Austin's Top 8 BBQ Restaurants and Trailers

By Dejan B.. Published on May 15, 2017

Austin is famous for its BBQ joints and no visit to central Texas is complete without going to one of these amazing dining spots. To save you the trouble from spending hours of research online for the best barbecue restaurants and trailers in the city, we have created a list of Austin's top 8 barbecue places to visit.

Franklin Barbecue

Franklin Barbecue is one of the most popular BBQ joints in Austin and you will probably have to wait in line for a couple of hours before getting a chance to try their amazing brisket. The owner, Aaron Franklin decided to open up a small food trailer back in 2009. Little did he know that in a couple of years, Franklin Barbecue will be mentioned in New York Times and nominated for several awards because of its delicious brisket, fabulous pulled pork, and amazing sausages. I mean, President Obama visited this place recently and Franklin Barbecue is featured in the film "Chef". Besides briskets, at this Austin BBQ joint, you can also get some amazing turkey and chopped beef. Keep in mind that Franklin Barbecue doesn't work on Mondays.

Franklin Barbecue in Austin

Must-try: Brisket, pulled pork, and sausage.

La Barbecue

Situated in a food trailer at Aztec Food Park, La Barbecue is run by LeAnn Mueller who is the daughter of the legendary BBQ master Bobby Mueller and her wife Alison Clem. The pitmaster Dylan Taylor is in charge of preparing beef ribs, briskets, and sausages. He believes that Central Texas has its own style when it comes to BBQ, but also adds how each BBQ place in Austin has its own signature made from different flavors. Adding chipotle and granulated garlic to a couple of things is what they do around here, and judging by the lengthy lines in front of the trailer, La Barbecue is doing just fine.

La Barbecue picnic tables

Quick Tip: La Barbecue doesn't work on Mondays and Tuesdays. Make sure to come in the mornings because once food sells out, they close the trailer.


Located close to the University of Texas and set inside a nice historic building, Freedmen's offers delicious smokehouse barbecue and has a lovely beer garden with a beautiful patio. The interior of this place is amazing. The bar is a soda fountain counter from the early 20th century and there is also a cool Whiskey Wall that features an extensive whiskey list from all around the globe.

Freedmen's, cocktail lounge & beer garden in circa-1869 landmark building with vintage decoration.

When it comes to food, Pitmaster Evan LeRoy is hanging around in the backyard and preparing BBQ specialties like pulled pork, brisket, and pork ribs. For starters, you can get jalapeno cheese, smoked beets, or pit chili. In addition to the meat that is ordered by weight, there are several sides to choose from including horseradish potato salad, grilled cabbage slaw, and house made pickles. If you still have some room left for dessert, make sure to try smoked banana pudding or smoked chocolate mousse.

Watch out for: Freedmen's offers an amazing collection of craft cocktails.

Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew

Featuring a simple interior with wooden tables and a nice bar, Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew is situated in the Violet Crown Shopping Center and attracts large crowds of visitors each day. The pitmaster Lance Kirkpatrick who is a Texas native with over 15 years of cooking experience makes sure that all BBQ dishes are prepared in a classic Texas style. Smoked meats on the menu include brisket, pulled pork, turkey breast, Texas frito pie, St. Louis pork ribs, and sausage. Besides delicious BBQ meats, Switch BBQ & Brew has an extensive list of Texas craft beers on tap. Their version of corn casserole is super tasty and sweets like homemade peach cobbler and banana pudding are definitely worth ordering.

Stiles Switch BBQ Austin

Interesting Fact: You've probably seen the classic teenage movie from the nineties "Dazed & Confused" with Matthew McConaughey. Some parts of the movie were shot right here at one of the oldest shopping centers in Central Texas, The Violet Crown Shopping Center.

Iron Works BBQ

Iron Works BBQ was originally built from the same materials which were used in the construction of the State Capitol building. The restaurant was opened in 1978 and is still quite famous for their traditional Central Texas BBQ. The mixture of salt and pepper with paprika together with some secret ingredients is what attracts hundreds of people daily. Don't leave this BBQ joint before trying their delicious beef ribs, pulled pork, smoked turkey, and pork ribs. Iron Works BBQ also offers a variety of craft beers including shiner black stout, real ale brewers cut helles, and independence brewing stash IPA, as well as desserts like pies and cobblers. The good news is that the restaurant cooks plenty of food each day and they rarely sell out.

Iron Works BBQ Austin

Who was here: Many Hollywood celebrities have walked through the doors of Iron Works BBQ including Kevin Costner, Leonardo Dicaprio, Bob Dylan, and Jay Leno.

The Salt Lick BBQ

Located just a 30-minute drive from Austin, Salt Lick BBQ is definitely one of the most famous BBQ places in the region. The family BBQ recipes date back to the 19th century and with both an indoor and an outdoor area with picnic tables, Salt Lick BBQ is a perfect place to have a nice meal with family and friends. Some of the house specialties include homemade cobblers, brisket, ribs, and chicken. If there is some space left after the meat dishes, I advise you to try a slice of their homemade pecan pie. Guests will also find plenty of souvenirs like cookbooks, t-shirts, coffee mugs, and caps.

The Salt Lick BBQ Austin

Special Tips: Salt Lick BBQ has "bring your own beer" policy, which is great news for many visitors. While other barbecue places don't work late, this joint is opened every day of the week until 10 pm.

Kerlin BBQ

Consider being one of the best barbecue trailers in Austin, Kerlin BBQ has a high rating on many social media including TripAdvisor and Yelp. Bill Kerlin, who is originally from Arizona, is the owner and the pitmaster of this fine BBQ trailer. Some of the signature dishes include the smoked brisket and the kolache. From sides, I would recommend jalapeno dill potato salad and charro beans. Texas Monthly describes this place as "One of the finest examples of Texas-style pulled pork", while the Austin Chronicle wrote, "Pork ribs and sausage to die for".

Kerlin BBQ picnic area

A piece of Advice: Make sure to come early, since Kerlin BBQ sells out meat quickly.

Terry Black's Barbecue

The original owner Terry Black passed on his knowledge of making tasty BBQ specialties to his twin sons, Mark and Michael. Today, Terry Black's Barbecue offers amazing brisket, beef ribs, chopped beef, turkey, and pork ribs. There are family packs available at budget-friendly prices and desserts like peach cobbler and mini pecan pie are to die for.

Terry Blacks has a large building with a large parking lot

Quick tip: Terry Black's Barbecue offers catering services. You can either call to order or fill out the form on their website.


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