Do you have a day available to drive through beautiful scenic Texas and try out amazing mouth-watering BBQ? What about the whole weekend? Texas has some of the best well-known, world-rated BBQ that has been featured in magazines and television shows. Grab the kids and pack the cooler because you will not be disappointed with these tasty BBQ choices all over this great state!
The key to BBQ road trips is to spread out your meals. Just try a little of the most important part, the meat, and sample the sides–but not too much! You want to save room for all the deliciousness you are about to enjoy! Don’t forget this PRINTABLE BBQ rating sheet to remember what you thought of each place. (My husband keeps a journal!)
Texas BBQ Worth the Trip
Just for Kicks
On your way out of town, drive to Lexington, Texas for Snows. This Texas Monthly Top 50 recently appeared in the 7th season of Chef’s Table on Netflix, featuring their Pit Master, Tootsie Tomanetz, who has been working there since they opened. Currently, they are only open Saturdays till they sell out, and there will be a line, so check their Facebook page before heading out. Plan to have a picnic outside with the kids because seating is limited. All the hype and wait is worth your time!
South on 35
Head about 4 hours south of Dallas to Lockhart, the BBQ Capital of Texas! This small town boasts some of the best antique shopping and a huge City Park, that hosts festivals and events year-round. After strolling through downtown for a bit, try all 3 of these famous stops and choose your favorite!
- 1st stop: Blacks BBQ is A Texas Monthly Top 50 BBQ stop and is family-owned since 1932. Featured on TV shows and in other articles, the brisket and sausage here will blow you away. It is open 7 days a week and we’ve never had to wait except for the time they were filming a TV show!
- 2nd stop: Kreuz Market Since 1900, this BBQ joint has been a Lockhart staple. The family also owns the Lockhart BBQ locations in Dallas and Plano. The brisket is amazing and the people and owners are awesome as well.
- 3rd stop: Smitty’s Market actually started as a Kreuz family-owned place but in 1999, opened in this same location with a new name.
Plan a day trip to Tyler, also known as the Rose Capital of America, just about an hour and a half outside of Dallas. Tyler is known for its beautiful gardens and fun outdoor activities, including the Red Dirt BBQ and Music Festival, which has been rescheduled for this May!
- 1st stop: Pat Gee’s opened in 1963 and is the place to go for a wonderful white bread sandwich dipped in the amazing, homemade sauce. Plan to eat in the car or outside, if you have the kids. Last time we visited it was cash only so come prepared!
- 2nd stop: Stanley’s was voted one of Texas Monthly’s Top 50 BBQ Joints in Texas. This place is a whole experience. Drop in for yummy ribs, cold beer, and live music with the family and you will not be disappointed. Sit outside on the cozy patio and take in some sunshine and music while you feast on a variety of smoked meats with names like the “ex-wife” and “motherclucker”. Don’t forget to try the famous spicy sauce!
Ft. Worth is a great place to take the kids for the day. We love to go to the stockyards to see the daily cattle drive and the museums are unique and fun. We love the Cowboy Hall of Fame! After some educational fun in the stockyards, try one of these great BBQ places!
- Coopers has several locations across Texas and I’m always pleased when we leave. This one is located right in the Stockyards. Plenty of space inside for you and the kids. There’s no wait and they never run out! You get your meat cafeteria-style, get to choose from a wide array of sides, and desserts and pinto beans are on the house!
- Heim BBQ started as a food truck but is now located on Magnolia Ave and open 7 days a week. This stop is a BBQ must. Don’t laugh, but I got the loaded mac n cheese with brisket. Holy cow! The diverse menu includes tacos, potatoes, burgers, and even a kids menu.
Head over to Arlington to catch a Texas Rangers or a Dallas Cowboys game, but plan to grab lunch beforehand!
- Hurtado is touted as “Arlington’s BBQ Destination” and rightfully so. Take a day trip to Arlington to enjoy this fairly new joint. Hurtado brings a new meaning to the word “mexi-que”, serving tortillas with their BBQ instead of traditional white bread. Hours are Wednesday through Sunday and plan for a line. The inside is small, so sit outside with the kids. Famous for their unique sides like hatch mac and cheese and street corn, you can’t go wrong with the El Jefe platter, featuring 7 kinds of meat!
Need a getaway? Austin may be just the “weird” you’ve been looking for! 5 hours down I35 and you are in the eccentric, never dull, Capital of Texas. Self-guided tours of the capital are available and this is a must-do on your Texas bucket list. Your kids will love to cool off in Barton Spring’s pool and also work up a big appetite. Then you guys have to hit these BBQ places!
- Franklin BBQ, maybe you’ve heard of it? Aaron Franklin is a world-famous BBQ pitmaster, featured in many books and TV shows. Plan ahead for this one because there will be a line. They are open at 11 am, Tuesday through Sunday, until they sell out. And they do every day. Get in line by 9, but don’t worry, it is well worth it. Bring a lawn chair and a cooler for the wait. We always meet the coolest people! Texas Monthly says, “Serving the best barbecue in the known universe.” We agree!
- Micklethwait Craft Meats was voted a Top 10 BBQ as well by Texas Monthly, Tom Micklethwait founded this joint in 2012 and they still operate out of the same trailer. My favorite thing to get here is the wide variety of sausages that are made in-house but everything is great. Plan to sit outside with the kids and plan ahead because they’re only open on the weekends and don’t take cash.