The long debate of who smokes the best brisket in Austin will never end, and it’s one problem we’re fortunately blessed to have. Other Texas cities will argue about which city serves the best BBQ and it’s a fair conversation for another day (It’s Austin BTW). But Texas BBQ has always been driven by the unmistakable excellence of our brisket and central Texas has been the standard-bearer of that honor for generations.
Critics, food bloggers and BBQ aficionados will undoubtedly argue their own opinions in telling you favorites. Truthfully, there’s almost no bad choices unless you’re eating at some commercial cafeteria style joint. Despite everyone else’s taste or opinion, I’m inclined to offer my own “semi-professional” picks on where to find the best brisket in Austin. See below and fight me later.
121 Pickle Rd | Pitmaster Evan LeRoy is one of the only BBQ artisans serving Akaushi brisket, which is only served on Saturday and Sunday. Evan sources his briskets from Beeman Family Ranch, which produces all natural, no antibiotics or hormones, 100% full blood Akaushi Wagyu Beef, offering a fatty brisket that is so full of silky flavor you’ll believe you’re eating meat-candy and order extras to take home. I wouldn’t share!
Open: Wednesday – Sunday, 11 am – 9 pm
2027 E Cesar Chavez St. | La Barbecue has been slinging outstanding BBQ since they started serving from their trailer in 2012 down in south Austin. They can now be found in East Austin at the Quickie Pickie. They use all natural prime beef, which offers the most abundant intramuscular marbling. The result offers a taste that’s perfectly moist with wealth of flavor, something they’ve perfected. You can expect nothing less from owner LeAnne Mueller and her crew.
Open: Wednesday through Sunday 11:00 am. – 6:00 pm.
900 E 11th St | There’s a reason Aaron Franklin has become the face of Texas BBQ. I mean, have you seen that line!? Franklin has played a very large role in establishing Austin’s BBQ dominance and standard of excellence in quality and even won a James Beard Award for good measure. This joint is universally recognized as the go-to destination for the best brisket in Austin. If you’re prepared to wake up early enough and wait in the infamous line for several hours just to stuff your face with a large platter, you’re most likely going to order at least a pound or two of the brisket to make it worth your time. Whether you prefer fatty or lean cuts, the brisket is tender and flavorful enough to melt in your mouth like smoked butter.
Open: Tuesday through Sunday, 11:00 am until Sold Out.
6610 N Lamar Blvd. | At Stiles Switch you’ll arrive for the daily specials and stay for the brisket, which has seen an evolution of being good to absolute greatness. The BBQ Jewel of north Austin has been a consummate staple in the city since 2012 lead by pitmaster Lance Kirkpatrick, who trained under legendary Bob Mueller of Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor. You won’t find anyone camped out in three-hour lines because it moves consistently fast and efficient, offering a level of service that making it a consistent go-to spot for lunch and dinner.
Open: Tuesday – Sunday, 11:00 am – 9:00 pm.
*See also – The Brisket & Biscuit Sandwich
11500 Manchaca Rd | Do you prefer brisket tacos, brisket by itself, or both? If you’re in the South Austin area, Valentina’s is the go-to spot for the best brisket south of Hwy 71. Their super moist, perfectly smoked brisket is exceptional, but add a few of their homemade flour tortillas (instead of white bread) and you’ll find may find new religion.
Open: Wednesday – Monday, 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. or until sold out.
1309 Rosewood Ave. | Pitmaster Tom Micklethwait has built a reputation of offering a fun and creative menu while offering some of the most outstanding traditional options like their highly-lauded post oak smoked brisket, which spends up to 14 hours on the pit. They’ve garnered a sizable and loyal following and have received many notable accolades from multiple publications since beginning operations in 2012.
Open: Tuesday – Sunday, 11:00 am – sold out.
3110 Guadalupe St | Once upon a time you had to take the long drive to Lockhart and wait in line just to get a taste of the Original Black’s BBQ. Fortunately Kent Black’s son and pitmaster Barrett Black brought that traditional smoked goodness to the heart of Central Austin, near the University of Texas campus. If you’re a fan of the original location, you’ll love the Austin location. There’s never a long wait or long line, so leave your lawn chairs at home!
Open: Sunday – Saturday, 11:00 am – 9:00 pm.
1700 E Cesar Chavez St | Sliced brisket or brisket stuffed kolaches? Just get both and count your BBQ blessings. Bill Kerlin’s little BBQ trailer has been a consistent favorite on E. Cesar Chavez St. since 2013, offering a nice peppery and boldy bark brisket that’s perfectly moist and fatty where it counts.
Open: Wednesday – Sunday, 11:00 am – 4:00 pm.