One thing you need to know about Texans is not to get in between them and their smoked meats. Lucky for Austinites, some of the best barbecue in the world can be found right here in Central Texas.
And there are a lot of places to try out, whether you're a longtime resident, newcomer or just a barbecue fan. To get your barbecue journey started, here are some of Austin's favorite places to get their grub.
Franklin Barbecue, 900 E. 11th St.
Franklin Barbecue is known for having extremely long lines and amazing brisket from well-known pitmaster and "barbecue nerd" Aaron Franklin. From brisket to beef ribs and a Tipsy Texan sandwich, there's nothing more iconic to Austin than this particular barbecue joint. Along with barbecue lovers, celebrities such as Anthony Bourdain, Jimmy Kimmel and Barack Obama have celebrated the beloved spot. Since the pandemic, Franklin barbecue is only accepting preorders for extra safety precautions. Described by Texas Monthly as "serving the best barbecue in the known universe," Franklin Barbecue is a must-try if you're new to town. The dining room may be closed but curbside is available from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. daily except Mondays.
Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ, 11500 Manchaca Road
In a city where tacos and barbecue aren't hard to find, pitmaster Miguel Vida brings Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ to Austin with a twist on both food groups. Besides, is there anything more Austin than skipping tradition and creating something completely unique? Valentina's serves incredible brisket, pulled pork and chicken and beef fajita with a Mexican twist. Make sure to try their smoked brisket taco and order online before it all sells out. You can also dine in from 7:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday and 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Micklethwait Craft Meats, 1309 Rosewood Ave.
Micklethwait Craft Meats is no stranger to the well-known barbecue game in Austin. Also featured in Texas Monthly as one of the best barbecue spots in Texas, pitmaster Tom Mickethwait brings standout items to the Austin food game. With brisket, pork ribs, pulled pork, homemade sausages and so much more on their menu, Micklethwait Craft Meats is the perfect spot for meat lovers looking for a new destination. You can get your barbecue fix Thursday-Saturday either through preorder or walk up and there's even an outdoor picnic area that is open from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.
Terry Black's Barbecue, 1003 Barton Springs Road
Terry Black's namesake, operated by his sons, pitmasters Michael and Mark Black, takes Lockhart's barbeque knowledge to Austin. The meat market-style restaurant offers delicious brisket, pork rib, beef sausage and so much more for flavors and high-quality barbecue you can't miss out on. If you're new to town and thinking of sending a gift to your friends and family outside of the state, Terry Black's offers nationwide shipping for most of their meats. Austinites can preorder online for pickup or delivery, otherwise, the restaurant is open from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and until 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
LeRoy and Lewis Barbecue, 121 Pickle Road
This new-school and uniquely creative food truck proves that barbecue isn't just for the traditional establishments in town. LeRoy and Lewis Barbecue opened their doors in 2017 in the Cosmic Coffee + Beer Garden lot. Since then, pitmaster Evan LeRoy and Director of Operation Sayer Lewis have provided Austinites with amazing barbecue by also supporting local ranches in Texas. From brisket to sausage to barbacoa, LeRoy and Lewis Barbecue have all the fixins' and more for barbecue lovers in town. You can preorder online or eat in person from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. every day except Monday and Tuesday to try this inventive and mouth-watering barbecue.
Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew, 6610 N. Lamar Blvd.
Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew is one of those barbecue joints in Austin that helped create the lavish barbecue scene Austinites know and love. Lead pitmaster Lance Kirkpatrick learned his technique with a true Texan twist and provides Stiles Switch authentically delicious barbecue such as beef rib, pork ribs, sausage and so much more. Owner and Texas native Shane Stiles named Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew after a Central Texas railroad stop on the I&GN Railroad from the 1800s. You can preorder online or dine at the patio at Stiles Switch from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. every day except Monday.
Kerlin BBQ, 2207 E. Caesar Chavez St.
In the competitive barbecue market in Austin, this barbecue joint manages to hit top rank in all categories. Kerlin BBQ has been providing Austin with amazing brisket, pork ribs, pork shoulder and best of all, brisket and cheddar kolaches since 2014. Bill and Amelis Kerlin bring their own personal taste and preference to their menu, helping cater to most barbecue lovers in town. Dine-in is available from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday-Sunday or to preorder, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cooper's Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que, 217 Congress Ave.
