June 27, 2022

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How to get the best bites from the Houston Barbecue Festival

4 min read

The Houston Barbecue Festival was the latest event to delight hungry Houstonians with its return after a two-year pandemic hiatus.

On Sunday, about 2,000 barbecue enthusiasts gathered at the Humble Civic Center to sample small bites from the city’s best pitmasters, plus a handful more who traveled from across Southeast Texas.

Many barbecue joints opted to showcase their classics with tiny sausage links, rib chunks or brisket slices, while others were more creative with their fare, offering eaters tacos, nachos, chimichangas and more.

Here are some of the best bites from the Houston Barbecue Festival and where to get them now that the event is over. Many can be found at the restaurants, but for any festival exclusives listed here, we’ll give you the next best thing on the menu.

Where to find it: Blood Bros. BBQ in Bellaire (5425 Bellaire Blvd)

Where to find it: Blood Bros. BBQ in Bellaire (5425 Bellaire Blvd)

Emma Balter

Blood Bros. BBQ

The bite: Chino-changa

How to get it: Blood Bros. BBQ presented a twist on a chimichanga, a “Chino-changa” with brisket bulgogi and kimchi aioli. This was a festival exclusive, but you can get the three chefs’ Asian-influenced, push-the-envelope barbecue at their shop in Bellaire. The menu changes often, but the brisket fried rice is a staple.

Where to find it: Burns Original BBQ in Acres Homes (8307 De Priest St)

Where to find it: Burns Original BBQ in Acres Homes (8307 De Priest St)

Emma Balter

Burns Original BBQ

The bites: Chopped beef and sausage

How to get it: Burns Original has been an Acres Home institution since 1973. The classic tangy-sweet chopped beef and East Texas-style sausages the team served at the festival are available on the restaurant’s regular menu, and if you have cravings for Burns’ barbecue sauce, you can find bottles of it at any local Kroger.

Where to find it: Corkscrew BBQ in Spring (26608 Keith St)

Where to find it: Corkscrew BBQ in Spring (26608 Keith St)

Emma Balter

Corkscrew BBQ

The bites: Stuffed potato salad and slaw

How to get it: These two items were way more decadent than they sound, as both were layered with chopped brisket and cheesy sauce. Head to Corkscrew BBQ in Spring for the stuffed potato salad, which comes with your meat of choice, homemade cheese sauce between the potato and the meat, and is topped with green chile ranch and green onions. The restaurant serves the slaw on its own as a side, still accented by the brightness and crunch of leafy greens in the cabbage mix. And of course, brisket—just make sure you show up right at opening time at 11 a.m.

Where to find it: J-Bar-M Barbecue in East Downtown (2201 Leeland St)

Where to find it: J-Bar-M Barbecue in East Downtown (2201 Leeland St)

Emma Balter

J-Bar-M Barbecue

The bite: Brisket, pimento cheese and pickled jalapeño on a firecracker

How to get it: The mix of flavors and textures in this small bite were a hit. Pitmaster Willow Villareal and chef Jasmine Barela opened their swanky new East Downtown restaurant, J-Bar-M Barbecue, in November 2021. This exact bite isn’t on J-Bar-M’s menu, but there’s always brisket at the restaurant, and—pro tip—the pimento cheese and firecrackers are on the bar bites menu, which appears Fridays and Saturdays only from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Where to find it: monitor JQ's Tex Mex BBQ's social media for pop-up schedule

Where to find it: monitor JQ’s Tex Mex BBQ’s social media for pop-up schedule

Emma Balter

JQ’s Tex Mex BBQ

The bite: Smoked pork tamale with roasted green chile and queso blanco

How to get it: The diversity in Houston’s barbecue scene is unparalleled. Case in point: JQ’s Tex Mex, which calls its food “Chicano-style Texas BBQ,” serving its smoked meats on tacos, tamales and more. Unfortunately for Houstonians, JQ’s is a pop-up without a regular schedule or location, but it’s worth watching their Instagram and Facebook pages like a hawk to see where they’ll be next.

Where to find it: Pinkerton's Barbecue in the Heights (1504 Airline Dr)

Where to find it: Pinkerton’s Barbecue in the Heights (1504 Airline Dr)

Emma Balter

Pinkerton’s Barbecue


The bite: Memphis-style chopped pork nachos

How to get it: The Heights joint brought a little taste of Tennessee to Texas on Sunday, and we weren’t mad about it—especially as the Memphis-style pork was chopped up onto nachos with melted and shredded cheese, green bell peppers, tomatoes and Pinkerton’s signature barbecue sauce. We hate to break it to you: This was another festival exclusive. A trip to Pinkerton’s never disappoints, though, where you can load up on pulled pork or pork ribs, available glazed or dry-rubbed. And the South Texas beans are bound to scratch the itch those nachos left.

Where to find it: The Pit Room in Montrose (1201 Richmond Ave)

Where to find it: The Pit Room in Montrose (1201 Richmond Ave)

Emma Balter

The Pit Room

The bite: Chopped brisket tacos with cheddar, sour cream and salsa roja

How to get it: This Montrose mainstay’s breakfast tacos are available seven days a week, 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., including brisket and egg tacos and pulled pork hash and egg tacos. For even more of a Tex Mex fix, head to Candente next door, which is also owned by pitmaster Michael Sambrooks.

Where to find it: Tejas Chocolate & Barbecue in Tomball (200 N Elm St)

Where to find it: Tejas Chocolate & Barbecue in Tomball (200 N Elm St)

Emma Balter

Tejas Chocolate & Barbecue

The bites: Chile relleno sausage, carrot soufflé and chocolate panna cotta

How to get it: This Tomball hotspot is just as proud of its handcrafted chocolates as its perfectly smoked ‘cue. The chocolate panna cotta with pecan-praline whipped cream and candied pecans is available on the regular menu, as is the legendary moist and spongy carrot soufflé. The chile relleno sausage, also a fixture, is a link stuffed with chile and tons of cheese.



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