Where to Get Houston BBQ for Thanksgiving
Barbecue brings Texans together like few things can, and the Houston area boasts some of the best in the state. So, why not gather the family ‘round the table this Thanksgiving to gobble up a cornucopia of Houston BBQ piled high with decadent sides and accoutrements? (Cowboy hats are far more fashionable than those silly pilgrim capotains anyhow.) Below are some of this great food city’s finest locally owned and operated craft barbecue joints offering Thanksgiving specials now available for pre-order. Just don’t wait too long — and don’t forget dessert.
TRUTH BBQ, 110 South Heights: The Houston location of this critically acclaimed concept, which began as a humble outpost off Highway 290 in Brenham (which is still in operation with some impressive upgrades), launched dinner and bar service Thursdays through Saturdays at the end of September. The bar bites menu features Brisket Philly Cheesesteak, Smashburgers, Hot Gut and Collard Greens Eggrolls and more. (Hot gut is the name for a Central Texas style of sausage.) It allows owner-pitmaster Leonard Botello IV a chance to play with new recipes and flex his culinary creativity beyond traditional barbecue staples. Guests can belly up to the newly renovated bar, designed by Abbie Byrom-Botello, and pair their meals with the house cocktails, beer, wine or a dram from its rare bourbon collection in style. (This also makes it a great holiday getaway spot if things get a little tense with the in-laws.)
TRUTH will be sharing its holiday catering menu very soon. Check back here for updates.
Henderson & Kane General Store, 715 Henderson: Veronica and John Avila’s general store and restaurant in Houston’s historic Old Sixth Ward sells a variety of local goods, groceries and more, along with a full barbecue menu and daily specials. For Turkey Day there are whole smoked turkeys stuffed with house boudin dressing (10 to 12 pounds) for $160, whole smoked Prime Black Angus brisket (six to seven pounds) for $185, smoked wild turkey breast for $70 and whole smoked honey-glazed ham for $90. Feed the entire family with the Pit Crew Deluxe package, which is enough for six to eight people and comes with five pounds of smoked meats and three quarts of sides, or ‘Cue for the Whole Crew, which feeds 15 to 18 people and comes with 10 pounds of smoked meats and two half-trays of sides for $300.
For accompaniments, H&K has Smoked Tallow Brown Gravy, boudin stuffing, mac ‘n’ cheese, creamed corn, green beans and three varieties of tamales — made in collaboration with Cochinita & Co. — that are available fully cooked by the half dozen and come with reheating instructions. Four types of pie are available for dessert: bourbon pecan, pumpkin, apple and Salted Caramel Apple.
The cutoff for pre-orders is the evening of Sunday, November 19. Henderson & Kane will be open normal hours on Wednesday, November 22 from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and from 8 a.m. until noon on Thanksgiving Day. To view the full holiday menu and to place an order, visit the website.
Gatlin’s BBQ, 3510 Ella: Owner-pitmaster Greg Gatlin’s beloved Oak Forest establishment is featuring whole smoked turkey (14 to 16 pounds) for $95, smoked turkey breast for $105, smoked spiral ham (between 8 and 10 pounds) for $100, half-pans of cornbread dressing for $45, quarts of giblet gravy for $10, and half-pans of hot sides for $40 (with options including mac-n-cheese, baked beans, collard greens, smoked corn, dirty rice and yams).
Guests can place a pre-order by calling Gatlin’s at 713-869-4227 during normal business hours (Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.) The last day for pre-orders is November 16 and pickups are taking place Tuesday, November 21 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. or Wednesday, November 22 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Pizzitola’s Bar-B-Cue & Catering, 1703 Shepherd: This Heights staple, which recently celebrated 88 years of business, is offering a Texas-sized selection of brick pit-smoked offerings that are now available for pre-order. This year’s menu features whole smoked turkey for $89.95, whole smoked bone-in ham for $8.95 per pound and a slab of ribs for $39. Make it a Tex-Mex Thanksgiving with half and full pans of Brisket Enchiladas, or impress your family and friends by showing up with “The Contender” — a mighty, bone-in beef shank resembling Thor’s hammer. These are smoked in limited quantities each day by pitmaster Eudel Hernandez and cost $69.95.
Sides include Four Cheese Smoked Mac & Cheese, Smoked Cabbage With Bacon & Sausage, Pit-Roasted Corn & Jalapeño Cornbread, grilled vegetables and Pit-Roasted Street Corn. For something sweet, there are half-pans of banana pudding for $75 and individual Smoked Bourbon Pecan Pies for just $8.50 each.
The full menu can be viewed on the website, and orders can be placed in person or over the phone by calling 713-227-2283. Pickups are available from Thursday, November 17 through Wednesday, November 23. All orders will be fully cooked and include reheating instructions. Pizzitola’s will be closed on Thanksgiving Day but will open on Friday, November 24 from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m.
