Your Austin barbecue experience is dependent on one crucial factor: how long you’re willing to wait in line. Many people assume that the quality of barbecue is directly proportional to the time you have to sacrifice for it - but that’s simply not true.
There’s enough excellent BBQ in the city that you don’t need to spend hours waiting to get an insanely delicious feast of meats. That being said, we understand your need to have that classic experience. So whether you’re looking for a new place to kill a few hours or somewhere you can get meat into your system immediately, this list has you covered.
the bbq spots
Franklin Barbecue is unbelievable. Seriously, you may not be able to believe what your mouth is telling your brain, because you’ve probably never had meat that’s been so perfectly smoked. So, yes, Franklin is worth the three-plus hour wait. That being said, if you enjoy eating BBQ regularly and you’re not self/un-employed, you should probably find a new go-to (start with this list) that you can actually get your hands on in a normal amount of time.
The County Line makes excellent barbeque. If you’re on a boat in Lake Austin, drive up to the dock and get some. If you’re on 2222, keep driving until you see that massive parking lot. With its festive environment, County Line is great for big groups, graduations, and all those other need-to-please everyone gatherings.
La Barbecue is also making best-of-the-best barbecue that has stirred up a frenzy of its own. Thanks to the fact that the whole city (and a good portion of the country) knows about La Barbecue by now, the line will definitely be long. Really long. Consider yourself lucky if you have the chance to eat it, especially if you’re there in time to catch their legendary beef ribs. Though, if you can plan at least three days in advance, you can pre-order online, pick your food up at the back window, and skip the entire line.
Located inside a gas station/convenience store, this place serves solid barbecue for great prices. They also make serviceable breakfast tacos if you’re in need. It’s a little outside of the main spectrum of town, but not a far drive with locations north and south.
Located in the corner of a North Austin shopping center, Stiles is a spot with a major cult following. The beef ribs and sausage here are must-orders and the diverse beer selection is a big plus. Avoid during lunch on most days as the secret is definitely out on this one.
Lambert’s serves what you would call fancy barbecue. And while BBQ snobs might disagree, we think it’s pretty great. Lambert’s is practically a steakhouse, but hipper, and with food you’ll be more excited to eat. It’s also a great place to watch live music.
If pulled pork sandwiches are always your order, this is your spot. It feels like somewhere Coach Taylor might go brood in after a loss, as it’s next to a big high school football stadium.