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Texas BBQ Road Trip in June or July

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    Texas BBQ Road Trip in June or July

    I hope this is the right forum to post this, but please move it is not.

    I am planning a big 7-10 BBQ Road Trip in central TX. My plan is to fly into Dallas (because it's cheaper and non-stop), then rent SOMETHING and drive around Dallas, Longview, Lexington, Austin, then back to Dallas and return the SOMETHING.

    1: BBQ Joints:
    I'm using TexasMonthly.com's Top 50 and Texas BBQ Pose's Top 41 as my guide for restaurants, but I'm open to suggestions. (Some of the comments suggest these lists are either out of date or written by "Yuppies in Priuses from Austin." If there's a "not to miss" place in Dallas, Austin, Houston, or San Antonio -- or anywhere in that general area.... I want to know about it!

    2: RV vs car/van

    But the real debate in the house here is: Class C RV & "Camp Walmart" vs. renting a large vehicle and getting cheap hotel rooms. The RV is more expensive but more flexible. The car/SUV/van offers more flexibility driving, as my wife doesn't want to drive the RV, but we'd have to get a hotel every night and go back to our hotel in between meals, vs just going back to the RV.

    I'm guessing you guys have done this. What are your thoughts?

    3. Time

    I'm was thinking 10 ten days. Is that too much? Am I just going to explode from meat? How long would you do? A week? Five days? The idea behind 10 days is that we wouldn't have to rush and could get in quite a few restaurants.

    4. Strategies?

    What about other strategies from those of you that have done this?

    5. Other things to see/do in between meals? I'll be in Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Waco, and North Houston. I only know of the Alamo and The Riverwalk.

    Last edited by wcpreston; April 28, 2021, 12:02 PM.

    I wanna go!
    Keep us posted on your trip with pictures and reviews.
    If you're driving go easy on the PBR.


      No tips here, but this sounds like a great trip.


        I can help with driving the RV! I’ll meet you in Dallas. AND split the cost too. What? Your wife won’t go for it? 🤣😂


        • wcpreston
          wcpreston commented
          Editing a comment
          My wife thinks my Prius is too big to drive. LOL. She's gotten used to driving a Honda Fit and it's super small. And RV is simply out of the question.

        While Dallas used to be a BBQ wasteland, there a number of places to try here. I would suggest the beef ribs at Pecan Lodge. But, if you are going to be in Austin, I would recommend heading 30 miles south to Lockhart and trying the Clod at Smitty’s, the sausage at Blacks and the brisket at Kruez. I am afraid that Texas has more BBQ joints to eat at than you have days in Texas.


        • jlazar
          jlazar commented
          Editing a comment
          Agree. Not hitting Lockhart would be a big miss. Also, recommend the Salt Lick with is just south/west of Austin in Dripping Springs.

        • wcpreston
          wcpreston commented
          Editing a comment
          Oh, I've been to the Salt Lick and I agree! I have no problem driving, as this is really all we'll be doing. Driving, eating, and resting. LOL.

        • gcdmd
          gcdmd commented
          Editing a comment
          City Market in Luling is not far from Lockhart. It has been on the Texas Monthly list in the past. I'm not sure about recently. I've eaten at CM several times in the past, and it's always been good.

          +1 on The Salt Lick, BTW
          Last edited by gcdmd; April 28, 2021, 03:57 AM.

        I'll have to find the thread but several of us talked about a meat-up at Snow's in Lexington. COVID has prevented it so far but now that things are opening up we might want to get together. Let us know the dates of your journey.


        • Troutman
          Troutman commented
          Editing a comment
          I forgot about the Snows meat up. I still have that project in neighboring Elgin so I’ll be up there this summer. Let’s move this to the front burner

        I haven’t done a BBQ road trip like you’re describing, but my thoughts are an RV could be problematic, parking in some of the places you want to visit. I’ve had a lot of experience driving a 30’ RV on some road trips. Also an RV will slow you down time wise, as you normally don’t drive as fast as you would in a car and cannot maneuver as well. I’ve spent a week in one traveling in Alaska and thoroughly enjoyed it, but we also stayed in campgrounds. If you’re comparing going back to a hotel vs. a Walmart parking lot, I’d take the hotel anytime. But that’s just me. They’re also a little cramped inside, even with just 2 people. And they’re big gas guzzlers, about 9-10 miles per gallon. Expect to spend a lot on fuel. Also, it takes a lot of time hooking up sewer, lights etc. and leveling it out and unhooking everything when you wanna leave.

