The Best Barbecue Joints in Houston for Takeout & Delivery
The ultimate comfort food.
Gone are the days when Houston’s barbecue scene flew under the radar. Our pitmasters have proven their worth via brisket so moist you’ll know to skip the barbecue sauce; all kinds of snappy, Texas-hot sausages; and gargantuan beef ribs that feel downright Jurassic. Plus, there are newfangled creations like smoked pastrami reubens and chicken verde tacos on brisket fat tortillas, and one magnificent spot that doubles as a chocolate craftory.
And you can get it all via takeout and eat it right on your couch (so long as you cover said couch with some paper towels).
If there's one reason, and one reason only, to take the ride to Pearland, it’s to get a taste of chef Ronnie Killen’s namesake smokehouse, home of the Texas-sized smoked beef rib. With Le Cordon Bleu and a booming restaurant empire under his belt, Killen takes care to make sure that each pound of dino-sized, beef ribs; tender, chocolatey-barked brisket; and stupidly good bone-in pork belly exceeds Texas standards. Since we’re all social distancing, you can now take advantage of the easy online ordering system to score meats by the pound, 1-, 2-, & 3- meat plates, smoked meat stuffed potatoes and sandwiches, brisket queso and enchiladas, and extras from dreamy creamed corn to an even dreamier bread pudding.
Order online or call 281-485-2272 for pickup (curbside available) or get delivery via DoorDash.
Garden Oaks/Oak Forest
This family-run fan favorite got a bigger, better facelift when it moved from 19th to its new location on Ella, and in the times of pandemic, it’s even added a contactless pickup system dubbed the “Yummy Box” (it’s kinda like a gym locker, but with meat). Order pit boss Greg Gatlin’s trio of smoked ribs (there’s a short and meaty baby back varietal, a St. Louis-style spare rib, and a megaton beef number) and engage your inner-caveman as gnaw ‘em straight down to the bone -- or get a fully loaded "kitchen sink" sandwich and finish the meal with a giblet-laden dirty rice so filthy you’ll need a cold shower afterward.
Order online and you’ll be texted a verification code precisely when your order is ready for pickup.
After years of Downtown being a barbecue ghostland, this smoking gun finally opened up shop down the street from Minute Maid Park in 2015. One sweet day we will all be able to fill up on barbecue heading to watch the ‘Stros at the ballpark, but until then, you can call in your orders for curbside pickup and play MLB SlugFest at home. While you do, go beast mode on the masterfully smoked Holy Trinity of brisket, ribs, and German-style sausage and grand slam sides like the fried mac, collards, and jalapeño cheddar biscuits.
Call 713-224-2400 to order takeout and curbside pickup.
What started out as a pop-up between brothers Robin and Terry Wong (Glitter Karaoke) and best friend/chief smoker Quy Hoang has turned into a full-on barbecue love affair. The “blood brothers” opened their brick-and-mortar location in Bellaire in 2018, taking inspiration from their Chinese and Vietnamese roots (and Houston) to create next-gen, outside-the-box barbecue that changes everything you thought you knew about smoke. Get ingenious specials like brisket burnt end steamed buns, gochujang glazed pork ribs, smoked turkey banh mi, and thit nuong pork belly.
Call 713-664-7776 for pickup, or place larger orders (5 pounds or more) 48 hours in advance online.
Helmed by married duo Russell and Misty Roegels, this cult favorite brings the heat with its righteous fat-capped brisket and beef rib, both of which come smoked with a gorgeous, crusty, jet-black bark. In just a short time, it’s become known as some of the best brisket in town, even earning the smokehouse a spot on Texas Monthly’s “Top 50” list in 2017. Since then, the hype has continued thanks to a new special: the Thursday-only smoked pastrami reubens sandwiches that sell out each and every week. Pick your poison and pair it all with Misty’s homey sides, we’re talking potato salad, collarards, Texas pinto beans, macaroni & cheese, and bourbon banana pudding because that’s a side, right?
Call 713-977-8725 for pickup.
