Where to Find Finger Lickin' Good Barbecue in San Antonio

Being in Texas, you would expect San Antonio to be full of incredible barbecue joints, but truth be told, finding barbecue you would travel the ends of the earth for is another story. Still, we've managed to round up some of the best barbecue in town!

Unfortunately, the best of the best barbecue in the Alamo City isn't easy to come by, at least, not yet, but you can find them at farmers and artisan markets all around town for now! JD's Chili Parlor is a gourmet artisan chili, mac and 'cue company that puts a whole lot of love and attention into crafting excellent food. Their brisket, for one, takes days to make and is whiskey-marinated, chili-rubbed (with a special blend of chili seasonings), smoked and then crunched. Every bite is a slice of heaven. 

The Granary, located at the Historic Pearl, is a local's favorite for barbecue. Stop in for lunch to enjoy some traditional barbecue such as St. Louis Ribs, Smoked Chicken and Sausage, or join them in the evening for a more refined dining experience. They offer delicious options such as Smoked Pork Belly with Anson Mills Pencil Cob grits, watermelon hot sauce and fennel; smoked rabbit; and grilled monkfish. 


San Antonio

Rudy's Country Store and BBQ is a staple in San Antonio and all around Texas, in fact. They offer "Real Texas Barbecue" served in a family-style dining atmosphere. If you go during popular lunch and dinner times, you can expect to see a line that goes around the building, but they move fast and offer samples while you wait, so don't worry! Rudy's menu features Texas smoked sausage, brisket, St. Louis ribs, turkey, and chicken as well some fantastic fixin's including their decadent creamed corn, potato salad, and beans. Tastes just as good as homemade! They also take orders online, and offer catering and shipping.

Recommended for Barbecue because: Rudy's has been around for a long time and is a BBQ staple in Texas.

Kimberly's expert tip: Rudy's has several locations all around San Antonio, so try them all if you can!

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Saltgrass Steak House offers patrons some of the most superb Texas steaks and barbeque this side of the Mississippi. Their story dates back to the 1800s, when millions of Longhorns roamed freely throughout Texas. Each winter the Longhorn were driven to the Texas Gulf Coast to graze on the rich coastal salt grass. And when they headed for market, they followed the legendary Salt Grass Trail, known far and wide for creating the best beef in the Lone Star State. Saltgrass is known for their certified Angus Beef Steaks and an assortment of other savory dishes such as Grilled Shrimp and Grilled Salmon.

Recommended for Barbecue because: Saltgrass is a local favorite and has excellent food.

Kimberly's expert tip: Go all out with one of their Great Steak Additions such as the "Smothered Topping" which is homemade herbed butter smothered with sauteed mushrooms and caramelized onions.

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San Antonio
Big Bib BBQ
Photo courtesy of Big Bib BBQ

At Big Bib BBQ, you order your meat by the pound! Well, they do have smaller plates as well as family platters, but we suggest you get it by the pound. The ribs are tender and flavorful, the brisket is lean but also tender and has a good crust on it. In a conversation about barbecue in San Antonio, Big Bib's invariable comes up. They smoke with aged Oak and Mesquite and also serve local favorites such as pulled pork, turkey breast, jalapeno sausage, turkey legs, rib tips, chicken leg quarters and chicken wangs, yes "wangs!" Big Bib's homemade barbecue sauce is a savory blend of sweet and tart, something a little different from other sauces you might have tried. Succulent and smoky... that's Big Bib's!

Recommended for Barbecue because: Big Bib's BBQ is a local favorite and highly popular barbecue joint.

Kimberly's expert tip: Big Bib's Famous Peach Cobbler is heaven on earth!

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Two Bros. BBQ Market
Photo courtesy of Kimberly Suta

Chef Jason Dady is considered an innovative pioneer of the culinary culture in San Antonio and has developed quite a following because of his dedication to quality, excellence and professionalism. So when Dady opened up Two Bros. BBQ Market, serving classic Texas Pit BBQ in a family atmosphere, locals flocked to it. This little joint is open 7 days a week and you can eat in or get your feast to go. Their succulent meats include brisket, pork butt, chopped beef, pork ribs, baby back ribs, sausage and chicken thighs. When Anthony Bourdain was in town, this is the barbeque restaurant he went to. Enough said!

Recommended for Barbecue because: If you're visiting San Antonio, Chef Jason Dady's barbecue is always worth the trip!

Kimberly's expert tip: This is a great place to take the kids, with a play yard on site!

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Smoke Shack
Photo courtesy of Joshua Simmons

Get ready for some wonderful Texas barbecue, right in the middle of San Antonio - more specifically in Alamo Heights, right across the street from the Witte Museum and Brackeridge Park. If the weather's nice, there's nothing better than grabbing your meats to go and taking them to the park for a picnic. This location is new, but Smoke Shack has been around has a food truck at 410 & Nacodoches for quite a while. Their food truck still operates during the week. It's encouraged that you opt for the 3 meat combo. The barbecue is smoked to perfection and utterly tender. There's plenty of choices, from brisket and sausage to smoked turkey, chicken and succulently carmelized pork ribs. The sides are just as good and include potato salad, mac & cheese, fried okra and more. The portions are generous and potentially enough food for two to share, although you may not want to. If you're feeling frisky, give the frito pie a chance. It's one of the best in town!

Recommended for Barbecue because: Smoke Shack is one of the newest and indeed best barbecue joints in town!

Kimberly's expert tip: Make sure to try the potato salad, complete with bacon!