Pinkerton’s Barbecue, 1504 Airline: Thanksgiving specials are being offered at the original Heights location as well as the San Antonio restaurant. The menu includes owner-pitmaster Grant Pinkerton’s award-winning Central Texas-style salt-and-pepper whole Creekstone Farms Prime briskets for $195, whole smoked turkey breasts for $75 and whole World Championship Pork Shoulders for $60. Brisket and turkey orders include a complimentary bottle of Pinkerton’s proprietary Everything Rub, and the Pork Shoulder includes a bottle of Boss Hog Rub.
Pre-orders can be placed until November 21, and pick up is offered on Wednesday, November 22 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Thanksgiving Day from 8:30 a.m. until 10:30 p.m. Choose a time slot for picking up your order online. Pinkerton’s will only be open on Thanksgiving for order pick-ups and not for regular business. However it will be open regular hours on November 24 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (or until sold out). To place an order, fill out the Thanksgiving special order form online.
The restaurant is also offering a special Thanksgiving on a Bun sandwich all month long that’s loaded with smoked turkey, stuffing, pumpkin aioli and homemade cranberry sauce on a jalapeño cheese bun.
Feges BBQ, 8217 Long Point and The Hub, 3 Greenway Plaza: Feges (pronounced FEE-jis) is the brainchild of Patrick and Erin Smith Feges. Patrick is a self-taught pitmaster and Purple Heart recipient and Erin, a professional chef crafts the recipes for some of the best sides in the barbecue game, is a founding member of I’ll Have What She’s Having and 2016 winner of Food Network’s Chopped cooking competition.
The holiday menu is available at both locations and consists of whole turkey breast for $60, three links of sausage for $20, whole racks of pork ribs for $45, whole brisket for $160 (six to seven pounds on average) and whole smoked turkeys for $135, the latter of which are served hot and only available for pickup on Thanksgiving morning at the Spring Branch location from 9 a.m. until noon. All other meats are served chilled and vacuum-sealed with reheating instructions.
Feges does not sleep on its sides — and neither should you! Options include Pimento Mac & Cheese, Korean Braised Greens, Sweet & Spicy Sprouts, Loaded Potato Mash, Moroccan Glazed Carrots and Hogfat Cornbread. Cap off dinner with an order of Rum Raisin Bread Pudding with caramel.
The full Thanksgiving menu, pricing and details can be found on the website. Orders can be picked up at the Spring Branch brick-and-mortar restaurant November 21 and 22 from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. and on Thanksgiving Day from 9 a.m. until noon, while the Greenway Plaza food court eatery is offering pre-order pickups November 21 and 22 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Spring Branch location will be open on Thanksgiving for pre-order pickups only. However, it will be open with regular hours on Black Friday and specials that day include $1 smoked wings; other specials are yet to be announced. The Greenway Plaza location will be closed November 23 and 24.
Feges also offers local pick-up orders and nationwide shipping online via Goldbelly.
Willow’s Texas BBQ: Ordering is live for pitmaster Willow Villarreal and chef Jasmine Barela’s lauded steak night and barbecue pop-up, which is offering smoked boneless turkey breast for $65 and whole smoked briskets for $150. Orders can be placed through the website until November 15. Meats will be chilled, sealed and served with reheating instructions. Pre-orders can be picked up in the East End from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. (pickup address will be shared via email) or at Dan Electro’s in The Heights from 6 to 9 p.m. on November 22, where Willow’s currently offers Steak Nights on Wednesday evenings starting at 7 p.m.
Blood Bros. BBQ, 5425 Bellaire: Owned by brothers Robin and Terry Wong and longtime friend Quy Hoang, who also serves as pitmaster, the Blood Bros. have made a name for themselves with creative, Asian-influenced, Central Texas-style ‘cue and daily specials that exemplify Houston’s dynamic food culture. This month’s holiday catering options include a 4- to 5-pound brisket for $150, Angel’s Envy Glazed Ham-Cured Pork Loin for $65 and Tea-Brined Whole Duck also for $65. Roasted duck gravy is available for $6 a pint or $10 for a quart.
Sides are available by the half or full pan with options including cornbread dressing, smoked Gouda mac & cheese, jalapeño creamed corn, brisket fried rice, jalapeño cole slaw, ambrosia salad and collard greens. This year Blood Bros. is offering desserts from chef Jane Wild with options such as Texas pecan pie, heirloom pumpkin pie, caramel apple pie double crust, pumpkin spice coffee cake and salted honey pie.
Orders can be placed through the website. Cutoff for Thanksgiving pre-orders is Sunday, November 12 at 3 p.m. and pickups will be Thanksgiving Day, Thursday November 23, from 10 to 11 a.m. Blood Bros. will be closed November 23 and 24.
