City Guide / Houston

13 Places to Get the Best BBQ in Houston

By Mai Pham | Dec 22, 2022
The Pit Room in Houston, Texas

There’s never been a better time to try barbecue in Houston. In the past decade, Houston’s craft barbecue scene has absolutely exploded, with the annual Houston BBQ Festival growing its roster from 15 participants to more than two dozen since it first launched in 2013.

Southern Living Magazine recently named four Houston barbecue joints among the Top 50 in the South, while Texas Monthly named eight establishments among the Top 50 in Texas, with several more spots in the Top 100. The public interest on the subject of BBQ in Houston has been so strong, in fact, that in 2014, the Houston Chronicle appointed J.C. Reid their weekly barbecue columnist.

So, yes, barbecue is a thing in Houston and is definitely worth checking it out if you’re spending time in this Texas town. Here is a list of the 13 best barbecue spots in Houston, including:

  1. Truth BBQ
  2. The Pit Room
  3. Killen’s BBQ
  4. Blood Bros. BBQ
  5. Burns Original BBQ
  6. Tejas Chocolate & BBQ
  7. Feges BBQ
  8. Gatlin’s BBQ
  9. Harlem Road BbQ
  10. Roegels BBQ
  11. Brett’s BBQ
  12. Corkscrew BBQ
  13. Goode Company BBQ

Let’s dig in!

1. Truth BBQ

Houston Heights

When Leonard Botello IV opened Truth BBQ in Brenham, Texas, he was a big fish in a small pond. With the opening of his flagship location in the Heights, the pond may have grown bigger, but he still managed to be a big fish. In 2021, Botello’s Houston outpost earned the only Top 10 ranking on Texas Monthly’s list of Top 50 BBQ joints in the state, coming in a No. 3.

His claim to fame? An outstanding Texas Trinity of brisket, sausage, and pork ribs, with inventive sides to match, from scratch-made barbecue beans laced with brisket bits and bacon, to beef tallow-caramelized Brussels sprouts, and tater tot casserole. Truth BBQ is open for lunch Tuesday through Sunday, with dinner service from Thursdays to Saturdays.

2. The Pit Room

Museum District

It used to be that you’d have to drive outside of the Houston loop to get proper craft barbecue, but with Michael Sambrooks’ opening of The Pit Room in the Museum District, quality craft barbecue finally became accessible from inside the loop. The pitmasters keep the smokers running all day at The Pit Room, so you can get barbecue for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Bring friends and order a “Feast” to sample all that they have to offer, including brisket, pork ribs, beef ribs, pulled pork, smoked turkey, smoked sausage, one beef link, one venison link, plus four sides.

Pro tip: Don’t skip the tacos. Yes, it’s a barbecue joint, but the breakfast and lunch tacos—made with rendered barbecue beef tallow and served on house-made flour tortillas—are so good they could give the brisket a run for its money.

3. Killen’s Barbecue

Pearland, TX

Born and raised in Pearland, chef and restauranteur Ronnie Killen was already recognized as a fine chef with his wildly successful eponymous steakhouse. Never one to do anything by half measure, he took over an old-school cafeteria and turned it into a barbecue joint. Unsurprisingly, when it debuted in 2013, Killen’s Barbecue was an instant hit.

Killen used high-quality meats and meticulously manned his pits to ensure that his brisket was melt-in-your-mouth, while his giant beef rib and beef belly burnt ends are the stuff of barbecue dreams. In the spring of 2021, he expanded Killen’s Barbecue to the Woodlands and recently announced plans to open another location in Cypress as well. Want the entire experience? Don’t miss the croissant bread pudding for dessert.

4. Blood Bros. BBQ

Bellaire, TX

In a lot of ways, Blood Bros. BBQ is a story about an American dream. Three friends who grew up in Houston’s Alief neighborhood—brothers Robin and Terri Wong, and their friend Quy Hoang—started doing barbecue pop-ups for fun. Inspired by the flavors he grew up within Houston, pitmaster Hoang got creative with his barbecue and added his own Asian spin.

Their unique take on barbecue achieved cult status within the barbecue community, so they took a giant leap into the unknown and opened a brick and mortar in Bellaire, Texas. And the rest is history! They were tapped to open a second location in Vegas, and Hoang even earned a nomination from the James Beard Foundation for Best Chef of the Texas region.

Go for the Texas trinity, but don’t sleep on creative items like their brisket burnt ends, bao buns, green Thai curry boudin balls, or the Thit Nuong Pork Belly.

5. Burns Original Barbecue

Acres Homes, Northeast Houston

Patronized by the late Anthony Bourdain, rapper Slim Thug, and the barbecue cognoscenti at large, Burns Original Barbecue on De Priest Street in Acres Homes is a neighborhood institution and legacy to its original founder, the late Roy Burns Senior. Specializing in East Texas-style barbecue, they’re known for their giant chopped beef sandwiches, pork spareribs, and rib sandwiches. Their 10-pound baked potato is a sight to behold, and there are great selfies to be had with the Roy Burns mural. While this barbecue restaurant now has several locations around town, the original is still the most memorable.