For any barbecue lover who hasn't tried the pork ribs at Cooper's Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que, it's time to finally do so. Pitmasters Kenny Oestreich and Louis Garcia provide the family-owned and operated restaurant, along with any Austinite who walks by the delicious smelling barbecue, with great food on South Congress. Brisket, pork ribs, pork chops and beef ribs are only a small amount of what Cooper's has to offer. You can order for takeout or delivery if you don't want to dine in from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. daily.
Mum Foods, 2113 Manor Road
If you're thinking of skipping out on Mum Foods, think again. The farm-to-table barbecue joint can be found around town at the Barton Creek, Cedar Park and Mueller farmers' markets, along with their shop, Mum's brisket. Serving Austinites with quality brisket, amazing pastrami, sausage, chicken and delicatessen, Mum Foods has it all for meat lovers in town. You can preorder online from Thursday through Saturday.
La Barbecue, 2027 E. Cesar Chavez St.
In a state where barbecue is the shining star, La Barbecue has put themselves up to the task of providing Texas with one of the best barbecue spots. La Barbecue, owned by LeAnn Mueller and wife Ali Clem, has provided Austinites with brisket, beef and pork ribs, amazing sausages and so much more. Pitmaster Ali Clem has established her influence on La Barbecue with help from Francicso Saucedo, especially for the sausages and pork ribs for a perfect barbecue experience. You can preorder online or dine in from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday to try La Barbecue.
Brown's Bar-B-Que, 1901 S. Lamar Blvd.
It seems like the list of barbecue joints in Austin is never going to end, proving that there is no place better to find your favorite barbecue. Brown's Bar-B-Que adds to the list of incredible barbecue in town, providing South Austin with award-winning bone ribs, brisket, chicken, pulled pork and all the fixings. Pitmaster Daniel Brown has been in the barbecue game for a while, making incredible brisket and giving Austin yet another delicious barbecue spot. Visit from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, or 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sundays.
Green Mesquite BBQ, 1400 Barton Springs Rd.
An Austin classic, Green Mesquite BBQ has been providing Barton Springs with great barbecue since 1988. With affordable prices and all the mouthwatering flavors you can think of, this Austin barbecue spot switches thing up by featuring mesquite barbecue, a method of cooking meat over a fire using mesquite wood, giving it a distinct flavor. Try their smoked chicken wings for the best bite of chicken you'll ever have. Plus, both Austin locations are open for dine-in.
Using high-quality ingredients and wood, and cooking in small batches, low and slow is the motto Interstellar BBQ goes by. Of course, you can get all the classic favorites: brisket, pulled pork and ribs, but Interstellar has some pretty stellar signatures. Try the peach tea glazed pork belly, brisket taco, jalapeno popper sausage and you can even get bulk sauces or beef tallow to cook with. You can preorder your feast the day before or enjoy the open dining room and patio from 11 a.m. until sold out Wednesday-Sunday.
Isabella Lopes contributed to this story.
- 7 Austin-centric pranks that got us good this April Fool's Day - austonia ›
- From Mexico City, machetes have made a spark in the Austin food ... ›
- Elon Musk, Joe Rogan and Dave Chappelle walk into Stubb's BBQ ... ›
- Where to order Takeout comfort food in Austin - austonia ›
- Brazilian food places to try in Austin - austonia ›
- New to Austin? Here are 9 things to know about your new home ... ›
- Austin restaurants are waiting for federal relief. Will it come in time ... ›
- Franklin Barbecue will temporarily close due to COVID-19 - austonia ›
- 11 fried chicken sandwiches to try in Austin - austonia ›
- Austin restaurants Easter takeout meals to buy - austonia ›
- A trip worth the drive—11 unique places to visit in central Texas - austonia ›
- Top summer travel destinations and where Austin ranks - austonia ›
Heading to Q2 Stadium? Four months ago, it would've been tough to do so without dropping a pretty penny, but by mid-September, season ticket holders were clamoring to sell their seats for as little as a $10 beer.
While Austin FC continues to sell-out crowds—their most recent match was at capacity despite their record and scheduling conflict with a Texas Longhorns game—demand has dipped as new factors continue to pull down prices.
Austin FC's rocky season has been met with unbridled fan support, but it's also lost that honeymoon-phase traction as they fell to the bottom of the standings, faced a third COVID surge and were met with school, work and good ol' Texas football.
On Sept. 15, Austin FC fan Tanis Olvedo was willing to strike a deal: two beers for a ticket.
Austin FC went from $200+ tickets to this 😪 we down bad pic.twitter.com/Q3yOr7UBiC
— Darth Concha (@davidhidalgo44) September 15, 2021
Although he later sold at cost to another season ticket holder, many fans have seen the value of their season tickets take a serious dip. By Wednesday, Sept. 15, tickets that were once no lower than $36 had dropped to as little as $14.
