Houston BBQ 101

What To Order

The standard order used to evaluate the quality and style of a barbecue joint is known as the Texas Trinity. It is called this because it combines the three most common barbecue meats on one plate: brisketpork ribs, and sausage. This is often listed on the menu as a “three-meat plate.” This is a good starting point if you are visiting a barbecue joint for the first time. 

For an ETX-style joint, there are a few other items worth considering. Smoked boudin is a specialty of this style. Fried catfish is a throwback to the Lenten tradition of meatless Fridays practiced by Cajun and Creoles of the Catholic faith. Smoked oxtails are an example of the influence of Southern U.S. and soul food traditions on ETX barbecue. 

In addition to brisket, CTX-style joints are well-known for beef ribs, aka “dino ribs.” House-made, all-beef (or mostly beef) sausage known as “hot guts” among other names is also a specialty. 

More recently, Tex-Mex influences have had a big impact on craft barbecue joints which now often include various types of tacos on their menus. Smoked beef cheek tacos are quite common. 

Side dishes include the standard items like beans (pinto or ranch-style), coleslaw, and potato salad. Also, dirty rice and collard greens are standard items on ETX menus. 

Desserts are a must-order at barbecue joints, specifically banana pudding and various flavors of cobbler leading the way. 

A simple and welcome way to discover new menu items is to ask the order-taker or counter-person which dishes that joint is known for

How the HOUBBQ Guide helpsThe Styles Filter allows you to narrow down which joints may have which menu items base don their style. There is also a Features Filter to narrow your list down to those places making Sausage In-house. In each barbecue joint’s information page, there is a Known-For data field that often lists the famous dishes for that joint. 

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