Jun 21, 2017
June has been barbecue month at Texas Monthly. After a four-year wait (and thousands of miles and hundreds of joints), our new Top 50 BBQ joint list was finally released. It’s been a good month for both the magazine and—we hope—those who made the barbecue list. For some who didn’t, the month probably began with some disappointment.
“Ouch,” was the one-word text I got from Jason Dady, co-owner of Two Bros. BBQ in San Antonio, the morning the list dropped. I’d shared drinks with him and his brother Jake at the Hot Luck Festival—Aaron Franklin’s food and music festival in Austin—three days earlier. A bite of smoked pork belly from their pitmaster Laura Loomis was one of the most memorable of the weekend, but the list was already set, without Two Bros. on it. Before our top picks went out into the world, Wesley Jurena began telling his customers at Pappa Charlie’s Barbeque in Houston not to be disappointed. The photographers hadn’t stopped by and the fact-checking calls hadn’t come in. He knew it wasn’t his year.
I’ve told plenty of folks that this year’s list is the best one we’ve ever published, not only because of who is on it, but because of who isn’t. Ultimately, it hurt to put some of my favorite barbecue joints to visit on the wrong side of fifty—which is only a testament to the greatness of Texas ‘cue at this moment in time. Jurena took it in stride and officially designated Pappa Charlie’s as number 51. (He even designed a Pappa Charlie’s jersey with 51 on the back of it as a joke—no word on current availability.) As for me, I can’t say there was one barbecue joint that was the last to come off the list. So as far as I’m concerned, these are all tied for the fifty-first slot.
18th & Vine BBQ; Dallas
There’s a big dinner menu with plenty of fancy flourishes, but I usually find myself here for lunch. The fried okra is the best I’ve had in Texas, and the burnt ends are better than any you’ll find in Kansas City. A guilty pleasure is a brisket grilled cheese called “The Lester.” Go bigger by asking them to make it with burnt ends for an upcharge.
Black’s BBQ; Lockhart
The legendary joint in the most legendary barbecue town in Texas recently lost its patriarch Edgar Black Jr. He solidified the 85-year legacy of Black’s BBQ in Texas that has found more recent fame in their enormous beef ribs. No Lockhart trip is complete without a stop here.
Kerlin Barbecue; Austin
The little food truck that could. Sandwiched between two Austin giants, La Barbecue and the Veracruz All Natural taco truck, it could get lost in the mix, but they smoke excellent brisket and serve what may be the best pork ribs in Austin. It’s hard to beat the sides too, especially the smoked corn.
King’s Hwy Brew & Q; San Antonio
There’s a real sense of San Antonio flavor here with barbecue tacos and tortas, and even carne guisada. It’s the logical combination of barbecue and Tex-Mex that we don’t see often enough. One bite of the brisket torta can convince you of its genius.
Kolacny Bar-B-Q; Hallettsville
It’s a time warp at this small-town Saturday and Sunday operation. The Kolacnys cook in the old style over direct heat, and their homemade sausages are smoked on site. It’s all good, but the pork steak is the prize. Plan ahead and arrive early or call in your order to make sure you get fed.
Opie’s Barbecue; Spicewood
This place serves consistent, quality barbecue to a whole lot of folks. The sweet and spicy baby backs have a reputation of their own, but so do the butter beans. Seth Glaser keeps the pits humming, and the brisket’s smoky and tender.
Pappa Charlie’s Barbeque; Houston
They have fun with barbecue, dubbing their brand of experimentation “goofy-cue.” There was an off-menu Butterfinger brisket the other day. A little less goofy is the bacon-wrapped meat loaf. Still, the standards like brisket and pork ribs are some of the most flavorful bites of smoked meat in town.
The Slow Bone; Dallas
I’ve eaten more meals here than nearly any other barbecue joint. When someone comes in from out of town wanting to meet over barbecue, this is my choice because they have so much more than great smoked meats (see: smoke-brined fried chicken).
Two Bros. BBQ Market; San Antonio
The photo on the cover of my book about Texas barbecue is a tray of meat from Two Bros. BBQ. Pitmaster Laura Loomis is a rising star in Texas barbecue, and the meat has maintained great quality under her watch. It will only get better.
Southside Market; Elgin
The oldest barbecue joint in Texas isn’t happy resting on its historic status. Owner Bryan Bracewell continues to improve the quality of the barbecue while keeping an eye on tradition with their famous hot guts. The lamb ribs and the pork steaks are the underrated cuts here.
Source: Texas Monthly
Author: Daniel Vaughn
The Oyler Pit revolutionized the art and science of barbecue when it was first introduced in 1968. J&R has been refining this extraordinary pit for decades and chefs consider it the finest barbecue pit in the world.
What’s the secret to the longevity and popularity of the amazing oven? Many theories abound. Some feel the natural purity of the fuel, the “ferris wheel” rotisserie action, the constant basting, or the unique air, smoke, and humidity control features account for the mouth-watering result. Other culinary experts contend that the miraculous meat results from it being “massaged” as it passes through alternate temperature zones while it revolves. This debate may rage for many more decades, but the diners who love their barbeque don’t really care. They just want more!
With the Oyler E Models, the company adds safe and clean electrical energy to assist the wood fire, using electrical resistance elements. There is no flavor tainting or explosion hazard with these electrical elements. It simply and dramatically reduces wood usage while preserving the character of what barbecue purists everywhere credit as being the best pit in the world.
If you are going to be in the business of barbecue, please do it right! The Oyler defines authenticity. We use wood to cook the meat, we do not use gas. In fact,we hate the idea of using gas in a barbecue pit. Your customers will notice the difference.
The Oyler maintains precise temperature control, unattended for up to 14 hours, by using a unique air control system.
So well designed and insulated, you will be amazed to experience how little wood is required to cook big loads of barbecue.
The Oyler was the first (and remains the only) wood fired barbecue pit to receive the Underwriter’s Laboratories Listing for safety. We have gone to great lengths to make the Oyler safe. It even earned the coveted “zero clearance to combustibles” installation specification.
Speaking of big loads, the Oyler can handle your high volume demands. The Model 700 can cook 1000 pounds per load and the Model 1300 can cook 1800 pounds!
Large dampers operate automatically when the front doors are opened to direct the smoke rearward and out the stack rather than into your face.
The Oyler is the most “forgiving” piece of cooking equipment you will ever use. You will not need an experienced “pit man” to turn out great barbecue. The front doors are huge, allowing easy loading, unloading, and removal of racks for cleaning. The fire is easy to start, and due to our design, the live coals in the firebox last 72 hours! That means for most customers the fire only has to be started once! As long as you cook once every three days, fire starting is simply a matter of scooping out a few ashes and adding fresh wood.
|700*||56"W X 104"D X 79"H||18-17" X 42"||120V/8A|
|1300*||67"W X 120"D X 88"H||18-18" X 54"||120V/8A|
|1000 LBS||216 SLABS||144 SLABS||324 HALVES|
|1800 LBS||360 SLABS||288 SLABS||432 HALVES|
*E Models Same size and rack configuration 240V/70A