Texas Monthly Staff

TM_CoopersFood_2013

Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que

Texas is in the midst of a barbecue renaissance, an age of smoky enlightenment. One need only sample the goods at new-guard establishments like Franklin Barbecue, in Austin, or Pecan Lodge, in Dallas, to realize it. Yet in the face of all this newfangled excitement, Cooper’s continues to soldier on—an intrepid old-timer, a barbecue stalwart that has appeared on every single one of these lists. If it ain’t broke, as the saying goes, don’t fix it…

FC_HaysCoMeat

Hays Co. Bar-B-Que and Catering

Longtime San Marcosans may recall this place as the former home of Woody’s, a barbecue joint that opened in 1984. It was taken over in 2007 by the Hernandez family, and in 2011 they changed the name to Hays Co. Bar-B-Que and Catering. Last we checked, this venue does welcome customers who are not Bobcat fans, but a Bobcat booster would certainly feel at home amid all the Texas State decor. While we waited in…

FC_ZimmerPit

Zimmerhanzel’s BBQ

Only a few folks were eating lunch when we arrived in this small, well-lit room decorated with mounted deer, but since we had seen the massive pits outside and the piles of post oak, we speculated that a good meal was ahead. We were right. The fat on the brisket wasn’t as rendered as it could have been, but the thick cuts had a quarter-inch smoke ring and a rich flavor and didn’t require a…

FC_OpiesMeat

Opie’s Barbecue

Upon walking through Opie’s front door you will immediately be confronted by a gleaming black metal box. If it’s your first visit, you’ll probably think to yourself that this behemoth is a little too clean and a little too showy to contain top-quality barbecue. But just wait until the lid is lifted, and you’ll begin to quiver a bit in the presence of a beautiful bounty of meaty goodness. Opie’s, like Cooper’s, is a pick-your-meat-from-the-show-pit…

TM_CorkscrewTrailer

Corkscrew BBQ

Set among a relentless suburban grid of drab brown-and-gray strip malls north of Houston, Corkscrew BBQ’s riotous pink-and-black mini-campus of trailers and smoke shacks stands out like a Longhorn in College Station. This is appropriate, however, considering that Corkscrew represents a new generation of barbecue in Houston. Pitmaster Will Buckman smokes his brisket with a clear Central Texas influence—for up to twelve hours using only red oak, resulting in heavy smoke penetration and crusty, char-y salt-and-pepper…

TM_BigBoysSign

Big Boy’s Bar-B-Que

The exceptional thing to note about Big Boy’s Bar-B-Que is the fact that it exists at all. Located in a caliche lot along a desolate road in Sweetwater next to a bowling alley turned bar, Big Boy’s has the feel of an oasis—or a mirage. Blink and it might disappear. But Big Boy’s isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it was Harold’s, the venerable joint forty miles up the interstate in Abilene, that disappeared, back in…