Nathan’s BBQ

1309 Prairie Lea St.
Brenham, TX 77833

Phone: (979) 251-9900
Hours: M-Sat 11-9, Sun 11-8
Website: nathansbbq.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Nathans-BBQ-The-Original-Big-Daddys/173414346041119

Opened 1994 (as Big Daddy's BBQ)
Pitmaster Nathan Winkleman
Method Direct heat over charcoal and pecan

TMBBQ Rating: 3.25

TMBBQ Buzz

Comments from our joint finder app.
Tasty but just slightly above average. Brisket flavorful but no bark or visible smoke ring. Chopped pork moist but a little bland. Out of baked potatoes at 6pm on a Tuesday? Huh. Glad we stopped but won't be planning return expeditions.
Ed Dravecky @ Big Jake’s Bar-B-Que, 2014-09-02 23:43:12
Beef so tender it's difficult to keep in the fork
Bill coons @ Mumphord’s Place, 2014-09-02 18:09:44
Plenty of food!! Ribs are great, brisket was a little on the dry side. Sausage had a heavy pork flavor that I liked but may not be for everyone!
Caleb Barnett @ Loco Coyote Café, 2014-09-02 12:19:49
Brisket is really good and tender! Has great smoky flavor. This place also has a butcher!
Nathaniel Cox @ Vincek’s Smokehouse, 2014-08-31 18:30:40
The hunt for the best barbecue continues with the second joint today. This is a small victory as I have always wanted to hit more than one restaurant on the Texas Monthly Top 50 BBQ establishments in a single day. Billy's Old Fashion Barbecue happens to be number 9. I have a hair less than four years to visit the other 41 before the list is updated. I have my work cut out for me as these places are as far at 500 miles from home. I wasn't hungry when we rolled into Jasper, but I was here to eat barbecue. I knew I wanted brisket and when we found the dilapidated restaurant, I knew we were going to experience some magic. I chose the sliced brisket sandwich. I wasn't expecting this monstrosity as it was quite large. Topped with pickles and onions, this sauce soaked sandwich was perfect. I only wish I had ordered the sauce on the side. The sauce was decent, but I came for the meat. The sliced brisket was very nice. It was juicy and the fat was rendered beautifully. It was a bit toothsome, but it certainly wasn't tough. I had forgotten to ask for untrimmed meat, so I was pleased when I saw that the crusty bark was intact. The meat had a mild flavor. Not too much smoke, and it wasn't overpowered with seasoning. It was a simple, beefy masterpiece. At only 2 1/2 hours from home, I can see myself loading up the family for a nice meaty adventure. This is easily a 4.0/5.0. Well done, Texas Monthly. This BBQ doesn't disappoint.
Theodore Luoma @ Billy’s Old Fashion BBQ, 2014-08-31 01:12:51
It has been a few months since I was able to hunt for some good Texas BBQ. It is a bit of a tradition that my oldest daughter, Alli, and I enjoy. I'm not a hunter, so we aren't likely to go kill deer as we spend time together, but we have our own game we like to track down. We decided to have lunch at the Hitch-N-Post in Livingston, TX. It's 3 1/2 hours from home so we had time to work up an appetite. We both ordered untrimmed fatty brisket which in my estimation, is the best tasting meat. I usually try the sausage as well, but we are planning an early supper at another BBQ place and I don't want to gorge myself. The brisket, though cooked, could probably have used another four hours in the smoker to completely render the fat and make the meat fork tender. I actually had to use a knife to cut the meat. There was a beautiful smoke ring and a decent crust, but I was hoping for a denser crust. Then again, this ain't Lockhart. The beans were good, but they were punched up canned beans. The potato salad probably came from Brookshire Brothers, but I came for the meat. The sides are just a bonus. Apparently, the proprietor has a policy to give free cake to first time customers. He was a really nice BBQ enthusiast as he asked if I had tried Snow's in Lexington. Then he started showing me pictures of BBQ joints on his phone. The ambience was a schlockfest with old tricycles dangling from the ceiling and tiki umbrellas reminiscent of Gilligan's Island. It was enjoyable soaking it in while I soaked up sauce with my bread. The food was good. I would rate it a 3.0/5.0, but with the outstanding service and friendly atmosphere, I rate it a solid 3.5. Hitch-N-Post is definitely worth a visit if you are in the area.
Theodore Luoma @ Hitch-N-Post BBQ, 2014-08-30 18:24:06
It has been a few months since I was able to hunt for some good Texas BBQ. It is a bit of a tradition that my oldest daughter, Alli, and I enjoy. I'm not a hunter, so we aren't likely to go kill deer as we spend time together, but we have our own game we like to track down. We decided to have lunch at the Hitch-N-Post in Livingston, TX. It's 3 1/2 hours from home so we had time to work up an appetite. We both ordered untrimmed fatty brisket which in my estimation, is the best tasting meat. I usually try the sausage as well, but we are planning an early supper at another BBQ place and I don't want to gorge myself. The brisket, though cooked, could probably have used another four hours in the smoker to completely render the fat and make the meat fork tender. I actually had to use a knife to cut the meat. There was a beautiful smoke ring and a decent crust, but I was hoping for a denser crust. Then again, this ain't Lockhart. The beans were good, but they were punched up canned beans. The potato salad probably came from Brookshire Brothers, but I came for the meat. The sides are just a bonus. Apparently, the proprietor has a policy to give free cake to first time customers. He was a really nice BBQ enthusiast as he asked if I had tried Snow's in Lexington. Then he started showing me pictures of BBQ joints on his phone. The ambience was a schlockfest with old tricycles dangling from the ceiling and tiki umbrellas reminiscent of Gilligan's Island. It was enjoyable soaking it in while I soaked up sauce with my bread. The food was good. I would rate it a 3.0/5.0, but with the outstanding service and friendly atmosphere, I rate it a solid 3.5. Hitch-N-Post is definitely worth a visit if you are in the area.
Theodore Luoma @ Hitch-N-Post BBQ, 2014-08-30 18:24:05
Third in line pound of lean got two ends and a sausage PERFECTION worth the drive ft worth good food good folks
doug_wallace @ Louie Mueller Barbecue, 2014-08-30 15:38:00
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Review

