice. Really hungry? Try the Whole Hog, a monster sandwich topped with pulled pork, sliced sausage and spare ribs. Just know: if you arrive late, they may be out of what you’re craving. 26608 Keith, Spring, 832-592-1184; Hours: 11 a.m. till they sell-out. NE


Gatlin’s BBQ: When Greg Gatlin opened his joint in 2010 he brought back a craftsman approach to Houston barbecue with all-wood-burning smokers. What started as a ramshackle house in the Heights is now a contemporary location in a shopping center near Oak Forest. Don’t miss the sausage, old-school dirty rice (pungent with liver bits) and the peach cobbler. 3510 Ella, 713-869-4227; Hours: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5-9 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sat. NW

Goode Co. BBQ: Founded by late, legendary Houston restaurateur Jim Goode, the venerable location on Kirby Drive is known for superb Czech-style sausage, as well as a hot jalapeño pork sausage. Son Levi now presides over a menu whose other highlights include pork ribs and stellar sides - try the Jambalaya Texana (Tex-Cajun rice dish) and Austin baked beans. Use the jalapeño cheese bread to sop up Goode’s tangy barbecue sauce and don’t forget a slice of pecan pie. 5109 Kirby, 713-522-2530; Other locations at 8911 I-10 and 20102 U.S. 290. Inner Loop, W, NW

Jackson Street BBQ: A collaboration of chef Bryan Caswell (Reef, El Real) and pitmaster Greg Gatlin (Gatlin’s), this downtown barn of a barbecue joint has much to offer, including a full bar, smoked deviled eggs and outrageously good jalapeño cheddar biscuits, which are best paired with burnt ends. 209 Jackson, 713-224-2400; Hours: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Tue.-Sat., 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sun.-Mon. Inner Loop


Pappa Charlie’s: Smoked meatloaf seems like a no-brainer, but doing it well takes a deft touch. Pitmaster Wesley Jurena pulls it off. At his restaurant just east of downtown, he also uses a hot-and-fast cooking method to make top-notch brisket and ribs and soul-satisfying smoked turkey. The meatloaf is an occasional special, call ahead for availability. Another must-order: jalapeño boudin. 2012 Rusk, 281-650-1985; Hours: 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 11:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Sun. Inner Loop

Pinkerton’s Barbecue: This new restaurant from young pitmaster Grant Pinkerton is making a splash in the Heights. His offerings are emphatically Central Texas in style; colossal beef ribs, almost 2 pounds per bone, have a deliciously charred and crusty bark seasoned with salt and coarse ground pepper. Sides, including smoked duck jambalaya and a crisp coleslaw, are all made in-house. Desserts, too. Also on offer: craft cocktails and a list of wines meant to be paired with barbecue. 1504 Airline, 713-802-2000; Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Wed.-Thu. and Sun., 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Fri.-Sat. Inner Loop

Pizzitola’s Bar-B-Cue: The smoky ribs and planks of beef are good, but cross genres and try the fajita-style chicken complete with pinto beans, pico de gallo, cheese, sour cream and tortillas. 1703 Shepherd, 713-227-2283; Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Mon.-Sat. Inner Loop

Ray’s Real Pit BBQ Shack: This family owned spot smokes a great sausage, as well as boudin. They also serve seafood and burgers. 4529 Old Spanish Trail, 713-748-4227; Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Mon.-Sat. SE

Roegels Barbecue: Pitmaster Russell Roegels is solid on the basics: beef brisket, pork ribs and sausage. But it’s his daily specials that make his off-the-tourist-path restaurant worth the effort. Think smoky pork chops, pork belly and lamb chops. 2223 S. Voss, 713-977-8725; Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sun. W

Southern Q: Smoked turkey legs are a specialty on weekends here - a throwback to a traditional East Texas-style barbecue dish. Pitmaster Steve Garner has both the rich, fragrant boudin and the spicy, garlicky sausage links made to his recipe by a local butcher. Wife Sherice always offers a welcoming smile for guests. 16540 Kuykendahl, 832-250-4851; Hours: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Wed.-Sat., 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sun. N

The Brisket House: Pitmaster Wayne Kammerl is distinguished for the quality and consistency of his Central Texas-style ’cue served during both lunch and dinner - a rarity when many of the best joints sell out of meat and close up soon after lunch. The trinity here - brisket, pork ribs and locally-made sausage - is terrific. 5775 Woodway, 281-888-0331; 3217 Center, Deer Park, 281-884-8058; 3301 Cypress Creek Parkway, 832-286-1487; Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sun. W, SE, NW

The Pit Room: The three types of handmade sausage at this Montrose newbie may be the best in Houston: all-beef sausage loaded with mustard seeds and other spices; pork sausage with chunks of fresh jalapeño and melty cheese; and dense, smoky and peppery venison sausage. Thoughtful sides and condiments, as well as tacos with flour tortillas made in-house using fat collected from brisket trimmings. 1201 Richmond, 281-888-1929; Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. daily. Inner Loop