Texans looking for a tasty lunch or dinner have turned to Texas-style bbq joints more and more over the past decade. Every few years the barbecue experts at Texas Monthly turn their tastebuds to determining who the best joint in the state is. Their decisions in the past have ignited small brands to dominance with the exposure driving increased sales, tourism, and appearances on TV shows / Netflix specials. This year a new joint out of Fort Worth snagged the #1 spot, but how does each Texas region rank as a whole?
Now that the new list of the Top 50 BBQ joints in Texas is out, we wanted to break it down and examine where in Texas you’ll have the best time finding great barbecue.
Best Region based on Number of Ranked Joints
We only placed a bbq joint in the region it most closely aligns to. That means a joint in Dallas was placed in the DFW region even though it technically would qualify to be in both DFW and North Texas regions. Franklin in Austin is categorized in the Austin – Round Rock region though some might contend it could also be placed in the Texas Hill Country region. There were two bbq joints that ranked in the region around Corpus Christi and the southern portion of the Gulf Coast region but they reside in different Metropolitan Statistical Areas and there is no real formal name for this part of the Gulf Coast Region though some call it the Southern Gulf Coast or SGC. Every joint East of Austin and West of College Station was placed in the “Central Texas” region as was anything around Waco, TX. Finally we included Crockett, TX in the “East Texas” region though some East Texas publications claim Crockett is not located in East Texas.
- Dallas – Fort Worth – 12 ranked in the Top 50, 3 in the Top 10 (including the #1 bbq joint).
- Austin – Round Rock – 9 ranked in the Top 50, 3 in the Top 10.
- Houston Metro Region – 7 ranked in the Top 50, 1 in the Top 10.
- Central Texas – 5 ranked in the Top 50, 1 in the Top 10.
- San Antonio Metro Region – 4 ranked in the Top 50, 1 in the Top 10.
- Texas Hill Country – 3 ranked in the Top 50, 0 in the Top 10.
- Llano Estacado – 2 ranked in the Top 50, 1 in the Top 10.
- Rio Grande Valley – 2 ranked in the Top 50, 0 in the Top 10.
- East Texas – 2 ranked in the Top 50, 0 in the Top 10.
- Corpus Christi MSA – 1 ranked in the Top 50, 0 in the Top 10.
- El Paso – 1 ranked in the Top 50, 0 in the Top 10.
- Southeast Texas – 1 ranked in the Top 50, 0 in the Top 10.
- Victoria MSA – 1 ranked in the Top 50, 0 in the Top 10.
- West Texas – 1 ranked in the Top 50, 0 in the Top 10.
- Texas Panhandle – 0 ranked barbecue joints.
- North Texas – 0 ranked barbecue joints.
Fort Worth exploded onto this year’s list with 2 Top 10 finishes and a few extra joints from the area including Panther City BBQ, Dayne’s Craft Barbecue, Smoke-A-Holics BBQ, and Hurtado Barbecue over in Arlington, TX. Toss in a Top 10 finish for Cattleack BBQ in Farmers Branch, TX (Dallas area) along with Top 50 spots for Smokey Joe’s BBQ, Slow Bone, Terry Black’s Barbecue, Zavala’s Barbecue in Grand Prairie, and Hutchins BBQ in Frisco – and you get an absolutely stellar showing from the DFW region.
This means, whether you like it or not, that Dallas – Fort Worth is now the must go to region for Texas-style BBQ. Plan a weekend trip now!
Featured image via Hurtado Barbecue‘s Facebook page as embedded above
updated 10/31/2021 – a previous version of this article omitted “Zavala’s Barbecue” from the DFW region in error. Thanks to Kamal Heikal (@thehungryheikal on Instagram) for pointing out this error.