Once a pink & black trailer, this now bigger pink-and-black brick & mortar is co-owned by married barbecue hotshots Will and Nichole Buck. With a silky, perfectly rendered cap and crusty, blackened bark, the moist brisket here is one of the finest barbecue specimens in Houston. Get to Spring to pick some up, then blissfully destroy it alongside stupendously blistered ribs, overloaded taters, and snappy pork sausage. Note: Both outdoor dining and curbside are available at this time, but once restrictions are removed, curbside will not be available.
Order online (it’s best to order a day ahead) for curbside service. Walk-in orders are also available, though online is encouraged.
Trent Brooks has some mind-numbingly delicious, smoldering slabs of smoked meat. A mashup of East and Central Texas styles, the consistent, quality barbecue has garnered Brooks high praise among Houston’s barbecue aficionados. During quarantine, the pitmaster took his show on the road, popping up in communities and offering the goods -- crusty, still-jiggling brisket, bigger-than-your-bicep beef ribs, sloppy pulled pork sandwiches -- to-go. Follow its social media to see if it’s popping up anywhere next, or get over to the trailer’s regular parking lot spot near the Ace Hardware off Barker Cypress and FM 529.
Order online or call 832-893-1682.
This Heights-area spot showcases the transcendent works of native smokemaster Grant Pinkerton, from wonderfully luscious Central Texas brisket and aggressively rubbed beef short ribs to candy-glazed pork ribs, pulled pork loaded taters, and duck jambalaya made daily. You may find a temporary rise in beef prices so that Pinkerton can ensure quality barbecue during the national beef shortage, but you probably won’t mind as you take it all down by the forkful.
Order online for contactless pickup.
Tanglewood (& other locations)
This strip mall barbecue joint is where Houstonians first got a taste of owner and pitmasters Wayne Kammerl’s mastery. He got his start at a smokehouse in College Station before landing here, and he brought his love for Ruffino Meats sausages with him. Those special-blend sausages star in the PB&J sandwich -- made not with peanut butter and jelly, but with pulled pork, brisket, and jalapeño sausage on a jalapeño cheddar bun instead. Other specialties include the new-to-the-menu baby back ribs glistening with Big Red cherry jam, and of course, there’s the Brisket House’s power player: a 16-hour oak-and-pecan-smoked brisket that you can get by the half-pound atop butcher paper alongside a slab of cheddar, hot pickle, onion, and a fair amount of bread.
Call Woodway at 281-888-0331, 1960 at 832-286-1487, or Deer Park at 281-884-8058 for pickup; or get delivery via DoorDash for the 1960, Woodway, and Deer Park locations.
Over in the oldest town in Tomball, this sweet and smokey chocolate and barbecue joint is absolutely killing the game. As its name suggests, Tejas Chocolate Craftory started as a small bean-to-bar chocolate business, eventually making its way into smoked meats when it realized Tomball’s barbecue scene was lacking. Today, it’s highly regarded as one of the best spots in and around Houston, slow-smoking USDA certified 100% all natural Prime grade briskets (order the burnt ends) alongside pork belly and ribs, chile relleno sausages, and daily specials like barbacoa tacos, pastrami beef ribs, and Tejas cheesesteak wraps. Yes, you can get truffles and chocolate bars to-go, too.
Order online for carryout and delivery.
Trained in Switzerland, and later by some dude named Wolfgang Puck, chef Ara Malekian developed an affinity for Texas barbecue after years traversing the global restaurant scene. Enter his smokin’ hot “slow and low” barbecue restaurant, set on the outskirts of town in a rustic shack off Harlem Road. There, Malekian applies chefy French techniques to his food, infusing smoked chicken, brisket, and pork with the staves of vintage oak wine barrels, incorporating fat drippings into everything from a stupendous pulled pork shoulder to baked beans, and finishing dishes with homemade butter, naturally.
Call 832-278-2101 to preorder or go in (donning your mask) and get it to-go.
