Joseph’s Riverport Barbecue

201 N. Polk
Jefferson, TX 75657

Phone: 903-665-2341
Hours: Tue–Sat 11–7, Sun 11–2

Opened 1993
Pitmaster Stephen Joseph
Method Post oak; indirect-heat pit
Pro Tip The Swamp Fries best all other cheese fries.

TMBBQ Rating: 4.5

Texas Monthly BBQ Top 50


Comments from our joint finder app.
Good brisket--thick moist slices. Crust was thin and not crunchy with less smoke layers than you see in central Texas BBQ. Sausage had a great taste/consistency even without the snap of skin. Potato salad--good, homemade. BBQ beans...ho-hum, canned maybe? 2 meat plate is a lot to eat. 1/2 swamp fries will be a to-go! Overall a good stop!
bbqueen @ Joseph’s Riverport Barbeque, 2013-11-14 16:24:26
One of best in all of Texas. Stands out even more in East Texas.
Robert Lerma @ Joseph’s Riverport Barbeque, 2013-06-28 18:55:50
East Texas finally has a quality bbq spot. Stephen does magic with that Bewley smoker and brisket. The fatty brisket is the best I've ever had in East Texas, and ranks right up there with the rest of the state. Go support this place; it's worthy of all the praise, and he's a super nice guy, too!
cristian @ Joseph’s Riverport Barbeque, 2013-06-20 01:47:31
Super moist brisket. Pork rib tasted of wild boar but tasted good.
John Brotherton @ Joseph’s Riverport Barbeque, 2013-06-10 15:30:29
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May 15, 2013

A devastating fire in 2012 destroyed all but the thin brick facade of this joint, which faces Polk Street in downtown Jefferson. But once the flames were extinguished, owner and pitmaster Stephen Joseph started rebuilding, and seven months later he was christening the new Bewley smoker. The refurbished interior is now decorated with all manner of farm implements and just enough but not too many mounted animal heads. Place your order at the far end of a long dining room, which is filled with large communal tables and folding chairs.

Meats are sliced in the kitchen, but the meat cutters are within shouting distance if you have special requests. A generous three-meat plate should be more than enough, but they sell by the pound here, so it just seemed more proper to get a sampling of the entire menu of meats. Joseph’s offers a welcome respite from the unfortunate regional practice of trimming away all the fat and crust from a brisket and serving it gray and sauce-drenched—all the goodness is left on here, and sauce is unnecessary. A stout black crust held just the right amount of seasoning, and a layer of buttery fat added silkiness to the already moist slices. Pork ribs occupy the sweeter end of the spectrum, with a vinegar-and-mustard-based finishing glaze that gets its sweetness from brown sugar. They’re cooked well, with juicy meat that comes easily away from the bone. The sausage from Kountry Boys had a solid kick of spices and a good snap. The skin on the chicken lacked crunch, while the turkey had formed an odd thin “skin” of its own (Joseph said he struggled with getting the breasts done before the unfortunate surface texture developed). In both cases the meat beneath was delectable, with the right level of salt. This is barbecue that’s on another level from most of what can be found in this part of the state.