My husband and I have been in Texas for the past month visiting my family. So we thought while we were in the area we would visit some of the best barbecue spots in Austin. There are so many others we would’ve liked to have tried but we’ll just have to leave those for another time.
Terry Black’s BBQ
First stop was Terry Black’s. The best part about this BBQ trip is that most of the food on the menu will be gluten-free. The only items on the menu at Terry Black’s that weren’t gluten-free were the mac & cheese, the sandwiches, and the desserts, which are basically a given.
Here I ordered the pork ribs and the potato salad and my husband ordered the jalapeño cheese sausage, a massive beef rib (Terry Black’s signature item), and cream corn. The pork ribs were glazed with a sweet sauce. I prefer a drier rub on pork ribs but they were still very good if you like a sweet barbecue sauce. Surprisingly, my husband finished the entire beef rib! And he even had room for a bit of sausage and pork ribs. We shared the sides which I recommend both the potato salad and the cream corn.
LeRoy and Lewis Barbecue
Later that day we stopped by LeRoy and Lewis at the Cosmic Coffee and Beer Garden. This food truck takes Texas BBQ and adds a twist to make it a unique experience. Unfortunately, we didn’t know that they would sell out of most of their menu by dinner time, but we were still able to order the cauliflower burnt ends, the L and L Burger, and the Texas Red Chili Frito Pie.
The burnt ends were unexpectedly delicious. It’s a vegan menu option (and also gluten-free) but even if you’re not vegan I’d recommend trying them. The burger isn’t gluten-free, but my husband really enjoyed it. Instead of the usual ground beef patty, they used smoked brisket to create a patty and topped it with cheese, grilled onions, pickles, and burger sauce on a toasted potato bun! The Frito pie is also gluten-free and was how you’d imagine a Frito pie except much, much better.
The next morning we lined up at Franklin’s at 7am after getting a coffee at Try Hard Coffee Roasters. Before COVID there would already be a long line at 7am, but we were about 10th in line. So don’t feel like the lineup will be as intense these days if that’s keeping you from visiting Franklin’s.
The great thing about Franklin’s is that everything will be gluten-free except for their espresso barbecue sauce and their desserts. I would recommend trying their brisket, pulled pork, and pork ribs. I prefer Franklin’s pork ribs over Terry Black’s for sure. And the vinegar sauce pairs well with the pulled pork. We also tried their pinto beans which had pieces of brisket mixed in, and I can’t stop thinking about them! Their potato salad is also a must.
Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ
This place is the definition of Tex Mex food. We lined up at the food truck at about noon. The line wasn’t too bad, but it was even longer when we left so I’d recommend lining up after their breakfast hours (just after 11am). Although, I’m sure their breakfast tacos would be amazing to try as well.
There weren’t as many gluten-free options here but still plenty to choose from. Basically, you’ll have to ask if certain items are gluten-free, but they are willing to accommodate if you have any concerns. They offer corn tortillas for their tacos to replace the flour ones, and their queso and chips are also gluten-free. I got their smoked carnitas taco on corn tortilla, which comes with caramelized onions, cilantro, and tomatillo habanero salsa. It was even better than it sounds. I also added a bit of queso from our chips and queso for even more flavor. You can also order meat by the pound and order a few sides for a more classic barbecue meal. But I think getting the tacos is the way to go if you want to experience Tex Mex at its best.
Other places we visited:
South Congress — the perfect street to walk after a big meal
Allen’s Boots — the go-to spot for cowboy boots and hats
Merit Coffee — the best coffee around!
The Brass Tap — such a nice staff and great live music
Radio Coffee & Beer — a patio area featuring different food trucks
Pelican Post & Paperie — the cutest stationery store and the owner is so sweet!