Texas Monthly Staff

Kirby’s Barbecue

Kirby’s is a living testament to the adage, “Teach your children well.” Owner and pitmaster Kirby Hyden learned to smoke meats from his father, who learned from his father, and this family know-how proves to be a rich inheritance. In 1960 Hyden’s grandfather opened a joint called Holloway’s in a tiny building on the north side of town (his dad also opened a joint, in Groesbeck, in the late seventies). Hyden took over Holloway’s in…

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Hutchins BBQ

Last June, after a one-alarm blaze left their pit room in shambles and their business on hold, the father-son team of Roy and Tim Hutchins began to rebuild. They documented the process on Facebook, offering reports from the construction site and musing about the psyche of the Texas barbecue purveyor (“A brisket sandwich was the very first thing I thought of when I woke up,” read one 6:34 a.m. post in early October). Finally, on…

Pitmaster Bennie Washington with his son and grandaughter

Whup’s Boomerang Bar-B-Que

You’ll smell Whup’s long before you see it, and despite signage and GPS, you’ll probably miss the left turn that you have to make from Business State Highway 6. This cozy joint is not so much off the beaten the path as on it: a small, tidy house on a potholed dogleg road that’s dotted with condemned, deteriorating shacks. Not so the home of Bennie Washington’s sister, which is next door to his restaurant and…

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City Market

There are few places we love as much as the pit room at City Market. Entering the smoke-filled, glass-enclosed chamber at the back of the dining room is an experience you will remember for decades—a trip into an iconic, sacred space in the world of barbecue. Like Kreuz Market and Smitty’s Market, in Lockhart, this joint has been a mainstay in our top tier for years, and while we’d still recommend a visit, the tough,…

Pitmaster Roy Perez

Kreuz Market

We wanted to keep this renowned spot at the top of our list, where it’s been since our very first barbecue story, in 1973. But after repeated visits by various staffers, we had to be honest: we couldn’t. The brisket was consistently disappointing. The scanty fat on the “fatty” was opaque and sinewy, the meat looked like shredded wheat, and the smoke was noticeably lacking on one visit too many. The shoulder clod was tender,…

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Black’s Barbecue

Black’s has little in common with the more publicized Kreuz or Smitty’s other than that they are all in the same town. Instead of a mesmerizing encounter with a picturesque fire blazing at the end of an ancient brick pit like you’ll find at Smitty’s, at Black’s you’re funneled through a narrow corridor past an anticlimactic salad bar. But when you finally reach the meat counter, you’ll find the most important difference between Black’s and…