Four Houston Barbecue Restaurants Named Top New Spots By Texas Monthly
Texas Monthly barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn is once again recognizing the Greater Houston area’s booming barbecue scene, naming four area newcomers to his just-released list of the 25 top new barbecue joints in the state.
In the article, Vaughn explains, “We launched [the top 25 new barbecue joints list] in 2015 because the level of activity in the Texas barbecue scene had gotten so intense that it seemed wrong to make readers wait to hear about the worthy rookies until we released our next Top 50 list.” That isn’t due until 2021.
With the growth of barbecue pop-up, trucks, and trailers, Vaughn decided to only include locations with “a permanent address and regular hours.” He also didn’t include second locations of restaurants already on the Top 50 list, such as Truth Barbecue, which recently opened a full-fledged restaurant in Houston.
Here are the four new Houston barbecue joints that fit Vaughn’s criterion and made the list.
Blood Bros. BBQ, 5425 Bellaire: The playful establishment from brothers Terry and Robin Wong and “blood brother,” partner and pitmaster Quy Hoang integrates Texas barbecue with traditional Asian ingredients and preparations. Since opening in January, they usually sell out by 3 p.m., thanks in no small part to the fan base they built hosting many pop-ups. Vaughn praises their Smoked Turkey Banh Mi, Smoked Brisket Fried Rice and Green Curry Boudin as well as more traditional smoked meats, including their “smoky and tender” brisket, which Houston Food Finder recently cited as an essential Houston dish.
Feges BBQ, 3 Greenway Plaza: One of our 2018 Best New Restaurant Picks, this barbecue place, which combines tradition and innovation, is in the most unlikely spot: an office building food court. The stand was thoughtfully set up with a real smoker, so take that as a message that, regardless of setting, owners Erin and Patrick Feges do not compromise on their food. Vaughn’s pro tip is to try as many of professionally trained chef Erin Feges’ side dishes as you can — and we couldn’t agree more. The outside-the-box delights include Moroccan-Spiced Baby Carrots, Elote Corn Salad, cracklins and, for dessert, the PB&J Chocolate Cake. The excellent sides by no way mean that the smoked meats don’t get equal attention. Like we said, there are no compromises at Feges BBQ.
Harlem Road Texas BBQ, 9823 Harlem Road, Richmond: Vaughn calls chef Ara Malekian “the Indiana Jones of Texas barbecue.” With his fondness for Armenian coffee, black cowboy hats and cigars, the chef indeed cultivates an unforgettable image. According to Vaughn, he also “smokes one of the finest beef ribs I have ever eaten.” Occasionally, Harlem Road also prepares hard-to-find smoked meats, such as octopus and lamb. Though Vaughn’s description of their brisket and sides as “not half bad” seems like faint praise, he does encourage visitors to “save room for the chocolate bread pudding made from croissants.”
Reveille Barbecue Co., 37421 FM 1774, Magnolia: As revealed by Vaughn, James McFarland and Michael Michna opened this barbecue joint in Magnolia as a “passion project.” Their resulting success is fodder for all of those who say, “Follow your dreams!” Sometimes, it indeed pans out. As Revellie grew, the owners brought on pitmaster Wade Elkins, formerly of Feges BBQ (also on the list) to expand the menu and hours of operation. Vaughn’s must-try meats include the “peppery brisket, peppery turkey and peppery beef ribs” — Reveille really believes in the power of pepper — and the sausage specials, which include Taco, Bánh Mì and Double IPA.
Along with the accolades, the Houston-area barbecue joints on Vaughn’s “best new” list are probably about to face a new challenge: staffing up to handle long lines of the barbecue-curious.
There are worse problems to have.