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Looking for Great BBQ in Austin, TX, WITHOUT a 3 hour line

Going to Austin, TX, for a one day side trip (coming from Magnolia/Houston) this Thanksgiving weekend. Really want to know best things to see and do and where to eat BBQ and have a 5 hour window.  Looking for great BBQ without a 3 hour wait in line.  4 adults and a 12 and 16 yr. old.  Thanks.

8 Answers

top answer by
K from Texas

If you REALLY don't want to stand in line for a couple of hours (and believe me, Franklin's is worth it) there is still a long list of good-to-great barbeque in Austin. I'd put John Mueller Meat Co (2500 E 6th St) right up there--especially the ribs. Also, La Barbecue (902 E Cesar Chavez St), and Micklethwait Craft Meats (1309 Rosewood Ave) are both well above average.

There is usually a line at these, but not a really long one. All of these have outdoor seating areas, so the weather may be a factor. All except Micklethwait are only open for lunch, and they are closed 2 or 3 days/week. I don't know what their schedules will be for the Thanksgiving weekend.

For inside seating, I'd go to Lambert's BBQ (401 W 2nd St), where you can get reservations and eat in a upscale restaurant setting.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. John Mueller Meat Co (restaurant)
  2. La Barbecue (restaurant)
  3. Micklethwait Craft Meats (restaurant)
  4. Lambert's BBQ (restaurant)
3 thanks

answered first by
Jennifer from Austin (Texas)

Green Mesquite BBQ has been my go-to since arriving here in Austin over the summer. It may not be the best, but it is economical, family-friendly, and is a host venue to live outdoor music acts on most nights! Their brisket is to die for! 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Green Mesquite BBQ (restaurant)
2 thanks

answered by

Rudy's Country Store And Bar-B-Q is a chain that started in San Antone in the 1970s. Generally, I would eschew a chain restaurant, but there is always the exception to the rule and for barbecue, Rudy's is it. The location on Capital Texas Highway (aka Loop 360) is the prettiest. The sauce is a little spicy. I've seen it make some people break out into a sweat, but if you have a taste for hot and spicy, then you should do just fine. They sell their sauce at the restaurant. The County Line on the Lake and County Line on the Hill are obviously the same owners and are long time local favorites.  The restaurant on the hill has a big deck that offers a sweeping view of the hills and the one on the lake has a deck on the lake, which offers a shady, woodsy kind of feel. Love them both. Stubbs BBQ is located downtown and is yet another long time local favorite. It is also a music venue; they have a Gospel Sunday brunch.  The Salt Lick BBQ is a long time locale favorite but in my opinion, the Salt Lick is more about destination dining than 'cue. Imagine picnic tables under shady oaks and maybe, some live music.  The smoked meats are fantastic but the sauce and sides are NOT traditional southern barbecue fair. German hot potato salad instead of regular potato salad and the sauce is, umm, more of a vinegar type thing. I believe it is BYOB at the Salt Lick. Bring your own beer, and in my opinion, bring your own barbecue sauce. Google the Austin Barbecue Trail and you will find lots of highly reputed joints in the Central Texas area.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Rudy's Country Store And Bar-B-Q (attraction)
  2. The County Line (restaurant)
  3. County Line on the Hill (restaurant)
  4. Stubbs BBQ (restaurant)
  5. Salt Lick BBQ (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
C from Austin (Texas)

I second the Rudy's Country Store And Bar-B-Q recommendation. It ain't fancy, but it's authentic. They'll give you a sample of everything not on a bone...and everything is damn tastey!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Rudy's Country Store And Bar-B-Q (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Emily from Austin (Texas)

Austinites forget how lucky we are to have great barbecue everywhere. It's not fancy, but my husband and I prefer Rudy's Country Store And Bar-B-Q to any of the other more notable places in town. Rudy's is a fun family experience and truly delicious Texas barbecue. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Rudy's Country Store And Bar-B-Q (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Katerina from Los Angeles

Don't go to Franklins BBQ if you don't want to wait in line for four hours. I would recommend Salt Lick for good, authentic Texas BBQ. It's a good place outside of the city in the country and BYOB. Also, The County Line is nice if you're wanting to stay more in the city.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Franklins BBQ (attraction)
  2. Salt Lick (restaurant)
  3. The County Line (restaurant)

answered by
Christopher from San Antonio

I'm not a fan of Austin, TX but I really Like Buster's BBQ ....Some of the best live music in the live music capital of Texas  Also check out the clubs and bars on E 5th St if you like live music but the drinks can get pricey.

P.S you should visit Austinwhen you have more than a 5 hour window as there is many to things do. and if you have time the short drive to San Antonio can be pretty fun aswell.. (ie. RiverwalkThe AlamoRipley's Believe It or Not,   and much much more)

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Buster's BBQ (restaurant)
  2. Texas (state)
  3. E 5th St (attraction)
  4. Austin (city)
  5. San Antonio (city)
  6. Riverwalk (attraction)
  7. The Alamo (attraction)
  8. Ripley's Believe It or Not (attraction)

answered by
Jacey & Scott from Fort Collins

Salt Lick in the airport when you arrive will get you started!  Take in other places at various off hours if you want to avoid traffic.  A few favorites:  Lambert's BBQ, Franklins BBQ and La Barbecue

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Salt Lick (restaurant)
  2. Lambert's BBQ (restaurant)
  3. Franklins BBQ (attraction)
  4. La Barbecue (restaurant)
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