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Who doesn't love a Brazilian steakhouse, but what if you could have all the things you love about it minus the fancy prices? What if there was a place where you could truly relax and savor the Picanha and other deliciously seasoned skewered meats in a family friendly atmosphere? Thanks to Galpao Gaucho, now you can! While their menu isn't quite as expansive, you miss nothing because this independently-owned restaurant has managed to hone in on what's important, namely taste and authenticity at a price point that most can afford. The Executive Chef and Co-Owner, Jovani Gava, is actually a native of Brazil who worked in the churrascaria industry for 15 years before opening up his own restaurant. Located in the Stone Oak area, they're the perfect place to go for either lunch or dinner. Just remember to bring your appetite!

Recommended for Barbecue because: Galpao Gaucho knows Brazilian barbecue and is the place to visit if you're in the Stone Oak area!

Kimberly's expert tip: Make sure to try all of the warm side dishes - the rice and black beans are particularly delicious!

Read more about Galpao Gaucho Brazilian Steakhouse →

Photo courtesy of Smoke

Smoke recently relocated to the downtown area, just on the East side, making downtown residents and visitors very happy. Smoke's Texas-style barbecue isn't just delicious, it's diverse. The menu is extensive, offering mouth-watering meats, including traditional brisket, pulled pork, Dr. Pepper pork ribs, beer can chicken, Shiner Bock Beer brined turkey, prawns with chimichurri sauce, bacon, and bratwurst. If you go hungry, don't be too shy to try their Cowboy Chop Ribeye with barrel aged rye whiskey butter. Besides the more familiar barbecue menu, they offer burgers, sandwiches, entrees and a long list of sides, such as buttermilk mashed potatoes and creamed corn. Yum! Pickle fiends will appreciate their "pickles by the jar," options like sweet and sour carrots, jalapenos, spicy garden vegetables, candied beets and whiskey spiced peaches. It's fair to say, Smoke thinks a little outside the box. There are not many other places in San Antonio (or elsewhere, for that matter) where you can chow down on some crispy pig ears and braised tongue!

Recommended for Barbecue because: Smoke is one of the newest restaurants in the downtown area, and few offer better barbecue for when you can't shake that craving.

Kimberly's expert tip: They have a special brunch menu!

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Dignowity Meats
Photo courtesy of Courtesy Dignowity Meats

Dignowity Meats is a smoked meat sandwich shop located in San Antonio's Eastside historical neighborhood of Dignowity Hill. The name may be hard to pronounce, but by the time you're done with your meal, you won't forget it. They offer elevated deli eats, sandwiches and sides, such as their incredibe sharp cheddar mac-n-cheese. Their menu includes KC Brisket Burnt Ends, Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Pulled Pork, St. Louis Ribs and specialties such as their Dignowity Pie, which is brisket burnt ends or pulled pork with mac, served over fries and sliced jalapenos. This is not the place to go when you're on a diet, but you probably already figured that out! Owners Andrew Samia and Shane Reed grew up in the Northeast and Midwest and are the visionaries of Dignowity Meats. Having developed a strong appreciation for old school mom and pop deli's that smoked and cooked all of their products on site, they wanted to bring the same flavors and authenticity to the Alamo city... and they have!

Recommended for Barbecue because: The brisket sandy with mac-n-cheese is to-die-for, as is everything else on the menu.

Kimberly's expert tip: Their delicious smoked meats can be ordered at a window or enjoyed on their outdoor seating.

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Housed in a renovated home next to the Pearl Brewery, The Granary 'Cue & Brew offers patrons a one-of-a-kind globally-inspired barbecue experience as well as hand-crafted, fresh-brewed beer, even root beer for the kids! While Central Texas barbecue is the backbone, The Granary provides a diverse look at the unique barbecue styles from around the world. Expect to find dishes you wouldn't anywhere else, such as the lamb shoulder with sweet pea pudding and smoked garlic, the brisket ramen with smoked shoya broth and collard greens, barbecued sweetbreads with lamb, kimchi, Asian pear and lemon grass and the spring salad with smoked trout. Is your mouth watering yet?

Recommended for Barbecue because: The Granary is part of the growing and highly popular Pearl Brewery and foodie community.

Kimberly's expert tip: The Pearl is becoming a local favorite for food, shopping and fun. As it's located near the Riverwalk extension, take time for a walk or a boat ride!

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JD's Chili Parlor
Photo courtesy of JD's Chili Parlor

JD's Chili Parlor is new on the scene in San Antonio, although they've been serving up gourmet artisan chili, barbecue and mac-n-cheese at Texas markets for years. They recently moved to the Local Sprout Food Hub in San Antonio and are planning on opening a restaurant soon. Still, currently, you can enjoy their extraordinary "chili 'cue" and other yummy eats at markets such as the Four Seasons Market on Saturdays. This family-owned business crafts their barbecue and chili with love, and many of their recipes are based on historic recipes. The Chili Queens, for example, which started the chili craze right here in San Antonio over a hundred years ago and served up big bowls of red for tired cowboys, is a source of great inspiration for this innovative catering and events company. Some of the fan favorites include their classic Whiskey Chili served in a fresh-fried Hash Brown Bowl, the Angry Goat Chili, Double Red Vegan Chili, and some of the best darn whiskey-marinated, chili-rubbed brisket you'll ever eat!

Recommended for Barbecue because: JD's Chili Parlor serves up the most thoughtfully-crafted, scrumptious barbecue in San Antonio, from brisket to pulled-pork.

Kimberly's expert tip: Get your barbecue and chili to-go! They also can pit smoke on-site for special events!

Read more about JD's Chili Parlor →


Meet Kimberly Suta

Kimberly A. Suta is a professional freelance writer, filmmaker and entrepreneur with a background in marketing, advertising and social media. Her first business, Midnight Sun Innovations,...  More About Kimberly