Best BBQ Fest in the State was Texas Monthly’s BBQFest in Austin

Saturday 10th, November 2018 / 11:51 Written by
Best BBQ Fest in the State was Texas Monthly’s BBQFest in Austin

Best BBQ Fest in Texas Included 30 of Texas’ Pitmasters Firing Up Their Cue

If you are really a die hard fan of barbecue, Texas BBQ in particular, then you were probably at the Texas Monthly‘s BBQFest 2018 which was held in Austin at the Long Center for the Performing Arts November 3-4. This event-filled weekend celebration of all things BBQ was definitely the place to be on one of the few sunny days Central Texas has had in over a month and thousands of my best meat-loving friends thought so too.

Best BBQ Fest

Best BBQ Fest –
Photo Credit Julia Keim

The Texas Monthly BBQ Fest celebrated the award-winning magazine’s latest list of “Top 50 BBQ Joints in Texas” with a weekend full of exciting events. The celebration kicked off on Saturday, November 3, with ‘Cue Course, followed by the first-ever Franklin & Friends event that same day. The main festival itself took place on Sunday, November 4 at the Long Center.

For those looking for the ultimate festival-going experience, Texas Monthly BBQ Fest ticket buyers could opt for a VIP ticket which included a one-hour advanced entry, a pair of complimentary drink tickets, annual subscription to Texas Monthly Magazine, and a special Texas Monthly gift. For the hardcore BBQ fans, Texas Monthly had offered a 24-hour advanced ticket sale window exclusively for TMBBQ Club members. Anyone who opted for membership in the TMBBQ Club got them BBQ gear and quarterly BBQ content by Texas Monthly BBQ Editor Daniel Vaughn, as well as early access to BBQ event tickets and ticket discounts to other Texas Monthly signature events. Now that’s a darn good deal ‘cue’ fans. Maybe you should join the club now so you don’t miss upcoming events! To join the TMBBQ Club, visit

Best BBQ Fest

Best BBQ Fest

Texas Monthly also offered several other ticketed events leading up to Texas Monthly BBQ Fest on Sunday, November 4. On Saturday, November 3, the second annual ‘Cue Course, a BBQ educational experience, took place at Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew (6610 N Lamar Blvd). Hosted by Texas Monthly’s Barbecue Editor Daniel Vaughn, the event delved deep into barbecue education with a hands-on instructional course from certified instructors from the Texas A&M University Animal Science Department with private pit tours and a loaded BBQ lunch including beverages.

Photo Credit: Hannah Vickers)

Later that Saturday evening, the BBQ Fest introduced the first-ever Franklin & Friends event, hosted by James Beard-winner and local pitmaster Aaron Franklin at Franklin Barbecue (900 E 11th St). Attendees were treated to an exciting evening of cold beer and live-fire cooking from Franklin himself as well as pitmasters Evan LeRoy of LeRoy & Lewis, Sam Jones of North Carolina’s Sam Jones BBQ, and Bryan and Nikki Furman of B’s Cracklin’s BBQ in Atlanta. Ticket holders not only got to meet the King of Texas BBQ himself and watch him at work but they also received delicious complimentary food and beverages.

Best BBQ Fest

Best BBQ Fest – Franklin BBQ in Austin
Photo Credit Julia Keim

The closing event on Sunday was the Texas Monthly BBQ Fest which brought together a total of 30 barbecue joints from across the state, making this year one of the largest events to date since the festival’s inception in 2009. This year, each pit was asked to serve at least two meats, but also one dessert or side dish to round out the hearty menu. The featured BBQ restaurants, all of which are on the magazine’s latest “Top 50 BBQ Joints in Texas” list, served up their delicious BBQ fare. The most recent list, released in the June 2017 issue, was honored by the National Magazine Awards for ‘Best Cover’ with the story entitled “The Golden Age of BBQ,” by BBQ Editor Daniel Vaughn and Executive Editor Patricia Sharpe.

Tejas Chocolate Craftory in Tomball

Guests got to sample as much ‘cue as their stomach would allow (wow), as well as enjoy live music, cold drinks and fun lawn games with attendees of all ages and from across the globe. In addition to the stellar BBQ offerings on-site, the festival also featured some of the state’s most beloved music performers, including The Madisons, Lavelle White & The L Men, and more.

