AUSTIN, Texas — When it comes to Austin meat, everyone floods to buzzworthy barbecue joints like Franklin Barbecue and La Barbecue. That's especially true during the SXSW festival, which means their notoriously long lines will be especially lengthy.
We're talking hours spent standing...waiting...craving that juicy barbecue.
And with all the hustle and bustle of SXSW events, you likely won't have time to stand in line before you catch the next keynote speaker or the latest up-and-coming artist on your must-see list.
Well, if you're looking to find a quick bite or are just looking to satisfy your barbecue hankerings without standing in line, there are still plenty of options to satisfy your carnivorous cravings.
If you want to try nationally recognized barbecue even the locals love, you can take your chances at The Salt Lick. However, you'll have to drive south to Driftwood, Texas. There, you can beat the lines with an online reservation – as long as you can recruit nine or more friends to come with you. A true Central Texas legend, this barbecue joint has been in the business since 1967.
If you have the time to travel a little north of downtown, traverse up Lamar Boulevard to Stiles Switch. An Austin original, it was founded by a Taylor, Texas, native with 15 years in the barbecue business. Its weekly and daily specials always keep the locals guessing.
Not too far away on the neighboring Burnet Road, you'll find SLAB, which stands for "slow, low and bangin'." It has four award-winning sauces and its pit boss and founder was even featured on the Travel Channel and Food Network for his famous pulled-pork "sammiches." We suggest trying the "Notorious P.I.G."
Another local barbecue joint with TV recognition is Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ – they were recently featured on "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives." With the perfect mix of Tex and Mex, you can choose from your classic selections like sliced brisket or pulled pork, or try something with a south-of-the-border flair like smoked carnitas or cerveza beef fajitas.
If you're looking for a scenic setting to enjoy your food, The County Line on FM 2222 is an option. Set in an old lake lodge right along Bull Creek, you can enjoy your meat – and a margarita too – on their redwood deck overlooking the water.
Not to be confused with Terry Black's BBQ, which most likely WILL have a long line during the festival, Black's Barbecue on Guadalupe Street could be worth the short drive away from downtown and into the University of Texas area. This joint was causing such a buzz in Lockhart, they decided to open a location in Austin.
Which brings us to our last point: Lockhart, Texas, barbecue. Located about 45 miles south of Austin, this town is colloquially known as the "Barbecue Capital of Texas." From Black's BBQ to Smitty's Market to Kreuz Market to Chisolm Trail Barbecue, the hours you could spend waiting in line at Franklin could be better spent making a short drive to one of these historically loved restaurants.