        If you choose the hotel route, here’s a suggestion. Before your trip, get or print out a map of Texas. Mark on the map the BBQ joints you want to visit for sure. Don’t worry about trying to find a hotel every night. Consider renting a hotel in just 2 or 3 different cities. Space them out to where you can visit 2-4 joints on your list that are fairly close to that hotel. If you’re gonna be in the Hill Country/Austin area, several top notch BBQ joints are easily within just a few hours drive of where you decide to stay. Maybe consider a hotel with a kitchenette and small fridge in the room. And also, you don’t have to go back to the room after each meal. The Hill Country is beautiful scenery with a lot of really neat shops and things to do in some unique little towns. If you’re gonna be anywhere near Fredericksburg, do yourself a favor. Spend a day there just strolling all the shops and restaurants on Main Street. Awesome little town! They have wineries there also.

        Also, I would recommend 10 days if possible. There’s a ton of great BBQ places in Texas, and a whole lot in the areas you’re talking about. Like you said, you don’t want to be rushed.

        You can trust the Texas Monthly issue you’re using as a guide. They won’t let you down. And I’m jealous You’re gonna have fun.
        Last edited by Panhead John; April 27, 2021, 07:59 PM.


        • Panhead John
          Panhead John commented
          Editing a comment
          wcpreston After I wrote all that, I then noticed you mentioned a Class C RV. So maybe some of my comments on the RV won’t apply in this case, depending on the size you’re looking at. My bad.

        • wcpreston
          wcpreston commented
          Editing a comment
          Panhead John I think the rest of your comments are still pretty valid.

        • Troutman
          Troutman commented
          Editing a comment
          Gotta agree with the old Panhead, a lot of these Central Texas BBQ joints are in little out of the way towns. The RV may work to your advantage for a place to stay but parking and maneuvering around unfamiliar territory could be a problem. I’d lean toward a good plan and cheap motels.

        Does Southwest not have a commuter service from Love Field to Houston.
        My sister lives 10 mind from Love and I remember her saying she could hop a commuter flight down for $30-40.
        I've driven Dallas to San Antonio a few times years ago, it was a 5-6 hour drive back then, who knows with todays traffic.
        Rip into DFW and do your thing in that area, hop a commuter down to IAH, is that the airport code for Houston? I used to know most of them from my air cargo days.
        Do the Houston area then head north like Panhead John says into hill country. You gotta hit the San Antonio area and is it New Breafuls and Gruen?.
        Yes for the BBQ and especially for the Mexican.


        • wcpreston
          wcpreston commented
          Editing a comment
          The plan is to do it a little at a time. Current plan, modified to hit Snow's on our first Saturday, and cutting out Longview based on a few comments.

          Dallas -> Waco -> Lexington -> Austin -> San Antonio -> North Houston -> Dallas

          Nothing is over 3-4 hours. At that rate, it's quicker to drive than fly – and cheaper.

          I haven't decided on the list yet. But I made another post with my ideas so far.

          I live in San Diego. We have Mexican food. Don't get me started on TexMex.
          Last edited by wcpreston; April 28, 2021, 12:06 PM.

        Here is the list I'm currently working with. I took the Top 41 from Texas BBQ Pose and the Top 50 from TexasMonthly and deleted ones they said are permanently closed. This list has the places shown on both lists, then sorted by region, then by the rating that TexasMonthly gave them. Obviously I'm not going to be able to hit all of these. Any that I can definitely cross off? Any that are really good that are missing?
        Region City Rating Name
        Austin/San Antonio LEXINGTON 5 Snow’s
        Austin/San Antonio AUSTIN 4.75 Franklin Barbecue
        Austin/San Antonio TAYLOR 4.75 Louie Mueller Barbecue
        Austin/San Antonio AUSTIN 4.75 Micklethwait Craft Meats
        Austin/San Antonio SAN ANTONIO 4.5 2M Smokehouse
        Austin/San Antonio AUSTIN 4.5 La Barbecue
        Austin/San Antonio AUSTIN 4.5 Stiles Switch
        Austin/San Antonio LOCKHART 4.25 Kreuz Market
        Austin/San Antonio BELTON 4.25 Miller’s Smokehouse
        Austin/San Antonio AUSTIN 4.25 Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ
        Dallas/Fort Worth region LONGVIEW 4.75 Bodacious Bar-B-Q.
        Dallas/Fort Worth region DALLAS 4.75 Cattleack Barbeque
        Dallas/Fort Worth region MCKINNEY 4.5 Hutchins BBQ
        Dallas/Fort Worth region TYLER 4.5 Stanley’s Famous Pit Barbecue
        Dallas/Fort Worth region DALLAS 4.25 Pecan Lodge
        Dallas/Fort Worth region FORT WORTH 4 Heim Barbecue
        Dallas/Fort Worth region JEFFERSON 4 Joseph’s Riverport Bar-B-Cue
        Dallas/Fort Worth region DALLAS 4 Lockhart Smokehouse
        Houston region SPRING 4.75 CorkScrew BBQ
        Houston region BRENHAM 4.75 TRUTH Barbeque
        Houston region TOMBALL 4.75 Tejas Chocolate Craftory
        Houston region PEARLAND 4.5 Killen’s Barbecue
        Houston region HOUSTON 4.5 Roegels Barbecue Co.
        Houston region HEARNE 4.25 Blue Moon BBQ
        Houston region BRYAN 4.25 Fargo’s Pit BBQ
        Houston region HOUSTON 4.25 Pinkerton’s Barbecue

