Get excited, Texans – it’s time for another road trip! Now, my last two road trip articles were cool and all, but this takes things to a whole new level. Combining two of life’s greatest joys, exploring new places and eating, (duh) is bound to be a success. Especially when those places are in Texas and the food in question is barbecue.
Just like the other road trip articles, all the work is done for you. (Aside from the driving, of course.) The Google Map with all the restaurants and directions is right
here. So who’s ready for a weekend of delicious eats and (very) full bellies?
1. Cooper's Old Time Pit BBQ (Llano)
First stop, Cooper's in Llano. They also have three other locations in Fort Worth, Austin, and New Braunfels - all family owned. They're the home of the world famous "Big Chop," and have been and continue to be dedicated to to serving up some of the best barbecue in the Hill Country for many years. Every piece of meat from tender brisket to juicy sausage is smoked to perfection in this pit and is sure to send your taste buds to another galaxy.
2. The Salt Lick (Driftwood)
Next up is the famous Salt Lick. There's an unspoken rule here in Texas that you have to recognize this pit. The meat is just as good as it looks (maybe even better), and the rustic atmosphere and live music just add to the already amazing experience. I mean, just look at that sausage...
You can spend the night in San Marcos after this meal since it's on the way to our next stop. Lord knows you'll be ready to hit the hay after this kind of eatin'.
3. City Market (Luling)
Now we're headed to Luling for some of the most authentic barbecue you'll ever eat. You place your order in the smoker room while you watch the meat you're about to devour finish the slow-cooking process that makes it fall-off-the-bone tender. The restaurant itself might be rather unassuming, but we've learned that here in Texas, those are the places with the best food. Not to mention the rest of Luling's town square is just adorable, so you can take a walk (or a waddle after all the barbecue you'll be stuffing in your face) to check it out after you eat.
4. Black's Barbecue (Lockheart)
I know, you're beyond full now...but don't think for a second we'd pass up THE oldest barbecue restaurant in the state of Texas. We're headed to Lockheart right now to see if it lives up to its legacy (it does). Serving up slow-cooked ribs, brisket, and other mouthwatering cuts of meat since 1932, this joint in the BBQ Capital of the World is easily the highlight of this road trip.
5. Franklin Barbecue (Austin)
Now we're gonna take a short drive over to Austin (I know how y'all feel about Austin, but trust me on this one) to try out the famous Franklin Barbecue. Upside? It's delicious. The quality (and quantity) are superb. Downside? The line is probably the longest in Texas. But hey, at least you know it's good! Plus, your stomach will have plenty of time to rest.
6. Louie Mueller BBQ (Taylor)
Our last stop for the day is Louie Mueller. They've won countless awards (including best barbecue in the entire state of Texas!) from from many prestigious entities like Texas Monthly - and it's obvious why. This tender all beef brisket is their most popular choice, and that's no surprise either. It's made fresh daily, prepared with a salt and pepper rub and slow-cooked to perfection.
Okay, you probably feel like a balloon at this point. (Totally worth it though, right?) Let's find a quaint little motel in Taylor for the night to recharge before we finish up our epic barbecue tour tomorrow.
7. Kreuz Market (Bryan)
Now that you've given your stomach a good night's rest, you should be more than ready to take on our last two joints. First stop of the day, Kreuz Market. A market might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of good BBQ, but Kreuz has been in the business since 1900, so they've had plenty of time to perfect the art of delicious meat.
8. Stanley's Famous Pit BBQ (Tyler)
There's juuuust enough room in your stomach for a little more BBQ, right? Well, you better make room, because our last stop is definitely not our least. Stanley's is the oldest mom-and-pop barbecue joint in Tyler and their pit-smoked meats bring in customers from all over the state and leave them wanting more. Everything is delicious, from brisket to sausage to turkey breast to potato salad. And they've been in the business for over 50 years, so you can trust that they've perfected their craft over the decades.
Staring at Texas barbecue for long periods of time gives me extreme withdrawal symptoms. I’m ready to hop in the car right about now and get my fix. Who’s gonna join me?!