Styles of Houston BBQ
As a practical matter, there are the two basic styles: East Texas (ETX) and Central Texas (CTX). There are also some joints that have created a fusion or Combination of these styles.
ETX barbecue is generally pork-based with a preference for sauce as part of the barbecue. So, for instance, ETX barbecue joints are known for their meaty pork ribs, usually full spareribs with the end parts or “knuckles” still attached.
There is also a significant Creole and Cajun component to ETX barbecue, as exemplified in standard menu items like boudin, gumbo, and fried catfish.
CTX barbecue is generally beef-centric and served without sauce. The classic CTX barbecue item is brisket, sliced, either from the point (“fatty”) or flat (“lean”).
Houston is historically known for ETX barbecue. However, with the rise of the craft barbecue movement over the last ten years, most new barbecue joints are CTX-style, or a combination of both.
In recent years, Houston’s wildly diverse culinary scene has greatly influenced the evolution of barbecue in the city, with Tex-Mex and Asian ingredients infusing traditional smoked meat dishes.
How the HOUBBQ Guide helps: The guide provides a Styles Filter that allows you to narrow-down a list of HOUBBQ joints based on their primary style such as ETX or CTX as well as more specific influences like Tex-Mex and Asian flavors.