6. Tejas Chocolate and Barbecue

Tomball, TX

As the story goes, Scott Moore got into barbecue because of chocolate. He needed to find a way to support his chocolate obsession, so he opened Tejas Chocolate and Barbecue because barbecue was popular, hoping that he’d get his customers to fall in love with his bean-to-bar chocolate. Well, it worked. Scott, in partnership with his brother Greg and partner Michelle, opened a Texas smokehouse and chocolate confectionary under one roof in Old Town Tomball, then proceeded to wow everyone with their barbecue and chocolate. Go for the pork ribs and Prime brisket, come back on Thursdays for their legendary pastrami beef ribs, and make sure to choose some chocolate truffles to sweeten the whole experience.

7. Feges BBQ

Spring Branch, TX

Feges BBQ may have started in a food court, but the quality was strong enough that it allowed husband-and-wife team Patrick and Erin Feges to expand to a full brick and mortar in Spring Branch. Patrick cut his teeth at some of the best restaurants in Houston—places like Brennan’s, Underbelly, and Killen’s—while Erin was a trained chef who worked at prominent restaurants in New York and Houston before they came up with their brilliant plan to team together and open a barbecue joint. Patrick oversees the pit, while Erin oversees beverages and comes up with the sides and non-smoked mains.

Feges is one of the only places in Houston that offers whole hog barbecue, but everything else is good, too, from the Asian glazed giant rib to the fried chicken and PB&J chocolate cake.

8. Gatlin’s BBQ

Houston Heights

In terms of Houston craft barbecue, Gatlin’s BBQ is the OG. Greg Gatlin opened in 2010 in the Heights, serving old-school East- and Central-style Texas barbecue alongside homey sides like dirty rice and Southern favorites like fried catfish. The family-run shop quickly earned a large following, and then other craft barbecue entrants entered the game. But it was Gatlin’s that set those wheels in motio—and they’re still going strong today! The pork ribs are outstanding, as are sides like the collards and candied yams. Everything is made with a lot of love, so you can’t go wrong no matter what you get.

9. Harlem Road Texas BBQ

Richmond, TX

All you need to do is peek at the custom-made smokers from Pitmaker to know that Harlem Road Texas BBQ takes things seriously. But when you hear that chef Ara Malekian is a classically trained chef who used to manage all of culinary for Wolfgang Puck, you know you’re in for a treat.

Malekian uses French Oak staves—taken from old wine barrels—to smoke his meat, so you get smokiness with a hint of red wine in his meats. It’s most pronounced in his smoked turkey, but it adds an extra dimension to his otherwise outstanding brisket, house-made sausages, and pork ribs.

Beyond the food, it’s worth it to make the trek out to Richmond to experience Harlem Road’s interiors, designed to look like a cross between an art gallery set in Marfa and a chapel from the movie “Kill Bill.”

10. Roegels Barbecue


If you only needed one reason to visit Roegels Barbecue, it would be for their Thursday-only smoked pastrami reuben. But then again, Roegels serves the kind of barbecue that would merit a visit on any day of the week.

Helmed by husband and wife team Russell and Misty Roegels, and recognized by Texas Monthly as one of the best barbecue joints in Houston, their brisket is a thing of beauty, enrobed in a fat cap that’s surrounded by that dark, crusty bark we all know and love. Homemade sides like collards and pinto beans—not to mention awesome pickles and a killer bourbon banana pudding—are just icing on the cake.

11. Brett’s BBQ Shop

Katy, TX

Central-style Texas barbecue is the name of the game at this Katy establishment, which is so good that Brett’s BBQ Shop not only snagged a spot on the Houston Chronicle’s list of Top 100 Restaurants in Houston for 2022, but also Texas Monthly’s Top 50 list in 2021. Demand was so high that Brett’s quickly outgrew its original space; they’re moving locations into much larger digs imminently. Until then, follow their Facebook page for updates on how to get your hands on Brett Jackson’s melt-in-your-mouth brisket, smoked meat sandwiches, and more.

12. Corkscrew BBQ

Spring, TX

Corkscrew is one of those places where, when it comes to barbecue, “if you know you know.” Starting out as a food truck, it served a Texas trinity that was so unequivocally amazing that it drew fans from far and wide. Having finally moved to a brick and mortar, Corkscrew is better than ever. Just try the brisket. Or the pork ribs. Or the sausages, or any of the sides—three-cheese queso, anyone? Because it’s literally all good.

13. Goode Company BBQ

Upper Kirby

Located prominently on Kirby Drive facing sister restaurant Armadillo Palace’s giant silver armadillo, Goode Company BBQ has been serving barbecue to Houstonians since the late 1970s. They have such a loyal following that not much has changed today. Walk into the ice house-style restaurant, and you’re greeted by animal trophies and old photos on the wall chronicling the restaurant’s nearly 50-year run. Grab a tray, slide it down the counter, then choose your meats and sides as you go along. Everything is homey and comforting, especially the famous pecan pie.

Pro tip: You can order the pies for shipment anywhere in the U.S.

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Mai Pham

Mai Pham has been writing about food, wine, travel, and beauty/lifestyle for more than a decade. She has a degree in English with Departmental Honors from UCLA, and has written hundreds of articles in both digital and print. She is based in Houston, and speaks four languages. She is fluent in English and Vietnamese, and conversation in French and Spanish. She has traveled to more than 150 cities across four continents, and can say "I love you" in more than 30 languages.