The magazine said to compile this year's list, 32 editorial staffers and three freelancers visited 411 barbecue spots over eight weeks. The most promising were then revisited by either barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn, food writer Patricia Sharpe or both to determine the Top 10. This year's Top 50 list is Texas Monthly's sixth since 1997.
Unsurprisingly, Austin staple Franklin Barbecue made the Top 10 – but where it came in might be a shock to some barbecue aficionados. The spot, as famous for its hours-long lines as it is for its meats, came in at No. 7 on Texas Monthly's list. In 2013 and 2017, Franklin's captured the No. 1 and No. 2 spots, respectively, in the Top 50 list.
"Franklin’s drop into the bottom half of our Top 10 isn’t a sign that the beloved establishment has diminished – no one does the traditional barbecue lineup better. But it is a sign that the new wave is reshaping the scene in ways we couldn’t have imagined a few short years ago," Texas Monthly wrote.
In fact, this year's Top 50 list features a lot of barbecue innovation. More than half of the entries are new to the list and many offer surprises and variety.
Besides Franklin's, two other Austin barbecue restaurants made Texas Monthly's Top 10. LeRoy and Lewis Barbecue, a 4-year-old spot that eschews tradition by only serving "bacon ribs" and brisket on the weekends, came in at No.5. InterStellar BBQ, only open since 2019, shot nearly to the top of the list, coming in at No. 2.
According to Texas Monthly, the No. 1 barbecue joint in Texas is Goldee's Barbecue in Fort Worth. The magazine claims that the spot – which opened just last year and is run by a group of 20-somethings – has "food that's close to perfection."
Though just three Austin joints made the Top 10, four others made the full list. Distant Relatives, La Barbecue, Micklethwait Craft Meats and Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ were included in the Top 50. Eaker Barbecue in Fredericksburg, Brotherton's Black Iron Barbecue in Pflugerville, Hays Co. Bar-B-Que & Catering in San Marcos and Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor also represent Central Texas on the list.
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