Barbecue is one of the quintessential family foods. Just the name conjures memories of family outings to the park, days at grandpa’s house and dad standing at the grill tending the wonders held within that metallic box.
Barbecue can also evoke real passion, with debates over which regional style is the most authentic, should the meat get a dry rub or be basted during cooking, sauce on the side or on the meat? Should the sauce be sweet or tangy or spicy or some combination of all of the above flavors? Texas BBQ in general and Central Texas style in particular is a little different from many other styles.
Texas style BBQ tends to prefer a dry rub over basting. Outside of Central Texas the sauce plays a more important role and you get a wider variety of flavors. Sauce in Central Texas is usually a robust tomato-based, somewhat sweet, peppery sauce which is almost always served on the side if at all. In other areas of Texas, though, the sauce is usually served on the meat and there’s less emphasis on the spicy aspect and more attention is paid to a balanced sweetness, sometimes combining vinegar or lemon juice. As far as meat goes pork is generally liked but beef brisket reigns supreme.
We have eaten at many places in Texas that offered various cuts of pork, beef, fowl, and even goat, but every place we've been to in Texas offers beef brisket. In Texas we take our BBQ seriously, and in an effort to help you decide where to eat we have put together a list of ten of the best BBQ restaurants in the state. In order to assemble our list, we took a look not only at the flavor of the meat but also the smoke level, the ambiance, the sauce, the variety, critical appraisal, and the overall barbecue experience.