San Antonio might not be the mecca that comes to mind when you think of Texas barbecue, but the Alamo City actually delivers in a big way. And while BBQ is a way of life for Texans, visitors may find themselves overwhelmed with the endless restaurant options, intimidating menus, sea of sauces, etc.
Read on to find the best BBQ in San Antonio
Our guide to the best BBQ in San Antonio is guaranteed to leave visitors and locals alike feeling confident about navigating through all those meats and sides. Plus, your friends and family won’t be able to stop thanking you for introducing them to their new favorite barbecue joint. Grab your napkins and get hungry, because this guide is about to have you racing to the nearest Female Foodie-approved BBQ spot.
8. Alamo BBQ Company
Tucked away in a small pocket of trees downtown you’ll find Alamo BBQ Company. A joint that offers some of the best bbq in San Antonio. Their menu features every standard BBQ option—brisket, ribs, pulled pork, sausage, turkey, and chopped beef—all smoked to perfection. Their pork sausage has great flavor, snap, and delicious fattiness. The marbled brisket is juicy, tender, and cut thick, with an excellent bark (flavorful outside crust). In terms of sides, their potato salad is well balanced and has the perfect texture (no mushy potato salad, please). It goes well with the creamed corn which is ultra-thick and rich, with a little spicy kick, and a healthy sweetness. The mac and cheese has more of a mild flavor but definitely still hits the spot. Their peach cobbler is made fresh every day and is a must-order item for sharing. It has all things you would expect from a good cobbler and is not overwhelmed by cinnamon. It’s got that good outside crunch, soft inside, and is topped off with a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream. Along with a solid outdoor eating space (they even have a playground for the kids!), Alamo BBQ Company also offers a few tables in their indoor space if you choose to escape that infamous Texas heat.
7. Smoke Shack BBQ
Smoke Shack BBQ is a great place to find a traditional southern spin on your Texas BBQ. It’s also a great place to find some of the best bbq in San Antonio. You could probably close your eyes and point to a menu item and be completely satisfied, but you simply must order the ribs, turkey, and/or the brisket grilled cheese sandwich. Other menu highlights include the potato salad, creamed corn, and the beef sausage which is juicy, slightly spicy, and fatty—deliciously reminiscent of a summer sausage. The stewed green beans have a similar flavor profile to the ones you would find on the Thanksgiving table at grandma’s house complete with stewed onions and tomatoes. The mac and cheese is creamy, has good texture, and is fantastic in the Smoke Shack Mac—chopped brisket and barbecue sauce on top of a generous helping of mac and cheese.
6. Two Bros. BBQ Market
You might have seen us post about Two Bros. BBQ Market for their killer outdoor space but the food is really what keeps us coming back for more. Here, like most of the restaurants on this guide, you’ll stand in line to order meats by the pound or link and sides by volume before finding your seat. The cherry-glazed ribs are a Female Foodie favorite with their sticky-sweet crust and perfectly tender meat—definitely a must-try. The cheesy chop is also legendary. Picture elevated mac and cheese combined with small chunks of sauced beef brisket in a 50-50 ratio. It’s creamy, rich, and definitely a next-stop-flavor-town type of dish. Their marbled brisket is a strong BBQ contender and goes well with the jalapeño creamed corn and potato salad. Feel free to skip the poultry here but never the cobbler. Its crumb is somehow crunchy, crumbly, and soft all at the same time. If you’re feeling too full to indulge right after dinner, get it to go (we don’t want you living with regrets).
5. B-Daddy’s BBQ
B-Daddy’s is a spot situated in the historic Old Town Helotes on the northside of SATX with a large outdoor space, live music, and most importantly, some of the best BBQ in San Antonio. The sausage options are all delicious and well balanced, especially the jalapeño cheddar. The turkey and chicken are very moist and showcase an excellent rub. But the marbled brisket? 100% the cut to go for here. The fat and the crust are where you’ll find all the extraordinary, well-balanced, tender, and juicy goodness. The macaroni and cheese is creamy and rich and definitely not something you can eat a lot of. The creamed corn is heavily creamy and slightly sweet, while the green beans are cooked traditionally with salt, pork, and onions. Eat your food immediately rather than taking it to go so you can inhale all that fresh flavor without the risk of it drying out even a tiny bit on your drive home. Perfection like this just can’t wait.
