There’s no question that when it comes to delicious BBQ, Austin reigns supreme. Whether you’re waiting in the iconic line outside of Franklin or you’re at one of the many bbq trucks around the city, there’s an endless variety of smoked and saucy meats to choose from. While you can always get a smoked brisket sammie or a pulled pork po’ boy just about anywhere, there are a few food joints in town that are pushing the BBQ envelope and cooking up a little something different. So from Tex Mex to Korean fusion and everything in between, here are 8 totally original bbq sandwiches in Austin that break the mold.
El Frito Loco at La Barbecue
Situated in a small building off Cesar Chavez, La Barbecue is one of the more recent additions to Austin’s smoked meat scene. This tasty joint serves up traditional bbq plates and meats by the pound as well as a handful of speciality BBQ sandwiches. Some of the mouthwatering sandwiches at La Barbecue include the El Sancho Loco with sausage, pulled pork and beef and the CHI-TOWN piñata with LA bbq hotgut. But the sandwich that trumps them all in flavor and ingenuity is the larger than life El Frito Loco with pulled pork, chopped beef, beans, Fritos, cheese and jalapeños. This salty snack food concoction is basically a heart attack waiting to happen but it’s worth every clogged artery!
The Cow at Luke’s Inside Out
Operating out of a small but successful food truck in south Austin, Luke’s Inside Out is an upscale sandwich shop known for their scrumptious gourmet toasted sandwiches and decadent brunches. Some of the globally inspired creations at Luke’s Inside Out include the Char Su Salmon sandwich with beet slaw and miso mayo, the Vegetable Falafel with toasted mozzarella and the Shrimp Sandwich with chipotle rosemary glaze and bleu cheese. Among these tasty treats is a bbq sandwich like no other known as The Cow. The name sounds straight forward enough, but this exotic sandwich is actually a tender smoked brisket Banh Mi with cilantro, jalapeños and Siracha aioli.
Loaded Sandwich at BBQ Revolution
Of course no list of Austin bbq would be complete without a 100% vegan, meatless option to satisfy the picky eaters of the city. BBQ Revolution is the vegetarian answer to Texas’s BBQ obsession. This cruelty free food truck serves up surprisingly delicious “imitation” meats made from plant-based proteins and local ingredients. Some of the popular food picks at BBQ Revolution include perfectly seasoned organic Tempeh Ribs, “No Bull Brisket” with wheat roast from White Mountain Foods and dairy-free Mac n Cheeze. And to make you feel like you’re eating the real thing, you can even order a loaded bbq sandwich stacked high with your choice of protein and a generous serving of potato salad and cole slaw. Who says vegetarians can’t be bbq lovers?
Pork Belly Fried Egg Sandwich at Uncle Billy’s
Located in the lush Barton Springs area, Uncle Billy’s is a popular local brewery and BBQ stop in south Austin. This laid back brewpub offers a fantastic rotating selection of beers on tap as well as a handful of their own speciality brews including the Green Room IPA, Lazy Day Lager and Barton Springs Pale Ale. Along with flavorful craft beers, Uncle Billy’s also serves up delectable BBQ, sandwiches and weekend brunches from out of their smokehouse. Some popular menu items at Uncle Billy’s include the gigantic Billy’s Club with smoked turkey, Swiss and bacon and the Memphis Style Pulled Pork Sandwich topped with cole slaw. But for a super satisfying bbq breakfast sandwich that beats all others, head to Uncle Billy’s for weekend brunch and try the unbeatable Pulled Pork Fried Egg Sandwich with bacon. This super sized breakfast sammie is strong enough to cure any hangover!
Tony Montana at Slab BBQ
This little bbq treasure humbly began inside a small food truck called Sugar Shack BBQ. Today, Slab BBQ has two successful brick and mortar locations in Austin and are know for serving some of the best bbq in central Texas! This hybrid bbq concept prides itself on bridging the gap between the distinct flavors and styles of Memphis, Alabama and Texas as well as spicing up their meats with 4 specialty Slab sauces made in house. Pitboss and founder Mark Avalos is famous for pushing the boundaries of bbq convention and has even been featured on the Travel Channel and Food Network for his incomparable pulled pork Sammies. Among the tongue-in-cheek bbq creations at Slab are Notorious P.I.G. with pulled pork, El Jefe with prime angus brisket and the Brown Chicken Brown Cow with chicken and beef. But one of the most deliciously creative inventions at Slab is the Tony Montana: a Cubano-inspired pulled pork sandwich topped with sausage, pickles, queso and Slab’s famous Gold Rush sauce.
Heartstopper at Eastside Tavern
Located in booming east Austin, Eastside Tavern is a casual bar and grill that offers great drink specials and savory BBQ style sensations. This happening happy hour hangout is also known for their amazing rooftop patio where you can have a delicious dinner and enjoy the iconic Austin skyline. Some of the enticing menu items at Eastside Tavern include Pickled Deviled Eggs, BBQ burgers with your choice of meat and pulled rib sandwiches with delicious bacon bourbon jam and bleu cheese. But the BBQ sandwich that beats them all is not technically a sandwich, but a burger: the Heartstopper! True to its name, this mammoth burger is packed with pulled pork, sausage, bacon, jalapeño and queso then finished off with a huge portion of brisket. Cholesterol never tasted so good!
Piggy Cristo at Noble Sandwich Co.
Serving hungry Austinites out of two locations, Noble Sandwich Co. is a quirky Austin sub shop known for their pig-centric sandwich creations. This delightfully weird deli does everything from bodacious breakfasts to loaded lunches and dinners. Plus, Noble Sandwich Co. is gluten free friendly and will make any of their sandwiches in a lettuce wrap or gluten free bun upon request – which is pretty fantastic for the celiac sufferers of the world who really miss sandwiches! Some of the main menu highlights at Noble Pig include the Pork Cubano, PBLT with smoked pork belly and Stacked Beef Pastrami with sauerkraut. But no sandwich on the list compares to the sheer savory genius of the Piggy Cristo made with pulled pork, ham, bacon jam, and cheddar on Red Bud battered rye bread. Pure pork in all its salty glory.
Boss Hog at Gourdough’s
Spanning two busy food trailers and a small spot on south Lamar, Gourdough’s is a casual neighborhood concept best known for their sweet and savory donut dishes. Home of the original Donut Burger, this tasty bar and grill serves up tall beers, great happy hours and some seriously good stick-to-your-ribs foods. They even made up saucy little names to kick up the attitude of these outrageously decadent dishes, including the Double D’s Burger with fried egg and bleu cheese, the Mother Clucker with hand battered fried chicken and the Drunken Hunk with bacon wrapped meatloaf. Though Gourdough’s isn’t necessarily a BBQ joint per se, they still have a few smoked meat platters on the menu that satisfy hungry meat eaters while totally redefininig the BBQ genre. For a sandwich that goes beyond bbq, try the epic Boss Hog, a dish that definitely lives up to its name with slow roasted pulled pork, jalapeño potato salad and sweet bourbon bbq sauce piled high on a piping hot donut.