So, you’ve explored the best of Austin’s BBQ, and now you’re ready to take your meat relationship to the next level. You’re willing to travel for it. Congratulations, and welcome to the dark side. There really is no better way to spend a Sunday afternoon that driving outside the city in search of the meat sweats. Here are the spots most worthy of a trip.
There are lots of new names and techniques in the BBQ game, but Cooper’s is a true old-timey holdout. They now have a location in Austin, but we highly recommend the drive out to the original location in Llano, which hasn’t changed a bit since it opened in the early 60’s. The atmosphere is as authentic, no-BS as it gets, and more importantly, the barbecue is damn good. The variety of offerings (pork chop, sirloin steak, and chicken - along with the usual BBQ mainstays) is insane, but the sausage and brisket are our go-to’s, and their vinegar-heavy sauce is incredible.
It’s one of Lockhart’s lesser-known BBQ spots, but in our opinion, this is the best barbecue in the state. Eat everything here, but go heaviest on the brisket.
Enjoy meats smoked by an 80-year-old woman who has been pit master-ing for decades. Her name is Tootsie, because of course it is. Located in Lexington, Texas, this is one of the farthest locations from Austin to get your barbecue fix, but 100% worth it. The brisket is transcendent.
This Luling, Texas, operation features a pit room at the back of the dining room. Enter it, and a pitmaster will serve you meat from straight out of the pit and onto waxed paper for you to enjoy. It’s the greatest gift you will ever receive.
This Lockhart establishment goes toe-to-toe with Black’s as the best in Lockhart, which is a postcard town that prides itself on offering the best barbecue in the universe. It’s only another half hour or so past the Austin airport.