Austin Anthem member Phil Stanch used his accounting skills to map out the dip in his ticket sales prices.
Phil Stanch found that the predicted value of his season tickets (in orange) will continue to trend downward. (Phil Stanch)
Here are the main reasons why fans say Austin FC's ticket prices have taken a tumble:
Austin FC's first home game on June 19 seemed like perfect timing—by June 16, 51% of Travis County residents were fully vaccinated. Mid-May saw Austin lift its risk-based guidelines to Stage 2 for the first time since the pandemic's onset just in time for the brand-new Q2 Stadium to open at 100% capacity.
But with the third surge sending Austin back into Stage 5 and hospitalizations skyrocketing in late summer, some diehard fans reluctantly began opting for the couch over a 20,738-capacity stadium.
That safety-consciousness comes tenfold for parents of young children who are still ineligible to get vaccinated, at-risk fans and the older population.
School starting and unvaccinated kids. That’s why we haven’t gone in a while. We are season ticket holders, so we have just given ours away to friends and coworkers that can go.— jae (@jae98342926) September 23, 2021
Austin has stuck to capacity and hasn't added any masking or testing requirements, garnering some criticism from fans.
I stopped going because of the COVID surge. I tried to sell my tickets a couple of times and they didn’t move. Then I decided to eat them to make space. Not happy the club didn’t create a mask or vaccination requirement.— Ruben Cavazos (@rcavazos) September 24, 2021
Just as the surge reached its peak in mid-August, schools across Austin once again opened in-person, leaving many families unable to go to late-night games on weeknights. Ten of the club's 17 home games have been on Wednesdays, Thursdays or Sundays—days that have quickly transformed into "school nights."
With 9-5ers unable to justify 8:30 p.m. weeknight games and kids tucked in bed by 10, fewer fans have been able to make their way to the games.
And with school comes another conflict of interest- tried-and-true Texas football is fully underway, and though Sept. 18 saw a sold-out crowd, a few Verde seats were left empty as the two teams played at home at the same time for the first time.
A combo of a number of things:— Tom H (@hallockitup) September 23, 2021
- Wednesday or Sunday games that end around 10pm are not appealing to people with jobs or kids.
- Being in last place hurts, no matter how passionate people are about the team. Nothing on the line.
- This is still Texas, and it’s football season.
While COVID and fall responsibilities have played a factor, Austin FC is also dealing with the unfortunate reality of being a last-place team.
Season ticket holder Doug Mayo was one of the 4% of season ticket holders who didn't renew his deal with the team. Once confident that he would easily sell the coveted tickets for their original price, the team's record plummeted alongside his own ticket prices. Mayo said that the team's 5-4-16 record caused their honeymoon phase to end prematurely.
"The newness wore off fast," Mayo said. "Nobody wants to go to a sporting event when it's 99% certain the team they support will lose."
For Mayo, it'll take a better record and more passionate play on the field to get him back in the 20,000-member season ticket waitlist.
"Mainly (I want) them to start acting more like a professional team," Mayo said. "We were so excited to have something to look forward to throughout COVID and it's just been a disappointment."
I've been a big supporter in general, I went to 4 games in the first half of the season, but no amount of "fan camaraderie" makes me want to spend $30-40 to see a team that plays without heart. And that's bc the last game I saw we actually won (albeit Houston was down a man).— Brown and in Austin (@DisraelTV) September 23, 2021
Still other reasons abound: some fans say it's those $10 beers themselves that cause prices to dip, while others say tickets were overpriced in the first place. Although Austin FC says 96% of season ticket holders decided to renew for 2022, many did so with a grain of salt, including longtime fan Shawn Collins.
"I have tickets in 110 (the Lexus Club) and even when the demand was crazy high I couldn't get face for my tickets because they were so high to begin with," Collins said. "When I got them I figured I'd make back what I paid on games I couldn't attend."
Austin FC's dip in ticket sales may be more of an MLS problem than a unique issue: gameday employee and University of Texas sports business student Ben Patterson said that prices shot up due to pre-season excitement and are now at more normal levels.
"The initial hype of finally having a pro sports team is likely what drove up season ticket prices at the start of the year," Patterson said. "Now that excitement has cooled off, ticket prices have dropped in value steeply."
But while five straight losses are enough to drive at least some fans away, plenty are committed to staying Verde through thick and thin.
It might not be easy being green, but thousands of fans are now enjoying the benefits of $20 tickets as they continue to pack Q2.
