Reviews

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.

Burns Bar-B-Que Cooking and Catering

There’s always a line at this clapboard take-out shack. Plump, pink pork ribs, cooked over post oak in a steel pit for four hours, were irresistible. Smoky brisket was fall-apart tender. Commercially made beef-and-pork links tasted decidedly uncommercial. The sauce was tangy, good for dipping ribs and links. The sole sides were mustardy potato salad and saucy beans, both made with care.

Louie Mueller Barbecue

Forty-nine years of post oak coals in the pit have smoke-cured the building, which previously housed a ladies’ basketball court and a grocery market. Louie moved in with his barbecue business in 1959; his son, Bobby, took over more than three decades ago, but not a thing has suffered from the change of hands or the progression of time. Rather, the soot-covered green paint, high ceilings, and aging business cards on the wall have elevated…

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