John Mueller Meat CoThere’s no doubt about it, Austin has some of the best BBQ in the world, but most people only come here for a few days, and don’t get to experience the best this city has to offer. Many just end up at Iron Works, which famous as it is, simply isn’t that great.

So I put together the Downtown Austin BBQ tour that will let you try some of the best Austin BBQ in one day of meaty deliciousness.

Quick note, Franklin’s is not on the list, it’s good, but you need to spend a day just to visit this one pit, and some others on this list are just as comparable in quality.

The lines can get a little long sometimes, especially at LA Barbecue, which is getting more popular by the day, so if it looks like the wait is going to cut in to your touring time, maybe switch out one of the first two for Micklethwait Craft Meats at 1309 Rosewood Avenue.

John Mueller Meat Co

2500 E 6th St – Opens 10:30am

Though John can be hit or miss on his cooking, his good days undoubtedly bring some of the best beef ribs in town to your plate, it’s worth rolling the dice on this one, because whilst the bad is still pretty good, the good days are excellent. Sundays often have free drinks (varies from day to day, but had some great bloody mary’s!).

John Mueller has been cooking his barbecue in Austin before it became popular, and if you’re interested, his background is as interesting as his ‘que is delicious.

LA Barbecue

902 E Cesar Chavez – Opens 11am

The Mueller sister brought some BBQ to Austin that often rivals Franklin in the top 10 BBQ lists, and beats it on occasion.  Shorter lines, free beer, and the best brisket in town make this a must try BBQ spot over the famous Franklin.

LA Barbecue is currently one of my top Austin barbecue restaurants because it is consistently perfect, no matter what meat you love, the smoked meats here will always keep you coming back for more.

Arrive early to get the full menu, this place sells out daily.

Lamberts

401 W 2nd St Opens 11am-2pm/5:30pm till late

The real ‘downtown’ BBQ spot has some delicious smoked fare.  What really makes this is the happy hour selection during the week, where you can get some astounding deals on BBQ plates (their brisket frito pie for instance).  If you stop off here on your tour, maybe get something to share though, they don’t skimp on the portions!

Valentinas

600 W 6th St – Opens 11am til 2am

The home of the BBQ taco, mixing the best two foodstuffs of Austin. These guys are pretty new to the Austin BBQ scene, but already a hit. Open late, Valentinas is a regular destination for me when I need some later night barbecue on west 6th!

Best part is, it’s located in the back of Star Bar on west 6th, which has a decent beer selection to pair with your beef fix!

Freedmen’s

2402 San Gabriel St – Open 11am till 12pm

Freedmen’s has been collecting BBQ awards faster than I can keep up with, and thanks to it’s rather amazingly crafted cocktails, is the perfect place to end the BBQ tour. The BBQ here is fantastic, but I often switch from beef to pork at this venue (a rarity for me) thanks in part to an excellent sauce that comes with it, which helps cut some of the fat lining your stomach after a day long BBQ binge!

Freedmen’s has some of Austin’s best BBQ and once you reach this venue after a long day of touring Austin’s barbecue you’ll be ready to sink in to the leather seats, grab a cocktail and relax the night away!

Oliver Whitham

Founder at In ATX
Oliver is a Business and Marketing Consultant by day and owner of In ATX and Austin Virtual Workers by night. He lives, drinks, works and eats in this fine city, and figured that it was time to write something about it!