There’s a new age of barbecue in our state, and it demands exploration. In cities and small towns, a younger breed of pitmasters from down south to way up in the Panhandle is fueling new ideas for smokehouse goodness. The young guns’ techniques remain true to the masters who made Texas barbecue famous generations ago, and their flavors still derive from low, slow burning of mesquite, pecan, hickory, post oak, or a combination of woods. But trust me: This isn’t your grandpa’s barbecue.
Cooks are using better-quality ingredients—prime beef brisket, anyone?—and some are incorporating their ethnic heritage into their creations. The fact that customers will stand in line for an hour to try the newcomers’ interpretations tells you all you need to know. Here’s our guide to eight buzz-worthy favorites across the state.