Texas Monthly Staff

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…

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…

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…

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…

Stanley’s Famous Pit Barbecue

Owner Nick Pencis isn’t going to take it anymore. For years he felt compelled by regional tastes to serve lightly seasoned briskets without a speck of fat on them. But when he renovated his restaurant in 2012 (adding a new bar and patio along with an impressive pit room), a few of the menu items got a makeover as well. The brisket now receives a more aggressive dusting of salt and coarse black pepper, and…

Mumphord’s Place BBQ

The minute you park, you’ll be drawn like a moth to the glowing fireboxes and pits in the screened-in shed out back. That’s where the action is—and frankly, we wondered how the pitmaster gets any work done, he’s so busy posing for pictures with guests and explaining to newbies how it all works. This is “cowboy-style” barbecue, where the wood is burned to coals, then transferred to large metal pits in which the meat is…