Central Texas BBQ Dynasties
What Becomes a Legend Most?
Do it Yourself Central Texas BBQ TrailNow that you're better acquainted with the members of the legendary barbecue dynasties of Central Texas, we've created an annotated list of the best barbecue joints in the area so you can sample them yourself. Think of it as a Do It Yourself BBQ Tour. There's no need for travel agents or tour buses, just hop in the car with the map, the list, some friends, and your appetite! Give our best to the pit masters, and tell them the Chronicle sent you.
1. Cooper's BBQ
403 N. Mays, Round Rock, 255-5638
The second generation of a Hill Country BBQ legend, Gary Cooper's been serving his family's style of barbecue in downtown Round Rock since 1985.
2. Louie Mueller Barbecue
206 W. Second, Taylor, 512/352-6206
The quality of meats served in this no frills downtown Taylor storefront has remained unchanged for more than 50 years. Savory meat jus with every order and a tangy potato salad round out the meal.
3. Rudy Mikeska's
300 W. Second, Taylor, 512/365-3722
The Taylor store is the cradle of the "first family" of Texas barbecue where they serve great meats and nontraditional sides dishes in a cafeteria-like setting.
4. Cross-Town Bar-B-Q
202 S. Ave. C, Elgin, 281-5594
Look for this place off the beaten path if you prefer your brisket, pork ribs, mutton, and all-beef sausage down home, greasy and full of flavor, smoked over a slow oak fire.
5. Southside Market & Barbecue
1212 U.S. 290 E., Elgin, 281-4650
This more-than-100-year-old sausage factory is one of the main reasons Elgin is known as the "sausage capital of Texas." Great varieties of sausage and $2 per pound brisket trimmings are a real treat, too.
6. Meyer's Elgin Smokehouse
188 U.S. 290 E., Elgin, 281-3331
The current generation of sausage-making Meyer brothers expanded the successful family sausage business in 1988 to include a casual restaurant where they serve smoked pork ribs, turkey breast, and brisket.
7. Kreuz Market
619 N. Colorado, Lockhart, 512/398-2361
Rick Schmidt carries on the family tradition in his big new building on Hwy. 183 S., where there's plenty of room for tour buses and regular customers alike.
8. Black's Barbecue
215 N. Main, Lockhart, 512/398-2712
Bragging rights in this longtime Lockhart mainstay are that Black's is the oldest barbecue restaurant around continually operated by the same family. Nationwide shipping available.
9. Smitty's Market
208 S. Commerce, Lockhart, 512/398-9344
This historic old building certainly qualifies as Texas barbecue hallowed ground, as it was home to the legendary Kreuz Market for years before Nina Schmidt Sells inherited it and opened her own store.
10. Luling City Market
633 East Davis, near US Hwy 183, Luling, 830/875-9019
One of City Market's claims to fame is that they don't have any forks in the restaurant. That's because their brisket is so fall-apart tender you'll want to feel how good it is. You buy all meats by the pound (or link) in the smokehouse in the back of the dining hall.
11. Fushak's Pit BBQ
920 Hwy. 80, San Marcos, 512/353-2713
Meats here are smoked over hickory in a rotisserie pit and emerge ultra-moist and juicy. Traditional side plus homemade banana pudding and pecan pie.
12. The Salt Lick
18300 FM 1826, Driftwood, 894-3117
Folks drive from all over Central Texas to relax among the picnic tables at the rustic outdoor pavillion and eat their barbecue family-style.
13. R.O.'s Outpost
Hwy. 71 W. at Hazy Hills Dr. (17 miles west of Y in Oak Hill), Spicewood, 264-1169
Complete barbecue menu is available here as well as chicken fried steak and fried quail. No matter how much meat you eat, you must save room for the stellar pies.
14. Opie's Barbecue
Hwy. 71 W. (20 miles past intersection w/ RR 620, turn right at gas station) beyond Spicewood, 830/693-8660
Choose pork chops, pork ribs, sausage, brisket, chicken, and sometimes cabrito from the 12-foot smoke pit, have it sauced, sit at the picnic tables and chow on down.
15. Pete Mesquite Bar-B-Que
2407 Hwy. 281 N., Marble Falls, 830/693-6531
Regularly voted the best barbecue in Burnet County, this place offers a tasty to-go menu for lake-bound boaters and picnic-goers, easy to grab from the drive-through window.
16. Inman's Ranch House Barbecue
Hwy. 281 N. at Sixth St., Marble Falls, 830/693-2711
Affordable prices and good meat have kept the working man coming back here for over 35 years.
17. Inman's Kitchen
809 W. Young (Hwy. 71 W.), Llano, 915/247-5257
The treasured family recipe for turkey sausage is what originally put Inman's on the map, and it's still as good as it ever was.
18. Cooper's Barbecue
604 W. Young (Hwy. 71 W.), Llano, 915/247-5713
Still the most famous of all the Cooper's outlets, this joint is admired by deer hunters from all over the country who make an annual pilgrimage to Llano to hunt and eat their barbecue here.
19. Cooper's Old Time Pit Bar-B-Q
Hwy. 87 S., Mason, 915/347-6897
The original outlet founded by George T. Cooper is still smokin' after all these years, successfully operated by Duard Dockal for nearly 20 years since the old man retired.