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Houston’s 10 Best Barbecue Spots

From New Truths to Pearland Pioneers to Old Classics

BY // 05.30.19

Texas is a tough state — one you definitely don’t want to mess with. Especially not when it comes to its signature cuisines, which Texans treasure above all else. You’d better bite your tongue before ever saying a word about our Tex-Mex — or even worse, our barbecue.

Barbecue is a point of pride in the Lone Star State, with each and every joint entrusted with the noble honor of trying to elevate a holy staple. And the uber-successful ones even put new twists on old classics.

The Houston smoked meat scene has been seriously heating up over the last few years, with more and more joints getting national notice.

If you’re not quite sure where to start, don’t worry. PaperCity’s new list of Houston’s Top 10 Barbecue Spots covers the entire Bayou City region, from Montrose to Cypress and beyond. These are hands-down, barbecue must visits.

But don’t take our word for it. Head out for your own adventure — and make sure you get there early before these hotspots start selling out of their mighty meats.

Truth BBQ

110 South Heights Boulevard

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January 20th, 2019 was the moment of truth — the very day hotly anticipated Truth BBQ threw open its doors. The cherished Brenham smokehouse had arrived after an almost two-year wait, and it didn’t disappoint.

Throngs of barbecue lovers flocked to the spot, especially since the original joint had landed a Top 10 ranking in Texas Monthly’s Top 50 Barbecue Joints list. They waited in long lines to sink their teeth into spare ribs, 18-hour smoked brisket, house-made sausage and pulled-to-order Duroc pork. And Houston’s barbecue scene has never been quite the same.

truth bbq photo
Truth BBQ has a cult following for good reason. 

Feges BBQ

3 Greenway Plaza

This hidden food court barbecue wonderland made a splash as soon as it opened, thanks to its combo of mighty meats and innovative, even healthy sides dishes.Who  had ever seen a pile of ribs flanked with Moroccan spiced carrots and sweet potato and banana mashers before?

Feges’ acclaim has spread far beyond the Houston area. The joint snagged a spot on Texas Monthly’s Top 25 New Barbecue Joints in Texas as well. It’s no wonder Feges regularly sells out of its smoked meats and vibrant veggies in its untraditional Greenway Plaza locale.

The Pit Room

1201 Richmond Avenue

Central Texas-style cookin’ springs to life at this Montrose mainstay. The pint-sized Pit Room is as rustic as it gets, drawing crowds of the hungry and hangry alike to its cozy patio.

Wind your way through the line to get your tray, weighed down with hefty helpings of pork ribs, brisket and an array of house-made sausages — Czech-style beef, jalapeno cheddar pork and black pepper garlic venison. Make sure you stay for the loaded Frito pie, piled high with your choice of chopped beef or pulled pork.

the pit room
You can find all the meats at The Pit Room.

Blood Bros. BBQ

5425 Bellaire Boulevard

This Bellaire barbecue hot spot unsurprisingly made the cut for Texas Monthly’s Top 25 New Barbecue Joints in Texas. Just a few meats in, you’ll find the flavors that truly make this place a standout — with Asian and Cajun at the forefront. Like Chinese-spiced brisket fried rice, green curry boudin and smoked turkey banh mis.

You can take it all in at a picnic table on the patio, your own little slice of barbecue heaven, even though you’re surrounded by strip malls. Brothers Robin and Terry Wong, plus pitmaster Quy Hoang, definitely keep things interesting. And always have — Chris Shepherd himself invited Hoang to spice things up at a barbecue pop-up behind Underbelly back in the day.

Pinkerton’s Barbecue

1504 Airline Drive

It doesn’t get more classic than Pinkerton’s Barbecue, a home away from home for all of you out there salivating over barbecue just like your grandpa used to make it. That is, if your grandpa cooked on offset wood-burning pits.

Pinkerton’s blend of sun-dried mesquite and aged post oak yields delicious results, from prime brisket to glazed and dry pork ribs. The sides are so good — think duck jambalaya and homemade cole slaw — that you’ll want to take them home with you. No worries, you certainly can.

pinkerton’s barbecue sandwich
Pinkerton’s barbecue sandwich is a beauty.

Gatlin’s BBQ

3510 Ella Boulevard

What does the average Houstonian have in common with the cast of The Real Housewives of Atlanta? An undying love for Gatlin’s BBQ — and honestly, hopefully nothing else. The divas hit up the barbecue classic in January of 2018, unable to resist brisket fries and smoked corn.

Gatlin’s has truly blown up, moving from its set-up in a modest home to its shining space with 4,000-plus square feet. All the better for ordering up crazy-good baby back ribs, fried catfish and more. Come for the much-deserved hype, stay for the lemon butter pound cake.

Triple J’s Smokehouse BBQ

6715 Homestead Road

Northeast Houston noms are satisfied — and then some — at Triple J’s, which has been proudly serving Space City since 1994. And it’s not just the tasty smoked meats that make this place a winner. Think burgers and potatoes galore.

What’s better than a slab of ribs and a half-chicken? Not much, but a double decker sandwich with big mac and beef and bread in the middle, a sausage mashed potato and bacon cheddar burger might just be the answer.

CorkScrew BBQ

26608 Keith Street

It’s definitely BYOB at CorkScrew out in Old Town Spring, but never fear — that last ‘B’ stands for beverages, not barbecue. Their goodies sell out consistently, so you’d better get there early and perhaps wait in a 30 or more minute line to savor the moist, tender brisket and jalapeno pork sausage.

The melt-in-your-mouth meats are more than worth a half hour in line. Tangy barbecue sauce and that smoke ring flavor truly make for an authentic Lone Star State barbecue experience.

Pappa Charlies Barbeque

26510 Hempstead Road

You may have to trek out to Cypress to try out Pappa Charlies, but once you bite into the mouth-watering boudin, turkey breast and pork ribs, you’ll be in such a daze you’ll have forgotten you even drove out there.

The new digs are the perfect setting to tuck in and take it all in, starting with a local craft brew and maybe even skillet brisket queso or the chicken Diablo, wrapped in grilled bacon and topped with raspberry chipotle sauce.

pappa charlies bbq
Pappa Charlies BBQ is thriving in its new digs.

Killen’s Barbecue

3613 East Broadway Street

This Pearland barbecue paradise wows over and over again, thanks to Ronnie Killen’s mix of smoked meats and Tex-Mex staples. Sure, you can get a kick-ass pound of bone-in beef short rib or a three-meat plate with pulled pork, and more, but that’s just the tip of the barbecue iceberg.

Think barbecue brisket tacos, chicken fried ribeyes, smoked short rib tamales and beyond. And if you happened to bring a guest who may not be into that barbecue life — not that we could ever understand why — there’s even a stellar Caesar salad on the menu.

Home, chic home.

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