4. Bandit BBQ
Bandit BBQ is relatively new to the San Antonian food scene and has major hipster coffee shop vibes. Traditional Texans might be skeptical when they first walk into this modern setting, but one bite will clear up any doubt. Bandit BBQ is absolutely serving up some of the best BBQ in San Antonio. The turkey has excellent smoky flavor and is perfectly moist—one of the best BBQ offerings in the entire city. The ribs are exceptional with all the smoke and tenderness with a wonderfully flavored crust that is perfectly sticky, sweet, and spicy. The macaroni and cheese is stout and creamy with its larger-than-life noodles drenched in liquid gold. The street corn is a welcomed modern twist with its savory, sweet, and spicy chili flavor. The brisket is cut thick, has a great bark, perfect flavor, and leaves you wanting nothing. Again, marbled is the way to go here. Both their traditional BBQ sauce and their mustard-based sauces are fantastic but sampling the sauces is half the fun here so don’t be shy. Really good smoked meats don’t need a lot of (if any) sauce but they can add a bit of complexity and acid to help balance the fattiness of the meat.
3. Curry Boys BBQ
While the application of their BBQ is a clear and welcomed departure from tradition, there is zero doubt that Curry Boys BBQ are masters of smoking meat. Fragrant jasmine rice, punchy curry, and smoky-tender-fatty brisket (our fave!) all come together to put Curry Boys on our guide to the best BBQ in San Antonio. So high-quality, so juicy, so flavorful, your teeth quite literally sink right into it any meat on the menu here. As for sides? Their take on creamed corn is trademarked by a wonderful curry flavor, sweet corn, and a good amount of heat. A must-try dessert is the flan. It’s creamy and perfectly balanced by the slightly bitter and sweet cold brew and whip cream that they pair it with. This is a standout place to enjoy BBQ and shows off the remarkable potential and versatility of really good smoked meats.
2. 2M Smokehouse
2M is the poster child for San Antonio flavor and BBQ fusion. This is the place you go to experience BBQ unique to this city’s Mexican culture. The brisket is moist and fatty with a perfect smoke-flavored bark. Their ribs are a must-try flavor punch that stand alone if you’re having a hard time deciding what to order. The Mexican street corn is deliciously sweet, roasted, slightly spicy, and balanced by the salty queso fresco on top. The beans are creamy, well seasoned, and so comforting with their savory stewed flavor. The coleslaw is crunchy, cold, and sweet—sort of reminiscent of a delicious carrot raisin salad from your childhood. The spiral mac and cheese is rich and goes well with the pulled pork that feels like it should be on a taco. The turkey is smoky and moist without being too soft. In addition to being on the list of the best BBQ in San Antonio, it’s also one of the best places to go for sweets. Their desserts are all next level and ever-changing. The strawberry tres leches cake is so decadent and their lemon pie is tart and wonderfully lemony. Just trust us: DO NOT skip dessert.
1. Pinkerton’s Barbecue
All the smoke, juice, and tenderness you would expect from great BBQ plus clean and sophisticated flavor profiles can be found at Pinkerton’s. Every item here is above reproach—never dry and so flavorful. The pulled pork has the perfect amount of tenderness without being mushy, dry, or drenched in sauce. This is the best place in the city for pulled pork. They just get it right. The brisket also has excellent flavor, so much tenderness and a bark that bites back. The ribs have a little more texture, killer smoke flavor, and come right off the bone. Their sides are also top-notch, from the jalapeño cheesy rice that has significant heat to it and delivers that beloved cheesy rice casserole feel, to the potato salad that’s tangy, more friendly on the mustard side, and has a great balance of crunch and creaminess. Room for dessert? The bread pudding is a knockout—ultra-creamy with a sweet and tangy berry sauce. In summary: You. Cannot. Go. Wrong. with a single thing on this menu, making Pinkerton’s our top pick for the best BBQ in San Antonio.