Houston is the best city in the country for barbecue. Congratulations, Houstonians, we’ve conquered the state’s top cuisine.
This surprising conclusion comes courtesy of a report by the website BBQ Revolution. Titled “The Most Popular BBQ in the U.S.,” the website proclaimed Houston as America’s top city for barbecue.
Methodology is everything, of course. For its survey, BBQ Revolution has selected quantity over quality. To compile its ranking, the website analyzed Tripadvisor data and counted the number of barbecue restaurants in each city. With 167 establishments, Houston edged out noted barbecue destination Los Angeles (162) for the title.
San Antonio (135) ranks a surprising second in the state and third overall. Austin (113) and Dallas (109) come in at fifth and sixth nationally, respectively. Chicago ranks fourth with 124, and New York City takes sixth with 94.
Certainly, Houstonians will be pleased with that result, but the notion that Austin might be Texas’ third best city for barbecue will likely cause considerable agita in the state capital.
Then again, why not Houston? The city’s is home to top restaurants like Truth BBQ, Roegels Barbecue, and Gatlin’s BBQ and a lively pop-up scene that includes the Vietnamese-influenced smoke masters Khoi Barbecue and the decadent birria tacos of JQ’s Tex-Mex Barbecue. Houston’s own Blood Bros. will soon open their new location in a Las Vegas casino alongside some of the top chefs in the country.
As a point of comparison, consider Texas Monthly’s 2017 list of the state’s top 50 barbecue joints, which are based on actual visits by the magazine’s staff. Austin landed seven in the top 50, including two in the top 10.
Houston proper had four — three more if Pearland, Tomball, and Spring are included — while Dallas had three and San Antonio only had two. Admittedly, a lot has changed in barbecue over the last four years, but that certainly feels more in line with the conventional wisdom around the state’s barbecue universe.
One thing every Texan can agree on — any ranking that has Los Angeles ahead of anywhere in the Lone Star State should be viewed skeptically at best.