Spring Branch (& Spring Branch)
Husband and wife team Patrick Feges and Erin Smith have been fixtures in Houston’s restaurant scene for some time -- honing their skills everywhere from Underbelly and Southern Goods (Feges) to Plonk! and Blacksmith (Smith), before they joined forces to open this Greenway Plaza food court spot in 2018. Offering next-level barbecue staples like ribs, brisket and house-made sausage to house specialties like pig wings and beef belly burnt ends, PLUS unusually well-balanced sides like Moroccan-spiced carrots, elote corn salad, and braised collards, the duo is now opening a second location in Spring Branch Village. In the meantime, you can still snag the goods to-go one of three ways. Hit the Greenway Plaza hub Mon-Fri from 11am to 3pm to get curbside pickup next to the Primrose School; or get barbecue in bulk (smoked, chilled, and vacuum sealed) at their pop-up in the Spring Branch Village Shopping on Saturdays or outside of Roost in Montrose on Sundays.
Place your pre-orders online.
Co-owner Michael Sambrooks and pitmaster Bramwell Tripp do things the old-school way at this Montrose pit stop -- and that way is low and slow in two custom-made, barrel-style offset smokers. Oak-smoked prime short ribs and brisket, heritage-breed pork ribs, and housemade sausages -- garlicky, Czech-style beef, jalapeño cheddar pork, or black-pepper-studded venison -- provide the menu heft, while things like house hot sauce drizzled chicharrones, and smoky chicken verde tacos on made from scratch brisket-fat laden tortillas remind you that you’re dining in Mutt City. You can now get it all (and a special family-sized bulk to-go menu) for curbside pickup and delivery, and there’s takeout booze, too.
Call 281-888-1929 for curbside pickup and delivery.
Last year before the world was turned upside-down, everything felt right as Brenham’s finest barbecue joint made its way to H-town, and in an unprecedented move, it landed inside the loop. No longer barren of brisket, Washington Avenue now draws in enthusiasts near and far. But since we’re social distancing, the Truth team has implemented an easy system to rock barbecue to-go. Snag fatty, 18-hour-smoked brisket and succulent and crisp burnt ends, moist, peppery pork ribs, and sides from the ol’ school tater tot casserole to a corn pudding that you absolutely need in your mouth right now.
Order online for curbside pickup.
Vietnamese thịt nướng pulled pork, lemongrass and garlic crusted and smoked in banana leaves. Smoked beef rib panang curry, hit with loca microgreens for good measure. Smoked yard bird chicken rice (cơm gà) with yuzukoshō. When brothers Don and Theo Nguyen announce their next Viet-Tex barbecue creation on social media, local foodies pay attention. Khói meaning “smoke” in Vietnamese, the duo behind Khói Barbecuehas been pulling up their trailer for pop-ups all around the Montrose area a couple of times a month. It’s Mutt City barbecue at it’s finest.
Follow those Facebook or Instagram accounts to see where and when they’ll pop-up next, and make your pre-orders online.
Central Texas-style barbecue in one of Houston’s burbiest suburbs? Man, we love this city. Pitmaster and owner Brett Jackson cut his teeth at what many consider to be the Shangri-La of Central Texas barbecue, the iconic Louie Mueller Barbecue over in Taylor, Texas. Now, he’s smoking peppery prime grade Wagyu briskets and big ol’ Double R Ranch beef ribs; fat snappy Carolina Reaper ghost pepper & cheddar sausages: and specials like the Friday-only smoked beef cheek and Saturday-only pork belly burnt ends, all out of a beastly, nearly 40-year-old oak-fired smoker. Add on mac & cheese, pinto beans, and a much-welcomed pickled jalapeño, carrot, and garlic mix to cut all the fat.
Order in advance online for curbside pickup Wednesday-Sunday (and be sure to select your sauce, pickles, onions & bread). Menu goes up at 7pm nightly for next day orders.
It’s all in the family at this Old Spanish Trail haunt, with pitmaster Rayford “Ray” S. Busch at the helm. Busch’s barbecue prowess dates back to the ‘80s, when he owned and operated a barbecue food truck outside of nightclubs (and even before that, when he learned the craft of barbecue from local Third Ward legend, Mr. River Falls). In 2011, Ray's Real Pit BBQ Shack was born, and he’s been feeding Houstonian’s cravings with things like East Texas-style Lott links, 14-hour slow smoked brisket, and Chicago-style rib tips ever since. Finish your to-go order with spicy and dirty rice, smoked mac & cheese, green beans, and TX toast, or try the preset Family Packs.
Order online or call 713-748-4227 for takeout.
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