The Best BBQ Joints in Houston Right Now
Houston may have been flying under the radar for a while, but gone are the days when we went unnoticed in the Texas BBQ scene. And rightfully so, as we’ve been quietly stepping up our barbecue game and it’s our time to shine (once we clean ourselves off with some moist towelettes). From pits rocking gargantuan beef ribs that feel downright Jurassic to the choicest, moistest, most mouthwatering brisket around, these Houston-area smokehouses prove we mean business.
If there’s one reason, and one reason only, to take the ride to Pearland, it’s to eat at chef Ronnie Killen’s namesake smokehouse. Killen, who has both training at Le Cordon Bleu and experience at a booming steakhouse under his belt, takes care to make sure that each pound of dino-sized, beef ribs; tender, chocolatey-barked brisket; and stupidly good bone-in pork belly exceeds Texas standards. And it does. Now open for lunch and more formal dinner service, go for the smoked meat, but don’t miss happy surprises like dry-aged brisket, the insanely good fried chicken (Sundays), and brisket tacos
Garden Oaks/Oak Forest
Come here for the ribs. Stay here for the ribs.
With a fresh facility on Ella that happens to be about six times the size of its shuttered 19th St location, this family-run fan favorite is literally bigger and better than ever. You can still get owner and pit boss Greg Gatlin’s trio of smoked ribs (there’s a short and meaty baby back varietal, a St. Louis-style spare rib, and a megaton beef number). But now, you won’t have to wait outside in the parking lot. Engage your inner caveman and gnaw the ribs straight down to the bone — or get a fully loaded “kitchen sink” sandwich and finish the meal with a bowl of giblet-laden dirty rice so filthy you’ll need a cold shower afterward.Jackson Street BBQ
Best way to beef up before an Astros game
At long last, Downtown has a hot barbecue spot — and it’s a smoking gun. While ‘cue king Greg Gatlin was readying his Oak Forest haunt, he wisely spent his time on this ballpark-side grand slam with chef Bryan Caswell (of standbys Reef & Little Bigs). Head here for a trinity of masterfully smoked brisket, ribs, and German-style sausage; napkin-required yardbird; and sides that’ll make you swoon, like the fried mac or dirty rice.
Blood Bros. BBQ
Bellaire (opening late Aug, early September)
Outside-the-box BBQ with a new brick-and-mortar locale
It’s crazy to think that the people behind this pop up all have other full-time jobs. Brothers Robin and Terry Wong own and operate the popular Glitter Karaoke, and chief smoker Quy Hoang co-owns an aquarium shop with his uncle. After years working the pop-up scene, the trio is readying to open its brick-and-mortar location in Bellaire (expected to open late August to early September 2018). Look out for house specialties like behemoth 44 Farms brontosaurus ribs, smoked boudin, and stellar gochujang beef belly burnt ends