Talk to any Texan and they’re all going to say the same thing: “Texas has the best barbeque in the world”. And while this local consensus might be a little biased, the mega-state has plenty of proof to back it up. A good place to start a search for the holy grail of brisket and ribs would be San Antonio. Quietly one of the largest cities in the United States, the home of the Alamo can brag about their iconic landmarks, diverse population, and of course great food. And with that, we bring you our picks for the best BBQ in San Antonio.
Smoke Shack BBQ
Housed in one of the most Texan places ever, Smoke Shack BBQ is legendary in these parts. An unassuming, small A-frame building, Smoke Shack takes on a new personality when viewed from the side, being proudly painted with the Texas State Flag. Our personal favorite dish is the Smoke Shack Mac. This “snack”, which only costs $5, is homemade mac n cheese mixed with Smoke Shack’s famous brisket.
Located under powerful oak trees and next to Hardberger Park, Blanco has a lovely backyard with picnic tables and a playground for kids. The outdoor seating is a great spot to enjoy their scrumptious food. Blanco is open all day and has an extensive breakfast taco menu for those who can’t wait for the meat platters in the afternoon. If you’re in a hurry, don’t worry Blanco also has a drive-thru. Maybe the most surprising thing about this BBQ joint is that they have a salad menu.
Two Bros BBQ Market
Marketed under the banner “Blood makes you related, but BBQ makes you family”, Two Bros BBQ Market does their best to provide top-notch food in a friendly, familiar atmosphere. Not willing to compromise any quality, food is made daily so once something is sold out, it’s sold out — meaning passionate eaters need to plan accordingly. Recently the Dady brothers (the two bros of Two Bros BBQ Market) have started a new BBQ venture called Alamo BBQ Co. Be sure to give their Peach Glazed Baby Back Pork Ribs and House-Made Banana Pudding a try.
The Big Bib BBQ
Originally, The Big Bib was exclusively a catering business, but in the last decade, it has extended its BBQ services to a restaurant and even an events center. “In true Texas-style” the cooks at The Big Bib slow cook their meats with mesquite and aged oak woods for 14 hours every day. As for the Big Bib Too Event Center, the venue hosts nationally known jazz artists and welcomes guests to enjoy some tunes and their full bar.
Garcia’s is not exactly traditional BBQ. Instead, it’s a type of cuisine affectionately known as Mexique, some beautiful hybrid of Mexican food and good ol’ Texas BBQ. Garcia’s has brisket that has received praise in every corner of San Antonio, and the chefs use their slow-cooked meats in tacos and other Mexican dishes. The brisket tacos are usually the cause of the lines that extend out the doors of Garcia’s. The best thing about these tacos? They don’t overcomplicate it: guacamole, slow-cooked brisket, and a homemade tortilla. So. Damn. Good.
How good is 2M Smokehouse? Well their website has a whole section entitled “Insider Tips” with advice on how to best avoid their somewhat infamous lines. Yes, on the weekends it’s not uncommon for locals, and those on a BBQ pilgrimage, to start lining up as early as 9:30 AM. As with pretty much every spot on this list, 2M is well known for their brisket but mix things up and try their smoked turkey or sausages, which are made in-house. For sides, their Chicharoni Macaroni, mac n cheese with chicharron, is unique and delicious.
Stationed in the historical neighborhood of Dignowity Hill on the east side of San Antonio, Dignowity Meats is the place to go for casual, BBQ-heavy sandwiches. Customers stroll up to the small ordering window, grab a sandwich, and chill at their outdoor tables. Dignowity is lucky they are good, because their style is somewhat blasphemous down in these parts. Instead of traditional Texan BBQ, Dignowity aims to pay homage to East Coast delis and Midwest BBQ — yep, that’s right most of their meat is barbequed KC style. Those wanting to betray San Antonio and head up north, check out our Best Things to Do in Kansas City.
Bill Miller Bar-B-Q
Bill Miller Bar-B-Q is a chain and its BBQ dominance and territory extends north of Austin, down to the coast around Corpus Christi. But with 51 locations within the city confines of San Antonio alone, it’s clear where they first made a name for themselves. Bill Miller offers up dining options morning to night, complete with numerous breakfast taco options and a dessert menu longer than their BBQ, sandwich, and fried chicken menus. Find a location on their website, but maybe steer clear of their Nutrition Calculator at the bottom of the page. Yikes.
While technically located in the San Antonio suburb of Helotes, B-Daddy’s Barbeque is still a beacon of the San Antonio BBQ scene. The restaurant itself boasts numerous different kinds of meats, all of which are one hundred percent wood smoked. Recently, their presence in San Antonio proper has increased as their food truck can be seen patrolling the streets for special events like San Antonio Spurs games, and catering for families and companies alike. Be on the lookout!
Had your fill of BBQ? Take a culinary trip of Texas and discover what other mouthwatering cuisines the Lone Star State offers.