Mapping East Texas-Style Barbecue in Houston, Inside the Beltway

National attention may be focused on Central Texas-style barbecue, but food writer J.C. Reid says it’s time to put Houston barbecue back on the map. Logical first step in his Houston Barbecue Project, then: this interactive map of urban BBQ joints within Beltway 8. The project’s mission: “to revisit, document and recognize the East Texas-style of barbecue as it is embodied in the urban barbecue joints of Houston, Texas.” Reid drew the Beltway boundary just to limit the project’s first phase — he’s writes that he’s interested in expanding exploration to Houston’s outskirts and beyond once he — and any fellow BBQ adventurers — are able to document more of this city’s smoky inner sanctum.

What about the argument that city of Houston health and environmental codes are incompatible with good barbecue?


Code requirements mean it’s a little more difficult to make good barbecue inside city limits, Reid says — but not impossible. And he says hasn’t noticed any “appreciable difference in quality” after his own border crossings: “To confirm I recently made a trip out to the Katy area to sample the barbecue there. It wasn’t any better, and was possibly worse, than barbecue inside the Houston city limits.”

Map: J.C. Reid

6 Comment

  • odd, i’ve always heard 5th ward has some of the best BBQ in town yet not a single place listed there.

  • Reid shows considerable restraint in limiting this to those only within BW8 — he and his ‘cue consorts have been known to drive hundreds of miles in a single day to sample barbecue from far-flung but well known shacks, shops and tailgates. He knows of which he speaks (err, writes).

  • joel: Regrettably, the 5th ward is not the BBQ mecca it used to be. Several longtime BBQ joints have closed. If anyone knows of places in this area that are not listed, I would be very interested to hear about them.

  • Burt’s Meat Market, on Lyons between Lockwood and Kress, is quite good. It’s more like Denver Harbor than the true Fifth Ward, and the food is takeaway only (it’s part of a grocery store), but I was still impressed. They’ve got boudin and good steam table sides, too.

  • Seriously, why didn’t they list any in the 5th ward? At least they listed a few in the 3rd.

  • So what exactly is the difference between central Texas style and east Texas style?