Virgie’s Bar-B-Que

5535 N. Gessner
Houston, TX 77041

Phone: 713-466-6525
Hours: Tue 11-€“2, Wed-€“Fri 11-€“6:30, Sat 11-€“5:30
Website: virgiesbbq.com

Opened 2005
Pitmaster Adrian Handsborough
Method Oak; indirect-heat pit
Pro Tip Virgie's is named for Handsborough's mom, who taught him the art of smoking.

TMBBQ Rating: 4

Texas Monthly BBQ Top 50

More Reviews

May 15, 2013

The brawny pork ribs that emerge from the big metal smoker set a standard for the genre. They are massive, pink, and delicious, their meat lightly clinging to the bone until you grab a bite with your teeth and give a light tug. A heavy, salty-peppery crust, without a trace of sweetness, lends depth of flavor to each piggy bite. There is no way to be genteel when consuming these monsters, so pile up some…

May 21, 2008

Three-plus years ago, Adrian Handsborough converted the neighborhood convenience store his mom, Virgie, ran for 35 years and began cooking over oak and pecan in two small barrels. His brisket, only a tad fatty, smokes for ten to fourteen hours; we could cut ours with a plastic fork. Well-seasoned pork ribs boasted a generous meat-fat ratio, and beef sausage came on slow but strong. Host and dining room were both cheery and inviting.

TMBBQ Buzz

Comments from our joint finder app.
Had to go back for more. All was good again. Ribs were the best out of all.
scott7 @ Virgie’s Bar-B-Que, 2014-07-19 15:56:03
Good ribs as usual.
scott7 @ Virgie’s Bar-B-Que, 2014-07-17 13:47:04
Virgies quickly became my favorite in Houston, and top 5 anywhere. I had the ribs and brisket. Both were buttery flaky with perfect flavor…not too peppery or salty, but just enough of both to be devoured without the need for any sauce. Incredible BBQ. Nothing special with the sides. The owner/smoker runs the whole place and was very friendly. Opened up for a group of Japanese tourists who wanted “real Texas BBQ” to come in early and sit down. Loved this experience through and through.
Scott Jarvis @ Virgie’s Bar-B-Que, 2014-07-01 22:04:24
This is one of the places where you feel like your not eating fresh BBQ and it's been sitting out before the doors open. While I think it's good BBQ, it's not that great. First the brisket was plain, not that great of a smoke flavor and needed BBQ to add some character to it. The port ribs were decent but like I said, it's been out a while and was served lukewarm.
Izzy Garza @ Virgie’s Bar-B-Que, 2014-06-10 13:59:32
must have come on a bad day; meat was tough. however, great flavor on the ribs and smoke on the brisket.
Stephen Powell @ Virgie’s Bar-B-Que, 2014-03-12 13:56:58
I stopped there before a JV fb game on Thursday . Had the baby back rib dinner. The ribs were on point!! Excellent flavor and smoke! The owner was very hospitable and friendly. This will always be a stop for me when I'm in the area!
scott_moody @ Virgie’s Bar-B-Que, 2013-09-29 21:58:03
Stopped for a sample. Ordered brisket moist and a few ribs. Ribs were baby backs and beautiful. Tender with flavor but the brisket took the show. Deep smoke ring with melted fat throughout the slice. Flavor carried all the way through. Not smokey but well seasoned. Slight tug tore the meat. Pitmaster Adrian sat with us and talked about smoking meats. Very humble man who made the visit even more enjoyable.
Hank Mangum @ Virgie’s Bar-B-Que, 2013-09-25 16:53:19
I was able to get the 3 meat barbecue trinity at virgie's. I was very disappointed by the portion size or lack there of for the cost. I ordered moist brisket as I always do and a couple slices of very dry brisket came out with a thin fat cap. My son, who came along for the ride and is being baptized in the Texas barbecue doctrine, took one bite and refused anymore. The "link sausage" was sliced so that says it all for me. The one glorious bright spot was the pork rib. It was magnificent. The bark was exceptional and the it was very meaty. If you are in the area and a fan of ribs drop by virgie's but if you will have to ride 15 minutes or more then you can probably find a better barbecue haven than virgie's.
Rashad See @ Virgie’s Bar-B-Que, 2013-06-22 16:59:47
More Buzz →

Review

July 10, 2010


Update: This joint had a fire on 03/11/11, but they have reopened and are back in business.

 

BBQ Snob: “Who is your hot link supplier?”
Virgie: “That’s my secret. Are you folks food critics or something?”
BBQ Snob: “That’s our secret.”

This is how my experience at Virgie’s began with the amiable proprietor and pit master, Adrian Handsborough. Pierson’s down the road has a big fan in Robb Walsh, while Virgie’s counts the Houston Chronicle’s Alison Cook as a fan along with being named one of Texas’s top 50 BBQ joints by Texas Monthly. These are some high accolades for being open a mere five years, but Chris Reid, Fulmer and I were about to find out if they were deserved.

Virgie’s offers a meaty sampler plate, so we went without sides, and headed straight for the protein. Those mysterious hot links were dense and flavorful. A mild red pepper heat was complemented by cracked black pepper and plenty of post oak smoke. They were moist without being fatty and there was a great snap to the casing. St. Louis ribs were a bit on the small side and could have been a bit more meaty, but they remained moist and tender with a nice chew. Well seasoned, they had a bold smokiness and excellent overall flavor. Portions of the point and flat were held together tenuously by a thin line of scrumptious fat in each of the thick slices of brisket. A beautiful rosy smokering was enveloped by a deep black crust, and the flavor of that oak smoke made it deep into every bite. A large portion of fat remained on many of the slices, but was so well smoked that it was devoured along with the meat. At the end of the meal, this would be the cleanest box on the trip.

While all of the offerings were stellar, my favorite part was the brisket, and it’s quality was further cemented after the BBQ Smackdown where I chose Virgie’s as my favorite sample. My favorite bit from the joint’s website may be a misprint. Adrian describes the history of the joint and his “barbecure.” Joints like this definitely help me recharge after many medicore meals in a row, and I’ll be lobbying Webster to add this term to describe how sometimes good BBQ is all you need to cure what ails you.

(This review originally appeared on Full Custom Gospel BBQ.)

Comments

  • Anonymous

    Sides were out of a can/generic and the sauce had liquid smoke. Meat was good, but I can’t rate this place more than three stars.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15436424232430968215 Rich

    Go try it yourself risk-free. The owner, Adrian Handsborough, promised us our money back if we weren’t satisfied. Needless to say, he’s still got our money.

  • TheSRC

    Sadly, Virgie’s had a fire on March 11, 2011 and are in the process of planning their rebuild. See their website and Facebook page for updates on when they’ll be up and running again.

    http://www.virgiesbbq.com

  • Ray

    Just to give everybody a heads-up, according to Virgies website, virgiesbbq.com, they re-opened this past Friday, June the 3rd.

  • Ray

    I tried Virgie’s for the first time about a month ago. I didn’t like the sausage (I think I may be more of a hot guts type of guy), the pork ribs were ok, but the brisket was good. It’s probably some of the best brisket that I’ve had recently.