Like many Texans, Todd Ashmore grew up eating barbecue at gatherings with family and friends, but when backyard cookouts weren't enough for him, he began driving for miles in search of the perfect sauces and meats. Eventually, Ashmore decided to create his own supply, opening Opie's Barbecue so that he could consume sauce-covered brisket, ribs, and pork chops with his family and friends at any time. Sunlight pours in over sturdy wooden tables and chairs in Ashmore's clean, casual restaurant, where he often savors the aromas of the eatery's signature sweet and spicy sauce alongside customers while clad in his usual flip-flops-and-shorts ensemble.
Travis Dickey opened Dickey's Barbecue Pit in 1941. To keep things simple but delicious in the early days, he created a minimalistic menu with only seven items such as beef brisket and bottled milk. By the time the '60s rolled up in a Volkswagen van, Dickey's two sons had grown up and taken over the enterprise. Using their father's hickory-smoked recipes, they expanded the business from a single restaurant to a franchise. To this day, each location uses the same tried-and-true barbecue techniques employed by the founder all those years ago. From the original seven items, the menu has grown to include spicy cheddar sausage and complimentary ice cream as well as sides such as macaroni and cheese and jalapeño beans.
Resting on Barton Springs just off South Lamar, Green Mesquite BBQ and More has been “smoking the good stuff” since 1988. And it’s not just a clever, colorful name: the stools at the bar to the left of the entrance, plus all the seats and booths – not to mention the awning outside – feature some amount of forest green coloring. The restaurant is also straightforward in its specializes of all things barbecue. Diners can dig into brisket, pulled pork, sausage and other traditional meats – but it’s the signs intriguing “more” that often keeps customers coming back. Sometimes, it’s a Green Mesquite cheese steak taco basket, made up of two ribeye tacos with Swiss cheese, grilled onions and pico de gallo. Other times, customers call for a po’ boy, bowl of jambalaya or chef’s salad. There’s a little bit of everything found inside Green Mesquite.
Silver Grill Cafe is a rustic refuge for savory Tex-Mex fare, succoring the famished masses with hearty dinner plates and breakfasts served all day. Elephantine though devoid of elephants, the menu touts golden-fried appetizers, meat-replete barbecue, and russian nesting burgers in sizes for all appetites. Pioneer your meal with a border-blurring appetizer of barbecue nachos, then settle down on a customizable three-meat plate with options such as turkey, ribs, brisket, pulled pork, sausage, and more. Breakfast options include the chorizo mexicano, which hosts enough eggs, spicy sausage, and tortillas to fill both an empty belly and a pair of ears seeking protection from the neighbor's early-rising rooster. Between bites, take advantage of free WiFi to look up new chewing techniques.
Buster's BBQ offers meaty morsels in flavorful smoke, cooking meats to tender perfection in owner Tim Cook's pecan-fired smoke pit. The dinner and lunch menu boasts a slew of carnivore-pleasing chow, including sliced or block-chopped beef brisket, garlic-stuffed pork shoulder, or skinless turkey smoked in mayonnaise and cracked black pepper (each $6.65 per half pound). Meats can arrive delectably displayed atop a sandwich ($5.99), as a platter with savory sides ($8.99+), or dressed up in fashionably fringed leather jackets.
Mann's menu is the work of owner Jim Mann, an artist whose medium is meat and whose canvas is your face. No-nonsense noshers can order meat by the pound—sausage ($11.99), brisket ($12.99), ribs of bovine ($9.09) or porcine ($12.99) origin, pulled pork ($12.99), and more. To keep a hand open for impromptu gong solos, have Jim slap some of that meat between ground-wheat slabs for a barbecue sandwich ($5.59) and side it with potato salad, turnip greens, or black-eyed peas ($2.59 for one serving, $4.99 a pint). Larger appetites have their choice of combo plate with two sides (two meats, $11.59; three meats, $12.99; four meats, $15.79; veggie plate, $7.59). Once your plate looks like a pig exploded on it and your mouth and clothes are gloriously slathered in barbecue sauce, potato salad, and flecks of cobbed corn, finish up your power lunch with a jumbo Texas sweet tea ($2.29) and banana pudding ($2.89), then go nail that job interview.