        Following the above methodology, these are the ones that would get left out (that weren't on both lists).
        Austin/San Antonio LULING 4.5 City Market
        Austin/San Antonio SAN MARCOS 4.5 Hays Co. Bar-B-Que
        Austin/San Antonio HONDO 4.25 Heavy’s Outdoor Bar-B-Que
        Austin/San Antonio AUSTIN 4.25 Terry Black’s Barbecue
        Austin/San Antonio GONZALES 4 Baker Boys BBQ
        Austin/San Antonio LLANO 4 Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que
        Austin/San Antonio BURNET 4 Payne’s Bar-B-Q Shak
        Austin/San Antonio Pflugerville Brotherton’s Black Iron BBQ
        Austin/San Antonio Austin Brown’s Bar-B-Que
        Austin/San Antonio Waco Guess Family Barbecue
        Austin/San Antonio Georgetown John Mueller Black Box Barbecue
        Austin/San Antonio Austin Kerlin BBQ
        Austin/San Antonio Austin LeRoy and Lewis Barbecue
        Austin/San Antonio Buda Louie’s BBQ
        Dallas/Fort Worth region CRESSON 4.25 BBQ on the Brazos
        Dallas/Fort Worth region FORNEY 4 4-T’s Bar-B-Q
        Dallas/Fort Worth region WAXAHACHIE 4 Harris Bar-B-Que
        Dallas/Fort Worth region Cooper Fatboy’s BBQ
        Dallas/Fort Worth region Grapevine Meat U Anywhere/Grapevine
        Dallas/Fort Worth region Trophy Club Meat U Anywhere/Trophy Club
        Dallas/Fort Worth region Royse City Smoke Sessions Barbecue
        Dallas/Fort Worth region Dallas The Slow Bone
        Dallas/Fort Worth region Plano Winners BBQ-Plano
        Dallas/Fort Worth region Grand Prairie Zavala’s Barbecue
        Houston Region HOUSTON 4.25 The Pit Room
        Houston region HOUSTON 4 Gatlin’s BBQ


        • Panhead John
          Panhead John commented
          Editing a comment
          Good idea. Everyone says the lines are shorter Tuesday-Friday. Closed Monday’s.

        • 58limited
          58limited commented
          Editing a comment
          wcpreston Pre-COVID the line was hours long every day. I got there early at 8:30am (my pickup order was for 10:30am) and there must have been over 200 in line already on a Thursday. I went grocery shopping (I was heading to a cabin in Fredericksburg for a short vacation) and stocked up on supplies. Came back at 10am and there was 300-400 in line. BBQ was amazing! Especially since I walked up to the back and walked right out loaded down. I tried not to smile as I walked by the line, it was hard.
          Last edited by 58limited; April 28, 2021, 03:21 PM.

        • wcpreston
          wcpreston commented
          Editing a comment
          Holy crap! Impressive, though.

        1 1/2 hours east of Houston in Beaumont we have a new BBQ place called 1701 BBQ. It hasn't been reviewed by Texas Monthly yet but they are awesome! As good as anything in Central Texas and getting better. They opened just after Thanksgiving and their pitmaster has dialed it in - best BBQ joint in this region. I ate there a week ago and it was the best yet, I didn't think they could get any better but they did. Never had a bad meal there, the turkey breast is great.

        They open at 11am until sold out and there is a line everyday.
        Last edited by 58limited; April 28, 2021, 03:00 AM.


