The Latest BBQ list from Texas Monthly

Here’s the list

Please note the title - this is only a list of new and improved places since the last Top 50 list. Several of the commenters didn’t understand that and protested that revered places on the most recent Top 50 are not included. Oh well, what can you expect - certainly not that they read the title of the article or the introductory paragraphs.

So obviously gourmets have discovered Texas barbecue, the foodie media and foodie celebrities can’t get enough of it. There are many new places trying to get into the game and other places upping their game. So it’s not enough for TM to publish a Top 50 once every five years, they have to do this update.

There are 5 in Austin, only one of which, Terry Black’s, have I heard anything about down here in Houston and that was just an announcement that it was planned. Four places in Houston (Killen’s in Pearland counts as Houston). I don’t think I’ve heard anything about Southern Q, but, hey, Houston is a very big place.

Most of these probably will not make the next TOP 50 list. People here widely expect Killen’s to not only make the Top 50 but crack the Top 5. Ronnie Killen expects to unseat Aaron Franklin as the reigning king. We’ll see about that.

I’ll be honest and say that the one time I had Killen’s I wasn’t wowed.

We drove down there on a Saturday and arrived about forty five minutes before opening to find a line maybe thirty or forty deep. I was very excited about picking up a beef rib but in the end, they looked a bit under-smoked and chewy - not what I wanted. I had brisket and pork ribs and while they were very good, I wouldn’t make the drive again, because…

My office is just a block from Roegel’s, another on that list. To recap from that other site, I’d been going to Baker’s Ribs since they opened twenty years ago. It was very good at first and then went into a bit of a slow decline, in my opinion. The current proprietors bought the franchise about ten years ago, but last year, Russell Roegel, attended the BBQ boot camp with Aaron Franklin, among others and really stepped up his game and dropped the Baker’s Ribs franchise. It’s really very good right now; I’d say top three in Houston. Seriously.

And as noted in another place, at another time, I have shamelessly copied their potato salad with dill.

I also have a tenuous connection to Pappa Charlie’s, although I have not yet been to their new brick and mortar across the freeway from the George R Brown. It’s still BYOB while the TABC gets their collective sh!t together. Again, top three in town. They’re doing all sorts of fusion type stuff too, with brisket tacos and mac and cheese. And if you have a vegetarian among you, the smoked turkey is incredible. :wink:

My advice, hit those two before you go to Killen’s. Shorter lines and every bit equal in quality.

That’s my own succinct-as-I-can-make-it opinion.

I have to agree on Killen’s. I went twice when he was still doing the pop-ups and was underwhelmed both times so I haven’t gone to the b&m place, although I will.

I stood in line 40 mins one time, over an hour and a half the other. Beef rib I got was very gristly. Fatty brisket - he uses prime brisket - was way too fatty for my taste. Sausage one time tasted like meat loaf in a casing; it was better the second time. Pulled pork was dry. Pork ribs were the best - but most people say his pork ribs are the weakest offering. Everything except the pork ribs was undersmoked and underseasoned. Alison Cooke in her rave used the word delicate with regard to the seasoning I think. Since when in hell is Texas bbq supposed to be delicately seasoned? Gourmets have discovered… I’ve always had doubts about Cooke’s ability to judge bbq, but then Walsh has raved about it too, I think.

I haven’t been to the other two you mentioned but have noted your positive comments elsewhere and will, some day.

Houston barbecue fanatics have long had an inferiority complex about what’s available here vs. Central Texas and are desperate, in my opinion, to believe that we have become competitive. A couple of years back, it was Gatlin’s that everybody was head over heels in love with, but that place has fallen way out of grace.

I’m also skeptical of Vaughn as a reliable judge. How can one person be expected to cover everything from El Paso to Beaumont, the tip of the Panhandle to Brownsville? And he’s trying to get it all covered very quickly. He raved about Fargo’s in College Station so I went all the way up there to try it. You guessed it - it was unimpressive. (Nice road trip anyway, though).

I find it interesting, and telling, that, every time I read about some wonderful new barbecue place, and vow to try it out, the thrill seems to be gone before I even get there. Still, with a market the size of Houston, it’s hard to believe that nobody will ever take advantage of our lack of top-tier barbeque. So I keep hoping.

I’ve been to none of the new contenders. Need to pick a day and make a town run. After all, driving to Luling & Lockhart in a single day is fairly routine for me to stock my freezer. Surely I can take the time to do the same thing in the area in which I actually live.

Thanks for the link to that article, Bruce.

Very interesting.

We live just outside of the town where Whup’s Boomerang Barbecue is located, a place included on one of the magazine’s lists of best. Shortly after moving here, we got brisket, sausage, potato salad to-go. We were not impressed. It’s okay, but nothing to jump up and shout about. Texas Monthly sends reporters out to sample barbecue, and I think they are running out of places to try.
Texas barbecue is very subjective. “Bark” is going to put off those who don’t like charred outside of their meat. “Wet” means a goodly portion of fat in the meat. Don’t get me started on the different sausages offered, except many of them will give you Texas-size heartburn.
We have also tried barbecue places in Waco. Don’t bother.

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Well they have to sell magazines and they have to sell ads. Barbecue mentioned on the cover undoubtedly helps.

I’ve felt Vaughn was a little too much of a cheer-leader for Texas Q instead of just a reporter or critic even when he was just doing his personal blog.

Allison’s review of Pappa Charlie’s: LINK

We used to go to the trailer frequently and made the drive to the new brick and mortar a few weeks ago.

So NBC’s Today Show is broadcasting this Super Tuesday live from Harris County Smokehouse Restaurant in Houston. How have I never heard of it? Anyone been?

Harris County Smokehouse

Hmmm. Now I wonder why that is??? :worried:

Maybe it was the only bbq place they could find that was open early enough to be on the show.

I would assume so also, but I have to think that any BBQ place would have been delighted to host them. After all, any pitmaster that serves lunch is already stoking fires at 3am.