My mission at the fest was to try at least 9 out of the 30 joints at the event, as well as a stop at the Texas Pie Company. I did make it to the Texas Pie Company, but I was only able to sample 6 out of the 9 pits I wanted to try. This was despite all the cautionary warning at each pit telling patrons to “pace” themselves. But I came away full and happy to have made the rounds and talk to many pitmasters. This event truly is the easiest way to sample the best BBQ from across the state. And it leaves me knowing I need to go check out all they have to offer at the place each calls “home”!

Best BBQ Fest

Best BBQ Fest – Texas Pie Company in Kyle

The lineup of BBQ participants at this year’s festival included the following:


  • 2M Smokehouse (San Antonio)

  • Baker Boys BBQ (Gonzales)

  • Bodacious Bar-B-Q Mobberly (Longview)

  • Cattleack Barbeque (Dallas)

  • Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que (Llano)

  • Evie Mae’s Pit Barbecue (Wolfforth)

  • Flores Barbecue (Whitney)

  • Guess Family Barbecue (Waco)

  • Hays Co. Bar-B-Que (San Marcos)

  • Heim Barbecue (Fort Worth)

  • Hutchins BBQ (Frisco/McKinney)

  • Killen’s Barbecue (Pearland)

Best BBQ Fest – Killens BBQ in Pearland

  • la Barbecue (Austin)

  • Lockhart Smokehouse (Dallas)

  • Louie Mueller Barbecue (Taylor)

Best BBQ Fest – Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor

  • Micklethwait Craft Meats (Austin)

  • Miller’s Smokehouse (Belton)

  • Pody’s BBQ (Pecos)

  • Roegels Barbecue Co. (Houston)

  • Smolik’s Smokehouse (Mathis)

  • Snow’s BBQ (Lexington)

Best BBQ Fest

Best BBQ Fest – Snow’s BBQ in Lexington

  • Stanley’s Famous Pit BBQ (Tyler)

  • Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew (Austin)

  • Stillwater Barbeque (Abilene)

  • Tejas Chocolate Craftory (Tomball)

  • Terry Black’s Barbecue (Austin)

  • Top 5 BBQ (DeSoto)

  • Truth BBQ (Brenham)

  • Tyler’s Barbeque (Amarillo)

  • Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ (Austin)

Texas Monthly BBQ Fest Weekend was sponsored by Big Red, Desert Door Sotol, Legacy Whiskey, Lone Star Beer, The Texas Pie Company, and YETI who all offered samples and information of their products.

Photo Credit: Hannah Vickers)


The latest list marks the fifth edition of the magazine’s “50 Best” rankings released in the June 2017 issue and was honored by the National Magazine Awards for ‘Best Cover’ with the story entitled “The Golden Age of BBQ,” by BBQ Editor Daniel Vaughn and Executive Editor Patricia Sharpe. Not only is the list an indispensable practical guide, it also chronicles Texas’s changing ‘cue scene. Barbecue is more urban than ever, and the joints are younger than ever, as a new generation of entrepreneurs joins the time-honored masters of the craft. Released only every four years, the list is the work of Texas Monthly editors and writers under the direction of the only full-time barbecue editor in the magazine industry, Daniel Vaughn. The crew of some two dozen spent months eating their way across Texas to rank quality ‘cue from nice restaurants to food trucks. For the “Top 50 BBQ Joints in Texas” list, visit:



Texas Monthly has chronicled life in contemporary Texas since 1973, reporting on vital issues such as politics, the environment, industry, and education. The magazine is known for astute political commentary and compelling longform narrative nonfiction. As a leisure guide, it continues to be the indispensable authority on the Texas scene, covering music, the arts, travel, restaurants, museums, and cultural events with its insightful recommendations. Texas Monthly has a reputation for providing its readers with a magazine of the highest editorial and design quality and has won thirteen National Magazine Awards. Founded by Michael R. Levy, the magazine currently has a paid circulation of 300,000 and is read by more than 2,100,000 people each month—one out of seven Texas adults. For more information, visit


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