Ray’s Real Pit BBQ Shack, 3929 Old Spanish Trail: This family-owned and -operated restaurant in the Third Ward is known for serving Cajun and soul food dishes including fried fish and shrimp dinners, po’boys, burgers and more in addition to co-owner and pitmaster Rayford S. Busch’s hickory-smoked meats. For Thanksgiving, it is offering whole smoked turkey (16-20 pounds) for $75.99, half hams for $58.99 each, whole brisket for $18.99 per pound, sliced brisket for $23.95 per pound and whole or sliced turkey breast.
Side options are available by the half- or full-pan and choices include smoked macaroni and cheese, dirty rice, green beans and potato salad. For dessert there is peach cobbler, banana pudding and sweet potato pie.
The final day to place an order is Friday, November 17 and pickup dates are Tuesday November 21 before 6 p.m. and Wednesday, November 22 before 2 p.m. Visit the website to view the full Thanksgiving menu and to fill out an order form. Orders can also be placed over the phone by calling 713-748-4227 or by sending an email.
Brett’s BBQ Shop, 25220 Kingsland: Owner-pitmaster Brett Jackson has built a destination for craft barbecue in Katy that will have you coming back again and again. Celebrate the holiday with whole smoked turkey (16 to 20 pounds) for $140, bone-in smoked whole ham for $160, smoked whole boneless, skinless ham for $165, smoked whole boneless skin-on turkey breast for $95 and a must-try, half-pan of mouth-watering brisket enchiladas smothered in cheese for $45.
Sides are available by the half-pan, with choices such as Ana’s Roasted Garlic Mash, Jacqueline’s Cranberry Orange Relish, Brett’s Pan Gravy, collard greens, mac & cheese, Cilantro Jalapeño Slaw, butter beans and potato salad.
Visit the website to view the full menu, and place an order. Pre-orders are available for pickup on Thanksgiving Day from 9 to 11 a.m. Brett’s will be closed on November 24.
Harlem Road Texas BBQ, 9823 Harlem Road: Chef-owner and pitmaster Ara Malekian weaves his Swiss background and Armenian heritage along with his years of professional culinary experience into a flavorful tapestry of exciting, slow-cooked dishes well worth the drive out to Richmond.
For Thanksgiving, Harlem Road is offering Smoked Frenched Turkey Breast (between six and eight pounds) with a quart of gravy for $125. All orders must be placed in person at the restaurant Wednesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. No online or phone orders will be accepted. The order cut-off is Saturday, November 18. Orders can be picked up on Thanksgiving Day from 7 to 11 a.m.
Harlem Road will be open from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Friday, November 24 with the regular menu available, which includes Double R Ranch brisket, beef and pork ribs, pulled pork, sausage and chicken slow-cooked over aged wine barrel staves.
CorkScrew BBQ, 26608 Keith: This wildly popular Old Town Spring pitroom, which is owned-and-operated by Will and Nichole Buckman, regularly sees hungry patrons brave long lines for a taste of its high-quality smoked meats and housemade sides. This year, it’s offering several whole meats and sides, with per-pound prices that vary by item. Beef ribs, pork butt, brisket, pork ribs, turkey breast, chicken and sausage are available, as well as side orders such as smoked beans, mac-n-cheese, potato salad, coleslaw and more — including half pans of cobbler for $60.
The restaurant will be open for pre-order pickups only on Tuesday, November 21 between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. The last call for pre-orders is November 14 (or until orders are booked up, so don’t delay). Visit the website for ordering and pickup instructions. CorkScrew will be closed for business November 23 through 28.
Smokin’ Z’s BBQ, 6 Herring: This husband-and-wife-owned and -operated Bayou Vista food truck is taking pre-orders for its Central Texas-style barbecue until Monday, November 20 — unless it happens to run out of pit space before that time. Pickup is on Thanksgiving Day between 10 and 10:30 a.m. All orders include BBQ sauce, housemade pickles and onions.
The menu includes whole briskets (5 to 6 lbs) for $150, whole turkey breast for $65, whole rack of spare ribs for $35 and a half-pan of sides for $45 (options include macaroni and cheese, Sage Sausage Stuffing, Cornbread Soufflé and Jalapeño Creamed Corn.) Orders can be placed online, or emailed to owner-pitmaster Zaid Al-Jazrawi directly.
Other barbecue joints around town will also soon be revealing Thanksgiving packages, including Tejas Chocolate + Barbecue, Bar-A-BBQ, Roegels Barbecue Co. and more. So, keep an eye out and support your favorite local meat smoker! You can’t go wrong with any of them and it’s a surefire way to elevate your leftovers sandwich. We have a lot to be thankful for living in Houston.
Mario-Sebastian Berry is a wine and spirits vendor who has been in the hospitality industry since 2002. Currently, he represents Blanco, Texas-based Andalusia Whiskey Co. and multiple wine labels. Somehow, he also finds time to be Houston Food Finder’s associate editor and social media manager.