- Photo by @s.a.voortooth
2M Smokehouse & Catering San Antonio, never a barbecue beachhead, may finally have acquired a place worthy of queuing for ‘Q. Most of the acolytes-in-waiting appeared to be ordinary folks, not wild-eyed zealots. Their budding devotion had apparently been inspired by a local boy, Esaul Ramos, who has returned to San Antonio, still wreathed in sacred smoke, after an apprenticeship at an iconic Austin temple of clods and ribs. His mission, and that of his business partner, Joe Melig: to set us on the true path to BBQ enlightenment. Do they succeed? Yes.
Brisket: In a word, transformational. The bark, that essential, rugged crust, is rough and peppery. The essential layer of fat beneath bathes the tender meat in melting, mouth-coating goodness; there’s just enough smoke flavor.
Pork Ribs: No goopy glaze here — it’s mostly simple, peppery coating and beautiful, slow-cooking. The fall-from-the-bone meat is disarmingly sweet as a result. No need for sauce.
Sides: The house-pickled cucumber slices with chili flakes that come with each order are worth the wait alone.
2M seems to have bumped San Antonio into the will-wait-for-food world (especially after a nod in Texas Monthly’s Top 50 Barbecue Joints in Texas list) for better or for worse — guess we’ll bring our folding chairs next time. 2731 S. W.W. White Road, (210) 885-9352, 2Msmokehouse.com
Augie’s Barbed Wire Grill Slow roasted, never rushed, Augie’s packs on the meat by the pound at this little smoke shack. Take a peek of their beer garden for some brews with your ‘cue. Multiple locations, augiesbs.com.
Armadillos Texas Style Burgers For over 40 years residents of SA have gathered at Armadillos for ice-cold beer and incredible burgers. With an endless stream of jukebox tunes and their unique atmosphere, Armadillos is also the perfect place for your next big party. 1423 McCullough Ave., (210) 226-9442, armadilloburger.com.
B & B Smokehouse The Southside knows good ’cue. Since 1984, the juicy chicken, and sweet ribs have kept folks coming back for more. 2627 Pleasanton Road, (210) 921-2745, bbsmokehouse.com.
B & D Ice House Two Bros. meets Southtown in this casual barbecue spot known for its smoked meats, barbecue plates and loaded sammies. 1004 S. Alamo St., (210) 225-9801, banddicehouse.com.
The Barbecue Station For more than 20 years, the crew has stood behind their promise for fresh, quality meats. Tender, succulent entrees dominate their menu as well as meats sold by the pound. 1610 NE Loop 410, (210) 824-9191, barbecuestation.com.
Big Bob’s Burgers This place doesn’t hold back on its Spurs spirit, often known for its specialty burgers inspired by SA’s favorite players during the regular season. Other favorites include the 50/50 burger, a mouthwatering explosion of flavors with its combo of half beef, half bacon and loads of cheddar cheese. 447 Hildebrand Ave., bigbobsburgers.com.
The Big Bib BBQ Located off Austin Highway, The Big Bib boasts the best brisket and baby back ribs in town. Their smoky, tangy sauce is irresistible, but don’t miss the amazing cobbler. 104 Lanark Drive, (210) 654-8400, thebigbib.com.
Blanco BBQ Sandwiches and po’boys make the cut, so to speak, and most meats can be turned into a combo. Plus the space offers plenty of seating for groups of all sizes. 13259 Blanco Road, (210) 251-2602, blancobbbq.com.
Bolner’s Meat Market Great meats come from great butchers and the staff at this cafeteria-style butcher shop knows how to smoke some mean brisket. 2900 S. Flores St., (210) 533-5112, bolnersmeatmarket.com.
Bun ’N’ Barrel Its atmosphere has the vibe of an old-school diner, but its menu items are far from the boring. Its barbecue selection includes ribs, chicken, brisket and more. 1150 Austin Hwy., (210) 828-2829, bunnbarrel.com.
- Sara Luna Ellis
Burger Boy This rotund little chef keeps those in the know happy with homestyle burgers made to order, crinkle-cut fries and fresh milkshakes. Look for a new location in the coming months. 2323 N. St. Mary’s St., (210) 735-1955, facebook.com/burgerboysa.
Chatman’s Chicken Chicken done right is the main priority at this Southside joint. There are only two options for chicken, lemon-pepper and spicy; your fate lies in which flavor you pick. Load up on the sides with the creamy mac ‘n’ cheese or perhaps the corn fritters. 1747 S. W.W. White Road, (210) 359-0245.
Chester’s Hamburgers Homestyle burgers sandwiched between poppy seed buns have won over SA as this chain often tops of Best of San Antonio polls. Multiple locations, chestershamburgers.com.
