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Newer Austin barbecue joints join Franklin in Texas Monthly list

Three Austin barbecue joints made Texas Monthly's top list, including LeRoy & Lewis. (LeRoy & Lewis/Instagram)

Austin barbecue is getting the recognition it deserves, taking up three spaces on Texas Monthly's top best BBQ joints list.


While Fort Worth's Goldee's Barbecue topped the list, coming in second was Austin's Interstellar BBQ; in fifth, LeRoy & Lewis; and in seventh, Franklin Barbecue. Four more Austin joints made the unranked list.

The list, which is the sixth of its kind to come out since 1997, was formulated after 411 barbeque locations across the state were visited by Texas Monthly and narrowed down by barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn and food writer Patricia Sharpe. The writers made note of a new generation of pitmasters that are challenging tradition and giving tried and true places a run for their money.

Interstellar BBQ, 12233 Ranch Road 620 N. 

Much can be said about Interstellar BBQ, which beat out Franklin Barbecue in their list debut.

Interstellar opened in 2019 from John Bates, 46; Carlos Cruz, 43; and Warren McDonald, 53; serving up all the usuals with some traditional methods while also experimenting where they can.

Their secrets behind the goodness? Texas Monthly writes: "(Bates') brisket is simple: salt, pepper, garlic, and obsessive heat management. For his pork ribs, he eschews the usual glaze but, knowing diners expect a little sweetness, adds brown sugar to the rub. He also smokes what he calls the Tipsy Turkey Breast, which marinates overnight in hefeweizen."

LeRoy and Lewis Barbecue, 121 Pickle Road (food truck parked at Cosmic Coffee) 

Another newer kid on the block is LeRoy and Lewis Barbecue.

Serving up "new school barbecue, old school service," LeRoy and Lewis opened in 2017 from pitmaster Evan LeRoy, 35.

What does new school barbecue mean? Texas Monthly writes: "At LeRoy and Lewis, the new-school approach means Evan LeRoy eschews pork ribs (though on Saturdays he does offer "bacon ribs"—massive pork ribs with the belly still attached) and turkey (except around Thanksgiving) and serves brisket only on Saturdays and Sundays."

Franklin Barbecue, 900 E. 11th, Austin

It's not a barbecue list without the iconic Franklin Barbecue.

Since 2009, Jordan Jackson, 39; Megan Nesland, 38; Matthew Van Orden, 46, have been serving up masterful barbeque that saw lines stretch around the block pre-pandemic. In 2013 and 2017, it captured the number one and number two spots, respectively, on the Texas Monthly list.

Should it still be in the top? Texas Monthly writes: "Franklin's drop into the bottom half of our top ten isn't a sign that the beloved establishment has diminished—no one does the traditional barbecue lineup better. But it is a sign that the new wave is reshaping the scene in ways we couldn't have imagined a few short years ago."

Honorable Austin mentions from the list (unranked)

  • Distant Relatives
  • La Barbecue
  • Micklethwait Craft Meats
  • Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ

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What's new in Austin food & drink this week:

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  • Nixta Taqueria Chef Edgar Rico named to Time Magazine's Time 100 Next influencer list, after winning a James Beard Award earlier this year.
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