However, the search is far from over and the number of good barbecue restaurants is only increasing, prompting the magazine’s barbecue guru to compile a brand new list of the top 25 new and improved barbecue joints in Texas.
“I’ve been spending the last two really just driving around the state eating barbecue,” he says. “In doing that, I’ve eaten a lot of good barbecue, a few great places, and certainly plenty more disappointments.”
Vaughn shares to new barbecue joints that might surprise folks with the Standard.
“When I saw that this little joint in Farwell, Texas, that’s right there on the border with New Mexico, and saw that it was only open on Thursdays, I knew I had to go there,” he says about The BBQ Shop in Farwell, Texas.
Typically a take-out order restaurant, Vaughn’s strongest suggestion is the pig candy, which he describes as “candy bacon jerky.”
Another rare find is Kolacny’s Bar-B-Q in Hallettsville, operating since 1989 by the now-retired couple Ervin and Carolyn Kolacny. Before you make the drive, know that Kolacny’s is only open on Saturdays and Sundays.
“When I drove over it the first time, I was really just doing it to check it off the list as a place that was permanently closed, but I noticed that it was open,” Vaughn says. “They had the hours painted on the side of the building, along with a dancing pig and chicken.”
For Vaughn, Kolacny’s is “a great, classic barbecue joint,” where it’s normal for customers to bring their own pots to take barbecue home in. The Hallettsville treasure is also an example of the “improved” qualities of the list.
“That’s always our goal is to keep looking for new and interesting places to add to that next list,” Vaughn says. “We’ve only seen the quality of barbecue improve across the state since 2013, so it’s not gonna be any surprise to me when we see quite a bit of turnover in the 2017 list.”