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Austin River Tubing Float Guides

  • Writer's pictureFrontera Tours

Discovering Austin's Best BBQ: A Culinary Journey

Updated: Jan 31

Ah, Austin, Texas! A city where the music rocks, the vibes are eclectic, and the BBQ? Simply out of this world. For us Austinites, BBQ is more than food; it's a culture, a way of life, and the perfect way to cap off a sun-soaked day floating down one of our scenic rivers. In this post, we're diving fork-first into the smoky, savory world of Austin's BBQ scene, sharing our top 5 joints that you absolutely must try. Trust us, these places are where culinary dreams come true!

Cold beer and good BBQ in Texas

Top 5 Austin BBQ Joints

The Gold Standard of Texas BBQ

  • Signature Dish: The beef rib at Franklin is legendary, known for its perfect bark and succulent meat that falls right off the bone.

  • Unique Offerings: Their brisket sets the standard nationwide, with a perfect balance of smokiness and tenderness.

  • Ambiance: The long wait is part of the Franklin experience, with a friendly and communal atmosphere. Bring a cooler, crack some morning beers, and enjoy the wait!

Artisanal Meats and Creative Sides

  • Signature Dish: Their brisket and ribs are top-notch, but the real stars are the creative house-made sausages, ranging from classic to inventive flavors.

  • Special Menu Items: The lemon poppyseed coleslaw and jalapeño cheese grits stand out among the sides.

  • Atmosphere: A laid-back, picnic-style setting that complements the artisanal approach.

Stellar Flavors and Intergalactic Quality

  • Signature Dish: The pork ribs here are a must-try, offering a perfect blend of smoke and seasoning.

  • Unique Offerings: Their brisket and turkey are also crowd favorites, known for their moistness and flavor.

  • Ambiance: A modern, welcoming space that invites diners to enjoy a top-tier BBQ experience.

New School BBQ, Old School Service

  • Signature Dish: Their beef cheek and barbacoa are standout items, offering a unique and delicious twist on traditional BBQ.

  • Customer Experience: The ever-changing menu keeps things exciting, with locally sourced and innovative cuts.

  • Atmosphere: A friendly, casual environment with a focus on community and sustainability.

The Perfect Fusion of Tex-Mex and BBQ

  • Signature Dish: The smoked brisket taco is a fusion masterpiece, combining smoky BBQ flavors with fresh Tex-Mex ingredients.

  • Awards/Recognition: Known for their unique approach, blending traditional Texas BBQ with Tex-Mex flavors.

  • Atmosphere: A casual, family-friendly vibe that celebrates the fusion of cultures.

Honorable Mention

Convenient and Consistently Delicious

  • Overview: A great option for high-quality BBQ, that while not the absolute best of the best, is sure to wow anyone coming into Texas for the first time.

  • Notable Feature: Extended hours make it a convenient spot for post-river BBQ cravings.

Brisket platter in Austin


Austin's BBQ scene is as diverse as it is delicious. Each joint brings its own flavor, story, and heart to the table. And there's nothing like ending a day of river floating with a plate of the finest BBQ Austin has to offer. We encourage you to explore these smoky havens, and all those not listed here, and share your favorites with us. Remember, in Austin, every bite tells a story. Happy eating!




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