There are many things Texas is known for all over the world, from country music and Willie Nelson to the many ranches and toned and tanned cowboys that inhabit them. So you could say we have a lot to live up to. But possibly the best thing Texas has to offer, and the dish that every Texan and tourist craves, is brisket. Brisket is a tough beef that, when cooked just right, falls apart at the touch and has layers of juicy flavors from the seasoning and braising it's bathed in. I'm not sure about you, but my mouth is watering just thinking about it. As a born and raised Texan, I grew up on the stuff. Take it from me, you can never get tired of this meat—it's literally impossible. I tried going vegan once, and the biggest obstacle in my path was barbecue. Specifically brisket. Now, here are a few places that offer up that kind of life changing brisket.
1. Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas
East 11th street is home to the famous Franklin Barbecue. People arrive so early here that it's still dark out, and keep coming until there's a massive line wrapping across the block. The only redeeming quality about waiting in a line that long is that the rad owners set out chairs for customers to "take one" while they wait, which totally adds some street cred in my book. The brisket here is so juicy that it has a smoke ring when it's sliced through...for those that don't know, this is the definition of juicy!
2. Pecan Lodge in Dallas, Texas
You might not think a restaurant called the Pecan Lodge would serve incredible barbecue, but you'd be sooo wrong. People travel from all over Texas for their melt-in-your-mouth brisket and fixins. Hint: try some burnt-ends and barbecue sauce with your brisket—you can't leave without having had these. You're welcome.
3. Black's Barbecue in Lockhart, Texas
Lockhart is unofficially known as the barbecue mecca of Texas, and rightfully so. Black's is an old school family business in a charming barn. While you show up for bomb barbecue and savory sides, you get a complimentary history lesson on the 1960's from the pictures covering the walls. But of course, the true star is the brisket. Black's customizes it to your taste so you can get a big slab of fat or a completely cut, lean piece—any way you want it.
4. Snow's BBQ in Lexington, Texas
Snow's is an exclusive little shack in Lexington. I say exclusive because they're only open on Saturdays from 8am-2pm, or until they sell out. Even then, you should arrive an hour before 8 to make sure you don't have to wait too long. This town's favorite is run by the cutest little woman known to man, Tootsie. But don't be fooled, this sweet woman's food packs a punch. Everybody that's tried it has said her food sang a savory love song on their tongue...maybe not in so many words, but they still agree it's an incomparable experience.
5. Lockhart Smokehouse Barbecue in Dallas, Texas
Their motto is "no forks, no sauce needed" because the Smokehouse offers up butter-like brisket—which is the stuff wet dreams are made of. The bark from the brisket is a nutty and mildly salty crust, and as you walk into the barbecue hub the smoky scent it exudes hits you like a wall.