Let's not question why tickets are NOT expensive.
Let's just keep buying tickets at $20. Whaddaya say? https://t.co/HkhOjczzZJ
— AC (@Arc34_) September 24, 2021
- Austin FC single-match tickets sell out in minutes, frustrating fans ... ›
- Q2 stadium to hold 100% capacity for first Austin FC match - austonia ›
- Here's all the local eats Austin FC is bringing to Q2 Stadium - austonia ›
- Q2 Stadium under Stage 4: could COVID hinder the 'biggest party ... ›
- First-ever match at Q2 Stadium as the USWNT takes on Nigeria ... ›
- Austin FC's Q2 Stadium is the biggest party in Austin - austonia ›
In May, Circuit of the Americas chairman Bobby Epstein looked back on 10 years of Formula 1's U.S. Grand Prix at COTA confident that the race would be here to stay in Texas. But sources tell Austonia that securing another contract may be in jeopardy.
Some insiders worry that COTA's 2021 Grand Prix race might be its last.
The multi-day fest from Oct. 22-24 will include a 56-lap race over the 3.3-mile track, food and musical performances from two acts, including Billy Joel at COTA's 1,500-acre facility in Southeast Austin. But after this year, the U.S.' first F1-specific track could lose its headline event.
The facility's inability to secure a contract thus far comes down to the Texas Legislature, a new threat in Miami, and, most importantly, money.
The first F 1 race will take place in Miami next year. (Hard Rock Stadium)
Every year, Formula 1 receives roughly $25 million from Texas' Major Events Reimbursement Program, a taxpayer-funded initiative that helps bring big sporting events like 2017's Houston Super Bowl to the state. A 2019 report by the Reimbursements Program on that year's race said the "data is inconclusive" on if the event has a positive or negative economic impact on the state with the resources given. In 2018, the Austin-American Statesman reported that COTA had brought back a total of $75.7 million between 2015 and 2017 for hosting the U.S. Grand Prix.
Legal issues have also barred Epstein and Co. from securing another 10-year contract earlier: in 2018, the company lost its yearly $25 million bid after failing to submit a human trafficking prevention plan as part of its yearly application.
That same year, F1 managing director of commercial operations Sean Bratches told the Associated Press that the organization hopes to stay at COTA "for many years to come."
However, in May, the racing league announced that it had secured a 10-year contract to hold the Miami Grand Prix as American interest in the sport soared following the three-season "Drive to Survive" documentary, which gives behind-the-scenes looks at drivers and races of the Formula One World Championship.
Epstein is optimistic about the new U.S. location and told Autoweek in May that "more races in our time zones are good for the sport."
"I think we're getting double the impact this way," Epstein said. "Miami should sell out huge the first year and maybe the second year and then after that, I think we'd be spitting audience if we were around the same time on the calendar. So the spread is fantastic."
Bobby Epstein recognizes the 1 millionth customer of COTA in 2013. (COTA/Facebook)
The new F1 venture may impact COTA's contract, however: in an opinion piece for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, writer Mac Engel said Texas is unlikely to fork over taxpayer money if the facility is no longer the only F1 track in the U.S.
According to Engel, the Major Events Reimbursements Program agrees to provide funding only "if Austin holds the only F1 race in the country."
Epstein hasn't addressed such claims; by contrast, he feels as though there's room for a third race in the U.S. as ticket sales rebound after COVID.
"In the first week, we sold pretty much all the tickets we put up for sale and we plan to break the 2019 attendance record," Epstein told Autoweek. "Texas was the first place to lift COVID-19 restrictions (in the U.S.) and put on sporting events, and we're full. We're at 100% capacity.
Despite ventures to diversify revenue at COTA—Epstein's USL soccer team Austin Bold has seen its own share of troubles, and the facility plans to develop into a multi-faceted entertainment arena complete with music venues, a waterpark, condominiums and an 11-story hotel—a loss of its primary event could be devastating for the $300 million complex.
F1 has rarely lasted more than a decade at venues in the U.S. over the last century; let's hope Austin breaks that curse.
COTA's media relations team did not immediately get back to Austonia for comment.
- NASCAR comes to austin, here's how it went - austonia ›
- NASCAR returning to Austin's COTA for second year - austonia ›
- Formula 1 announces Miami Grand Prix, COTA no longer only U.S. ... ›
- Travis County to vaccinate 3k at COTA drive-thru event - austonia ›
- W Series announce F1 partnership race at COTA in 2021 - austonia ›