New survey loves Texas barbecue but finds some surprising results

New survey loves Texas barbecue but finds some surprising results

Texas barbecue rules the field, according to a new survey by a website called BBQ Revolution.

Titled “The Most Popular BBQ in the U.S.,” the report finds that Texas-style BBQ is by far the most popular barbecue style, according to Google trends data, handily beating four other styles: Kansas City, Memphis, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

In possibly more surprising news, the report also finds that the top city in America for barbecue is … Houston.

Methodology is everything, of course: The ranking is based on the number of barbecue restaurants in each city, pulled from data on Tripadvisor. Houston has 167 establishments, edging out noted barbecue destination Los Angeles, which comes in at No. 2 with 162 restaurants.

Other cities in Texas that make the top 10 include San Antonio, with 135 restaurants, which ranks a surprising third nationally. Austin comes in at fifth with 113 establishments, followed by Dallas at sixth place, with 109 BBQ joints.

Chicago ranks fourth with 124, and New York City takes sixth with 94.

Houstonians will surely be pleased with that result, but the notion that Austin might be Texas’ third best city for barbecue will likely cause considerable agita in the state capital.

As a point of comparison, consider Texas Monthly’s 2017 list of the state’s top 50 barbecue joints, which are based on actual visits by the magazine’s staff. Austin landed seven in the top 50, including two in the top 10. On that list, Houston had four, Dallas had three, and San Antonio only had two.

Admittedly, a lot has changed in barbecue over the last four years, but the Texas Monthly list certainly feels more in line with conventional wisdom around the state’s barbecue universe.

Then again, why not Houston? The city’s is home to top restaurants like Truth BBQ, Roegels Barbecue, and Gatlin’s BBQ and a lively pop-up scene that includes the Vietnamese-influenced smoke masters Khói Barbecue and the decadent birria tacos of JQ’s Tex-Mex Barbecue. And Houston’s own Blood Bros. will soon open their new location in a Las Vegas casino alongside some of the top chefs in the country.

One thing every Texan can agree on — any ranking that has Los Angeles ahead of anywhere in the Lone Star State should be viewed skeptically at best.


Melody Meadows

Based in Euless, Texas, Melody Meadows is a Chief Editor at Business Journal.  Previously  She worked for Crain Media and Yahoo News.  Ms. Meadows is a graduate of University of Texas at The University of Texas at Austin. Ms. Meadows started working for Business Journal in 2020.  She covers business, government, politics and stories about economics.