          Agree on Lockhart. You have 3-4 places right there in one venue. Also in Houston I’d move The Pit room up top and Roegels down. Another strong consideration is Corkscrew in Spring here in Htown.

          To be honest that’s a pretty ambitious list. It may start tasting the same after a while. Texas has so much more to offer food wise. But hey if you even hit a third of your list you could definitely write a book on your adventure. We’ll be watching, good luck !!!


            Several years ago when we had a travel trailer, we did a TX BBQ trip and stayed in each RV park for 2-3 nights and went different directions each day to BBQ joints within 10-25 miles. In a Class C, you would have to tow a car for getting around w/o having to unhook utilities, etc., then hookup, level, etc. upon return after each meal.

            If you have an RV and don't use RV parks, then you have the problem of where to park at night, plus managing your power and water, both fresh and grey. You will not want to be w/o air conditioning in TX in July!!
            We never even considered staying in Walmart parking lots, Cracker Barrel, etc. as that is disgusting to us.

            I would find hotels and stay in each for a couple of days, and head out to different joints each meal. The price diff. between 'cheap' and good hotels might not be as big as you think.

            Either way, eat up, enjoy the TX hospitality, and enjoy your trip!!


            • Clark
              Clark commented
              Editing a comment
              Panhead John That didn't come out right. I like Walmart but would find sleeping in their parking lot along with semis, RVs, bums, thieves, etc. to be disgusting.

            • wcpreston
              wcpreston commented
              Editing a comment

              I knew what you meant. My wife's not a huge fan, either.

              On a trip like this, I'm not "camping." I'm "road-tripping" and I'm just looking for a place to park an RV so I can sleep. Semis keep to themselves and RV folk are quieter in parking lots than in a camping ground IMO.

              I've never had bums be an issue, and I don't leave anything out for thieves to steal.

            • Panhead John
              Panhead John commented
              Editing a comment
              Clark Your second explanation was SO MUCH better. 😂😂😂
              Last edited by Panhead John; April 28, 2021, 01:47 PM.

            It has been a number of years ago and pitmasters do change, but I wasn’t impressed with Bodacious Bar-B-Q. Looking at your schedule you will be on the Keto diet for this trip.


              If you can centralize your destinations then consider air bnb etc as an alternative to hotels or cheap fleabag joints. Youre likely to be able to find places to stay that allow you to drive to a few places, come back "home", relocate in a few days and do it over again. It will be more comfortable than a motel or rv and have more amenities. I would also plan on you discovering you just want a night off and a salad somewhere in the middle of your journey and then you are really gonna appreciate a sofa and a place to chill.


              • Loren
                Loren commented
                Editing a comment
                Airbnb is what I was thinking too - all the benefits of a home at hotel (or less) prices.

              • wcpreston
                wcpreston commented
                Editing a comment
                I like Airbnb and have used it before, except for their cancellation policies. I'm going to be tweaking this trip for a while and I don't want to get stuck paying 50% of something because I changed my mind.
                Last edited by wcpreston; April 28, 2021, 12:43 PM.

              Just an addendum here and you might have already thought about this, but I’d definitely try and schedule it for June if you can. The earlier the better. July heat in Texas can be brutal, not that June is a picnic, but it won’t be as hot. Most of the places you’ll be visiting "usually" have long lines to get in. I wouldn’t want to wait outside for too long in our July heat, even in the morning time.

              Bring a couple of umbrellas in the car for shade while standing in line maybe? And also your own pillows from home to use in a hotel or wherever you stay.

              Addendum Pt. 2 You’ve probably already thought of this....But a lot of these places are open "till they sell out" Which means a lot of them will usually close after 1:00 - 3:00 in the afternoon. Some of the places will be open for dinner of course, so plan accordingly. You might only be able to visit 2 in one day. When you hit a real popular place, you might get there early in the morning and not leave til after noon or 1:00. Just in case, be sure and check their hours before deciding on where to go that day.
              Last edited by Panhead John; April 28, 2021, 10:14 AM.


              • wcpreston
                wcpreston commented
                Editing a comment
                Right now I'm leaning to the first week in June. We will have lawn chairs and umbrellas with us at all times.

              • jfmorris
                jfmorris commented
                Editing a comment
                I was thinking this myself when I saw the June or July timeframe. If he REALLY wanted to be miserable, wait until the middle of August!

              • smokin fool
                smokin fool commented
                Editing a comment
                10-4 on the August thing, be spending more time in the laundromat washing tee shirts than hitting Q joints


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