Wanted: Best Houston Barbecue
February 3, 2014 9:43 AM   Subscribe

I'm going to Houston for a weekend next month, and will be wanting some good Texas barbecue. When I used to live there, I liked Pappas and Goode Company, but the last time I ate at either of those (about five years ago) I was disappointed. Where are the best places these days for true Texas barbecue in Houston? If they don't have their own smoker, or if the word "pulled" appears anywhere on the menu, I'm not interested.
posted by ubiquity to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Might want to say where you're staying in Houston and how far you're willing to travel. This list looks pretty solid and there are a few options inside loop 610.
posted by muddgirl at 9:55 AM on February 3, 2014

I'll be staying at the Galleria. I'd be willing to drive 30 minutes for good barbecue, and an hour for great (e.g., Cooper's in Llano). And though I appreciate the effort, I can find lists on my own. I want people's personal opinions of places they've tried.
posted by ubiquity at 10:03 AM on February 3, 2014

I grew in Houston, and my go-to place any time I go home is Brown Sugar's near Almeda Mall (South Belt area).
posted by Doofus Magoo at 10:11 AM on February 3, 2014

I'm going to recommend Gatlin's in the Heights (looks like it appears in muddgirl's link). They have been the darlings of the Houston barbecue scene for a few years now. I don't know what you have against "pulled", but their pulled pork and brisket - each ordered with extra sauce - are as good as it gets. They have the best ranch beans I've ever had and their green beans are swimming in delicious greasiness. Definitely my favorite barbecue joint, but I live in the Heights so it is very convenient.

I will caution, however, that the Gatlinses started out at as caterers and they still have not figured out how to run a restaurant. The line starts long and moves slow.
posted by SugarFreeGum at 12:26 PM on February 3, 2014

And how far would you go for the very best?
posted by Houstonian at 1:42 PM on February 3, 2014

You could check the Houston Barbecue Project to find something to your taste. Chili Bob is a reliable reviewer. Alison Cook also has some BBQ on her list. And of course Full Custom Gospel but it covers the entire state so you'll want to drill down to just the area you're interested in.
Unfortunately if it's next month you'll miss the high point of the Houston BBQ scene, the World Championship BBQ cookoff at the Rodeo.
posted by Runes at 2:38 PM on February 3, 2014

BTW, I know you didn't want lists, but I've found that people tend to be quite opinionated about what they consider good BBQ and places that people rave to me about I tend to be non-plussed by and vice versa. A lot depends on your taste. Of the places I have tried in the last 6 months I would recommend The Swinging Door which is way the hell off the beaten path, the above-mentioned Gatlins, and the shack on the corner of Highway 6 and McKeever Rd (I don't know if they have a name). Goode Co is very variable since Jim Goode quit having a hand in the daily running, though if you're making it at home his recipe is absolutely great. I've never liked Pappa's.
posted by Runes at 2:56 PM on February 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Probably not in time for your visit, but good news for Houston: Louie Mueller eyeing Houston location
posted by Runes at 6:17 AM on February 4, 2014

Oh, man, I really I wish I had more time this morning to write a detailed answer. I lived off BBQ in Houston for years. In any case, suffice to say that a few years ago when I was still working at a law firm in Houston, I organized a BBQ tour of the city. Each week over the summer, we took our summer associates to a different Houston BBQ spot. Although it is hard to ever reach a consensus on BBQ, the three places most consistently identified as the best were Luling City Market, Goode Co., and Pizzatola's. Luling is easily my favorite overall, although Goode Co. has great brisket and Pizzatola's has great ribs.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 8:29 AM on February 4, 2014

Now reading your question again, I see that you were disappointed by Goode Co. in the past. In that case, I wholeheartedly recommend Luling. My wife loves Goode Co., but I find it a bit on the bland side. Luling, on the other hand, scratches my itch.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 8:32 AM on February 4, 2014

I went to Luling. While it was not nearly as good as the location in actual Luling, it was fine.
posted by ubiquity at 9:27 AM on April 11, 2014

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