Houston, TX

The Deep Cultural Influence Enriching Houston's Barbecue Scene

Marisol Gallagher

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HOUSTON, TX - Houston's barbecue culture has been thriving in recent years, with barbecue establishments of all shapes and sizes — mom-and-pop stores, chef-driven restaurants, and trucks – offering up delectable smoked meats to the delight of barbecue enthusiasts. Houston BBQ is enriched even more by its diverse cultural influences. Houston's culinary diversity can be seen in its cuisine, which ranges from Cajun to Korean to Mexican.

Ray's BBQ Shack in the Third Ward serves superb East Texas-style barbecue and soul cuisine, such as smoked boudin and smoked oxtails, from pitmaster Ray S. Busch (on Thursdays). At Southern Q in north Houston, a husband and wife team, Steve and Sherice Garner serve East Texas-style 'cue, featuring boudin and smoked turkey legs. The "Taste of the South Sampler," which includes turkey, sausage, brisket, ribs, beans, potato salad, Cajun rice, and grilled corn, is a nice way to get a taste of everything they have to offer.

Blood Bros BBQ, which now has a permanent location in Bellaire, first garnered a following through pop-ups at Glitter Karaoke. Robin and Terry Wong, along with their friend and pitmaster Quy Hoang, produce unique variations on conventional BBQ. Gochujang burnt ends, togarashi beef ribs, smoked meat bahn mi, and a mac-and-cheese-stuffed sausage.

Tejas Chocolate Craftory in Tomball combines two unusual ingredients: BBQ and chocolate. And the smoked meats here won the family-run restaurant the sixth spot on Texas Monthly's list of the 50 Best BBQ Joints in Texas. Its mole barbecue sauce, a time-consuming and costly undertaking, is worth a try. Tejas is also one of the numerous barbecue establishments in town that offers special barbecue pastrami.

On Thursdays, Roegels Barbecue Co. in Briargrove serves a fantastic pastrami Reuben. However, don't limit your visit to Thursdays. Roegels, which is also on Texas Monthly's 2017 list, delivers delicious and moist brisket, ribs, and smoked turkey.

It's difficult to cover the great variety of delicious barbecue coming out of Houston, so barbecue enthusiasts shouldn't pass up the chance to sample cuisine from many of these smokehouses in one location.

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