Chris Madrid’s Another favorite (what can we say, San Anto loves burgers), Chris Madrid’s has made plenty of half-pound Macho-sized tostada burgers since its launch in 1977. Though its namesake passed away a few years ago, the Blanco Road spot is still filling those seats with great burgers, fresh fries and great service. 1900 Blanco Road, (210) 735-3552, chrismadrids.com.
Conger’s Smoke Shack Chris Conger, barbecue connoisseur, turned a sleepy spot across the Witte into a barbecue church. With giant servings of brisket, pulled pork, sausage, turkey, sticky-sweet ribs and flavorful chicken, it’s hard not to get a three-meat plate. 3714 Broadway, (210) 829-8448, smokeshacksa.com.
The County Line If your relatives insist on going to the Riverwalk and eating barbecue, you could do far worse than this river-adjacent joint. Multiple locations, countyline.com.
Fattboy Burgers & Dogs Autonomy to choose your destiny is nice. You can do just that at Fattboy with either your burger or dog, so go nuts. 2345 Vance Jackson Road, (210) 377-3288, fattboyburgers.com.
Fletcher’s Hamburgers No frills, just delicious burgers with fresh ingredients. The chicken sandwich is worth your time, as is any of their creamy milkshakes. 312 Pearl Pkwy., Building 6, Suite 6107.
- Courtesy of Frank
Hawx Burger Bar We can’t decide what’s more impressive — the over-the-top burgers like the Norteño with grilled jalapeños and Oaxaca cheese or the addictive Asiago truffle fries? There’s no need to decide. Come nighttime, the smallish joint turns into a bar and lounge so come read to dance. 2603 Vance Jackson Road, (210) 320-4299, hawxburgerbar.com.
Hopdoddy Burger Bar This Austin-based company packs it all in: fresh ingredients, delicious burgers, huge milkshakes, and several adult beverages to boot. Hopdoddy is also the San Antonio home of the Impossible Burger, a meatless patty that “bleeds” but is sustainable and plant-based. 17623 La Cantera Pkwy., Suite 101, (210) 434-2337, hopdoddy.com.
King’s Hwy. Brew & Q When pit master Emo Soliz left Two Bros. BBQ Market to open his own shop, he took a gamble, and it’s since paid off. With brisket tortas for lunch and Kentucky Browns for brunch, you cant’ go wrong. 1012 N. Flores St., (210) 971-9024, kingshwybnq.com.
Mr. & Mrs. G’s Home Cooking A classic meat-and-three sits in SA’s Southeast side. Go say hello! 2222 S. W.W. White Road, (210) 359-0002, facebook.com/mrmrsgs.
Original San Antonio Hot Dog House Because maybe you need blue cheese sauce on your hot dog, OK? 1218 W. Bitters Road, (210) 233-1139, originalhotdoghouse.com.
Pugels From the makers of the Original San Antonio Hot Dog House, comes a location near the zoo and Trinity U for all your hot dog needs. 3502 N. St. Mary’s St., (210) 467-5062, pugelshotdogs.com.
Rusty Bucket BBQ With new owners at the helm, there’s changes afoot at the Bucket, once known for its awesome beef ribs. Let’s hope they keep the classics. 600 Cupples Road, (210) 433-6663.
Texas Pride Barbecue Get out of the confines of 410, 1604 and settle into country life. The joint is known for quality ’cue, Thursday bike nights and Friday fish fries. 2980 1604 Loop, Adkins, (210) 649-3730, texaspridebbq.net.
TJ’s Hamburgers The Southside’s crowning jewel in burger form. TJ’s is the spot for shakes and have-it-your-way burgers on the cheap for more than 40 years. Family-friendly and delicious, TJ’s Hamburgers has lasting power. 2323 W. Southcross Blvd., (210) 927-7331.
Two Bros. BBQ Market The outside patio makes a great outing for family dinners while the inside has the rustic charm of a farmhouse outside of the Texas Hill Country at this Dady brother-created joint. The slow-cooked brisket is always tender and the cherry-glazed baby back ribs will leave you wanting more. Plus this is one of the only joints in SA where you can get grape Kool-Aid as a drink option. 12656 West Ave., (210) 496-0222, twobrosbbqmarket.com.
Two Step Restaurant & Cantina From the one-step burger to the “Texas-sized” two-step salad–everything on the menu is sure to put some pep in your step. Try the Plato de Caballero, which comes with two meats and two sides. Wash it all down with a frozen margarita and have yourself a serving of their whiskey custard cream. 9840 W. Loop 1604 N., (210) 688-2686, twosteprestaurant.com.
The Well Bring a crowd to this 20,000 square foot barbecue haven that also offers cocktails, a dance floor and yes, a dog park. 5539 UTSA Blvd., (210) 877-9099, thewellsanantonio.com.
Wrigleyville Grill Hot dogs, the Chi-Town way. If the buns don’t have poppy seeds, you’re in the wrong spot. 602 NW Loop 410, Suite 146, (210) 369-9833, wrigleyvillegrill.com.