This article is presented by Southside Market & Barbeque.
Texas is known for mouth-watering brisket, sausage and other savory smoked meats. Some truly enticing barbecue joints have opened just in the past decade or so, like Snow’s in Lexington (est. 2003) and Franklin Barbecue (est. 2009).
However, these places are simply following in the footsteps of historic Texas barbecue joints. There’s something to be said for a barbecue joint that can stay in business for decades, consistently pleasing new generations of Texans. So if you want to go to a place that has a tradition forged when Texas was still new, head to one of these historic Texas barbecue destinations.
Southside Market & Barbeque – Elgin
Southside Market & Barbeque in Elgin is the oldest BBQ joint in Texas, and has a reputation far and wide for their delicious sausages and meats. At Southside you can eat authentic Texas barbecue in-store, or buy your own meat to cook up at home.
The business traces its roots back 135+ years to 1882 when founder William Moon went door-to-door selling meat to his neighbors. Moon opened his first brick-and-mortar location four years later as a butcher shop, and it’s been continuously operating ever since. The Bracewell family bought it in 1968. Pitmaster Bryan Bracewell currently owns and operates the business.
Southside Market & Barbeque also has a second location in Bastrop. You can buy their sausages at most H-E-B and Walmart stores. Southside also ships nationwide through their online store. Use the code WOM2017 to save 10% on any online purchase of $25 or more with no exclusions (Available until Dec. 31, 2017).
Kreuz Market – Lockhart
Originally opened as a grocery store in 1900, Kreuz Market has become one of the Lone Star State’s most beloved smokehouses. Kreuz is famous for their sauceless smoked meats that are eaten without forks or knives.
The Kreuz tradition of selling smoked meats on brown butcher paper hasn’t changed in the 117 years they’ve been operating. The business has been owned and operated by the Schmidt family since 1948 when it was bought by Kreuz employee Edgar Schmidt.
Patillo’s Bar-B-Q – Beaumont
Family owned since 1912, Beaumont’s Patillo’s Bar-B-Q is one of Texas’s longest running barbecue joints. The building itself has moved around Beaumont quite a bit, but it has always remained in the hands of Patillo family members. Patillo’s is renowned for their beef hot links that they call “Grease balls.”
Vitek’s BBQ – Waco
Vitek’s first opened their doors as a grocery store in 1915 in Granger. Vitek’s founder, William Martin Vitek was a butcher, so the barbecue business was a logical move. The business was handed down over the years, operating as a combination grocery store, butcher shop and lunch counter. Vitek’s grandson is the one who turned the grocery store into a full-time barbecue restaurant in the 1970’s.
Vitek’s is known for their “Gut Pak” which is a combination of Fritos, chopped brisket, sausage, beans, pickles, onions and jalapeños.
Black’s BBQ – Lockhart
Black’s is one of Texas’s best-known barbecue joints. The original Black’s location in Lockhart — Texas’ barbecue mecca — first opened in 1932. A second location recently opened in Austin. Four generations of the Black family have been cooking up barbecue to serve hungry Texans, and holding their own in Lockhart where barbecue competition is stiff.
Pizzitola’s BBQ – Houston
Pizzitola’s is a Houston barbecue staple, and the oldest in the city. Opened in 1935 by African American husband and wife couple John and Leila Davis, Pizzitola’s started began as Shepherd Drive Bar-B-Q. Jerry Pizzitola bought the location in the 1980’s and has been known by his last name ever since.
Today, pitmasters Carlton Gould, David Reynosa and Jose Estrad cook up the delicious ‘cue. Houstonians often head to Pizzitola’s for their perfectly cooked ribs and tender, juicy brisket.
Louie Mueller Barbecue – Taylor
Opened in 1949 in Taylor, Texas, Louie Mueller Barbecue has been referred to as “The Cathedral of Smoke.” The family tradition of delicious Texas barbecue at Louie Mueller is now in the hands of third-generation pitmaster Wayne Mueller, who learned the ropes from his Dad, Bobby Mueller.
Today, Louie Mueller makes their barbecue pretty much the same way they did when they first opened. Their brisket is arguably their most popular menu item.
Angelo’s BBQ – Fort Worth
Angelo’s first opened in 1958 with only four tables. Since then, the family-owned barbecue restaurant has flourished. Visitors to Angelo’s say they have the best barbecue and the coldest beer.
Angelo’s is currently on their third generation family pit master, and their famous smoked meats have been served in Paris, France and New York City.
Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Q – Llano
Opened in 1963, Cooper’s is reputed to be the favorite barbecue joint of former President (and former Governor of Texas) George W. Bush. Though the Llano location is probably the most popular, it’s not the first. The original Coopers was opened in 1953 in Mason, Texas.
George T. Cooper, the patriarch of the Cooper barbecue dynasty, started out smoking meat in a pit in the backyard of his Mason home in 1953. Tommy Cooper opened the Llano location 10 years later. Now, there are Cooper’s restaurants in multiple locations across the state.
Cooper’s is famous for “the big chop” which is a 2-inch thick mesquite smoked pork chop. The Llano Cooper’s has been owned by the Wootan family since 1992.
Central Texas Style Barbecue – Pearland
Central Texas Barbecue is one of the oldest continuously operating businesses in the Houston suburb of Pearland. Central Texas first opened their doors in 1969, and though newcomer Killen’s may have given them a run for their money of late, Central Texas is a staunch local favorite in the small city.
The meat at Central Texas is hickory smoked, and a special favorite is the banana pudding. The little barbecue joint has long been a supporter of the community, even offering free bread and clean water to people during Hurricane Harvey.