No exploration of the Lone Star State, whether you’re a tourist or a born-and-bred native, is complete without a deep study of the art of barbecue. Tie on a bib and belly up at one of these authentic West Texas barbecue joints.
Stillwater Barbecue, Abilene: The brisket, smoked to perfection with oak and mesquite, has locals and connoisseurs alike singing its praises. Be sure to save room for the homemade banana pudding.
Rib Hut, El Paso: This student hangout near the University of Texas features smoked ribs, brisket and chicken, all smoked in-house.
Rose Bar B Q, Odessa: If an old-timey hole-in-the-wall barbecue is what you’re after, this is your stop. Try the Cowboy Pie, a variation of the Frito pie, but instead of beef, they use smoked brisket. There’s no website, but Texas Monthly gave them an honorable mention in their best of list in 2013.
Tyler’s Barbecue, Amarillo: Inside this little red-painted restaurant is some of the best smoked ribs you’ll ever taste. But foodies and locals will also tell you that basically everything else on the menu is worth the trip.
The Pit Bar-B-Que, San Angelo: This little place bills itself as Austin-style barbecue, but it’s famous for a quirky sandwich they call The Jailbreak. Peanut butter and jelly spread on brisket sounds crazy, or even immoral, but it has won over many converts.
The State Line, El Paso: The melt-in-your-mouth brisket is the star of the menu, but homemade bread and pies also get top billing. If you go, check the schedule for live music within the walls of its outdoor courtyard.
Wiley’s Bar-B-Q, Lubbock: Though a relative newcomer at 20 years, the restaurant has a vintage, far-flung feel that uses West Texas cultivated mesquite to infuse its meats. The smoked pork ribs are a hands-down fan favorite.
KD’s Bar-B-Q, Midland: Your choice of mouth-watering, mesquite-smoked sausages, brisket, chopped beef and turkey, all sold by the pound.