Reviews

Opie’s Barbecue

The prime rib at Opie’s is so tender you almost feel sorry for it. How will it protect itself? It lacks the brisket’s seasoned black bark, the baby back ribs’ sweet, chewy crust, or the all-pork jalapeño sausage’s threatening heat. Also try the tater tot casserole and the homemade, bigger-than-a-child’s-head cookies. Sauce is smoked in a pot alongside the meats, giving it an unusual mesquite-infused bite.

Pappy’s Bar BQ

The mesquite-smoked brisket was well seasoned and tender, and the sliced German sausage was slightly sweet and spicy. But the real winners at this rustic locale, decorated with vintage posters for old cowboy flicks, were the sides. Green beans sprinkled with garlic, onion, and bacon and not-too-chunky potato salad with thinly sliced carrots were a perfect reward for a long day of driving. Opt for a square of cornbread instead of a slice of white…

Tom and Bingo’s Hickory Pit Bar-B-Que

For more than fifty years, this boxy luncheonette has turned out sliced- and chopped-beef sandwiches as good as you’ll ever eat, plus smoked-ham sandwiches and smoked burgers. That’s all, but that’s enough. The brisket, cooked for sixteen to eighteen hours in a well-worn brick pit, is lean and succulent, with a char that crunches slightly. Grill-warmed buns are brushed with a thinner, more red-peppery version of the mild house sauce.

Snow’s BBQ

A small wood-frame restaurant, open only on Saturdays and only from eight in the morning until whenever the meat runs out, usually around noon, Snow’s is remarkable not only for the quality of its ’cue—“outlandishly tender brisket, fall-apart-delicious chicken”—but for the unlikeliness of its story. The genius behind this meat is a petite, energetic woman named Tootsie Tomanetz, who’s been smoking since 1967, when she ran the pits at City Meat Market, in Giddings. She…

Smitty’s Market

Don’t bother going in the front door. You’ll end up in the parking lot behind the boxy brick building anyway, doing the Smitty’s shuffle: At peak hours, the lines invariably stretch out the back door. Patiently, you inch your way forward, passing the waist-high brick pits and perusing the list of post oak–smoked meats (brisket, pork ribs and chops, shoulder clod, sausage, prime rib). Salivating, you finally place your order for a pound or so…

City Meat Market

This friendly shop with blackened walls has been going strong for more than sixty years, and the locals swear by it. Though the brisket was average the day we went, everything else was excellent—pork, sausage, and chicken, all smoked with post oak in an iron-lined and tile-covered brick pit.

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