Nearly every time someone asks me what my favorite food is, my response is BBQ.  And I don’t mean any random slab of meat thrown on some gas grill, I’m talking about that precious smoked Texas BBQ.

Sunday’s Texas Monthly BBQ Festival returned to the Long Center for the 6th year featuring 24 of the best barbecue pitmasters from across the state, selected by Texas Monthly Magazine and the BBQ Snob himself, Daniel Vaughn. Attendees were served bites and samples from each purveyor, along with a few treats from Gourdough’s Donuts, Crown Royal and Dude Sweet Chocolates. We went on an all out primal scavenger hunt, on a quest for the ultimate meat-sweat experience of the entire year. Here were 7 of our favorite bites.


Stiles Switch BBQ

Owner Shane Stiles and Pitmaster Lance Kirkpatrick fired up some of their amazing Smoked Bristket, Beef Ribs, Jalapeño cheddar sausage with a delicious fried boudin ball.  I live in North Austin so I frequent Stiles Switch pretty regularly, so you might be able to say I’m a little partial to Lance and the gang, but with BBQ like this, can you blame me?

La Barbecue


John Lewis and Esaul Ramos are always on point and Sunday was no different! with a serving of moist brisket, pulled pork, hot guts sausage and their signature condiments of pickled onions and some green chili sauce.

902 E. Cesar Chavez St.; 512-605-9696


Franklin BBQ

Franklin Barbecue has always been known for having the longest lines, so why should the festival be any exception to the rule. This time people didn’t have to show up at 8am to start the famous line, but the wait was as long as 30 minutes to get a bite of Aaron Franklin’s legendary bbq.  The brisket once again never disappoints but their real star was their pulled pork which was especially sweet, juicy and every bit of the perfection you would expect.

900 E. 11th St.; 512-653-1187


Killen’s Texas BBQ

I think it’s pretty safe to say that Ronnie Killen is the king of the Houston BBQ scene. He featured his peppery bark smoked moist brisket, pork belly and his gigantic, badass moist beef ribs.

3613 E. Broadway St., Pearland; 512-485-2272

Louie Mueller Barbecue

Lamb chops, beef rib and brisket bites were all to standard greatness from Louie Mueller BBQ.

 206 W. Second St., Taylor; 512-352-6206

Pecan Lodge

Lean, moist, however you choose, Pecan Lodge was definitely all the rage with their outstanding brisket, trimmed and to perfection with so much flavor. I rarely have dreams about meat, but this has been more of a fantasy since Sunday.

2702 Main St, Dallas, TX 75226

Two Bros. BBQ – Chef Jason Dady


Chef Dady featured his popular cherry-glazed baby back pork ribs, which are huge are huge and moist. By the time I made it to his booth, I was well beyond the point of meat-exhaustion but I couldn’t leave without getting a couple of ribs in my belly.  Totally worth it!

12656 West Ave, San Antonio, TX 78216