September 3, 2013

State Highway 290 runs right through the middle of Brenham, Texas, a town know more for ice cream than smoked meats. Its location makes it a perfect mid-point stop for road trips between Houston and Austin. Living in Dallas I don’t travel this route much so I made a point to go to Brenham in a very round-about trip from Bryan to Lexington. I figured this town had more than just ice cream.

Nathans front

I hadn’t heard much about Nathan’s. I’ve gotten exactly one recommendation to go there. It was back in 2010 when they were finishing up renovations on the small convenience store barbecue shop that was then called Big Daddy’s. There was an issue with a competitor using the same name, so Big Daddy Nathan Winkleman renamed the place Nathan’s BBQ when it reopened in late 2010. Since then the word is that Adam Richman from the Travel Channel’s Man vs. Food was filming there in June of last year, but nothing featuring the restaurant has aired yet. The renovated building is pretty massive for a convenience store. From the street you’ll see the gas pumps and the Buccaneer Food Store entrance. On the back side of the building is a rustic canopy and a huge wooden door leading into Nathan’s BBQ.

Service is cafeteria style with a pretty standard menu. I was intrigued by “The Chop”, a behemoth pork chop similar to the famous Big Chop at Cooper’s, but I couldn’t get it on a combo plate. It all worked out when they just let me purchase it by weight to go along with my brisket and ribs. Although I could have purchased a bottle of Texas wine from the Buccaneer store and drank it in the restaurant with my meal, I was driving so I opted to get my order to go.

Nathans chop 1

Nathans chop 2

The Chop was certainly massive. It was cut almost an inch thick. The flavor was of grilled meat, much like Cooper’s, but there was more to it. The flavor wasn’t that familiar from my trips through Texas, but the smell reminded me of the many charcoal burning barbecue joints in Memphis. Nathan’s uses oak lump charcoal from B&B along with a few sticks of pecan wood. Other than the now closed Que Shack in Marlin, I hadn’t seen anyone using almost exclusively charcoal in Texas. The resulting flavor was great, but at 4:00 in the afternoon the meat was starting to dry out. My guess is it would give Cooper’s chop a run for its money around the noon hour.

Nathans combo

The brisket didn’t do so well over the direct heat. There wasn’t anything offensive about it, but it wasn’t high on flavor or moisture. It would be better served in a sandwich with some of their thick sauce. Both the beans and potato salad were above average, but it was late in the day and I was running low on stomach space. After a few bites I went straight for the ribs, and what a difference. The charcoal heat did wonders on the bark which was generously seasoned with salt and black pepper. I mentioned that this was mid-afternoon, so finding ribs this moist without being over-tender was a surprise. It all made sense when I found a promotional video on their website. Owner Nathan Winkleman says “When the day is done my ribs are going to be right.” Neither the brisket nor The Chop gets a mention, but as long as the ribs are this good Nathan’s is worth a visit.

Comments

  • KinneyandElise Mitchell

    This is our favorite bbq place in Texas. The ribs are amazing! I also always get the sliced pork. We will drive 3 hours 1 way to eat at Nathans, it is that good. We have eaten at 1,000′s of bbq places, but this is the best!