Anyone who’s visited Austin knows that it’s the sweet spot for good old down home BBQ. With pitflamed influences from the country’s most iconic BBQ locales including Lockhart, Kentucky, South Carolina and Memphis, Austin has an appetizing amalgam of meaty treats for the omnivores who take their smoked meats with a side of even more meat! While many have heard of the more popular BBQ spots around Austin like Black’s BBQ, Stubb’s and the famous Franklin BBQ, there are some delicious food trucks rolling around town that offer the same – if not better – quality BBQ without the chaotic crowds and insane wait (not to say that the other well-known spots aren’t worth the wait – in fact, you should definitely try them if you have a chance!) But if you’re in the mood for some of the best BBQ that Austin has to offer and would rather skip the long lunch lines at all the poppin spots, check out these low-key BBQ food trucks in Austin that will have you stuffed and satisfied with smoky, savory goodness in no time!
Rollin SmokeLocated on bustling East 6th street, Rollin Smoke is there to satisfy all your late night – possibly inebriated – BBQ cravings with a menu full of smoked snacks and homemade sides. Now serving lunch on the weekdays, you can get your Rollin Smoke fix for lunch – or even second breakfast just because you’re a grown ass adult and no one can stop you! This kitschy food truck may not be much to look at, but many say their BBQ is on par with some of the best joints in town, including La Barbecue and Black’s Barbecue. Known for their handmade sauces, which include a Big Red-based sauce, a Bulleit Bourbon sauce and a more traditional vinegar tomato sauce, Rollin Smoke offers perfectly smoked meats and spicy slaws for the BBQ lover on the go. House specialities range from Brisket and Pork Belly to Pork Sausage and Mac n Cheese. Some prefer the slow-cooked Brisket Sandwich with housemade rub, while others opt for the popular Playboy sandwich made with a quarter pound of brisket, a quarter pound of pulled pork and a half link of Rollin Smoke’s famous cheddar all-pork sausage. Drunk or not, you’ll thoroughly enjoy a hearty helping of Rollin Smoke’s BBQ any time of day or night.
Kerlin BBQSet up in the East Side Food Park off E. Cesar Chavez, Kerlin BBQ is a laidback, homey snack spot with tasty dishes like pork shoulder, potato salad and smoked brisket. Hailed the #1 BBQ joint in America by Business Insider, Kerlin serves up down home southern comfort food and homemade fixins to those in need of a pulled pork pick-me-up. Since the word got out about this renowned BBQ truck, the lines have gotten a little longer. But you can usually still get your hefty helping of delicious, fresh sliced meats within an hour – and it’s definitely worth the wait! Their brisket is moist and flavorful with a delightfully crisp bark and they offer “one of the finest examples of Texas-style pulled pork” according to Texas Monthly. From Pork Ribs and Sausage to Brisket Sandwiches and Pork Belly Burnt Ends, one thing’s for sure: Kerlin BBQ is a “transcendent brisket experience” that every respectable meat-eater should try!
Bonus: Kerlin also sells drool-worthy kolaches Wed-Sun 11AM until sold out that some say rival Czech kolaches! And you can also “skip the line” and order your BBQ ahead of time to save the wait.
Brown’s BBQPermanently parked next to the highly frequented Corner Bar on south Lamar, Brown’s BBQ is easily one of the most underrated yet noteworthy comfort food trucks in town! This humble BBQ trailer has yet to make the iconic top BBQ lists, but that’s part of what makes it so special! It’s like a delectably well-kept secret that only the worthy, true BBQ fans know about. For a tiny trailer, this smokehouse sure does pack a lot of flavorful punch into their dishes. Like their melt-in-your-mouth brisket, tender Pork Ribs, subtly spicy Beef Sausages and creamy Bacon Mac n Cheese, all seasoned and spiced impeccably.Along with your above-average smoked meats, Brown’s also serves up southern style chicken by the pound along with belly-bursting comfort foods like Corn on the Cob, Braised Cabbage with Bacon and rich Banana Pudding. Brown’s is a no-line, mouth watering meat marvel in south Austin that certainly deserves way more attention than it gets – just don’t spoil the secret!
Scotty’s BBQAnother hidden East Austin treasure, Scotty’s BBQ is a no-frills mom-and-pop stop for those who don’t mind a little grunge with their grub. Operating out of a small school bus adjacent to a handful of shaded picnic tables, this plain-faced pork purveyor is home to some of Austin’s best BBQ. The beef ribs are juicy and perfectly marinated with Scotty’s special Dr. Pepper sauce, and the brisket is among the most tender and smokey beef that the city has to offer. While the plating and presentation is somewhat lackluster – foam containers with a few slices of plain white bread and a smattering of sides – the flavors are what stand out at this friendly family food truck. Snack on Turkey Legs and Sausage Wraps on the weekends and fill your plate with Pulled Pork, Chopped Beef, Jalapeño Cheddar Sausage or Hudson’s Sausage, Beans, Creamed Corn and Cole Slaw on the weekdays. There’s not usually a wait at this low key lunch spot and you can also order online and pickup. Though the prices are steeper and the sides are simpler than most of its fellow BBQ peers, Scotty’s still earns its place among the most highly recommended mobile meat merchants in town.
Dirty Glove Midwest BBQStraying from the conventional southern-style BBQ, Dirty Glove dishes out delicious midwest-style meats to Texans looking for a different take on classic BBQ. This small smoked sensation in north Austin has a cute little setup with tables and even live music to serenade you while you stuff yourself with smokey sausage and brisket. While the menu is chock full of midwestern style choices like chicken wings, tenders, drums, nachos and fish n chips, the Pork Ribs and Brisket are where Dirty Glove really shines. Lean, juicy and smoked for several hours, the brisket is always a favorite here. And the Pork Ribs are packed with so much meat you could live off them for days – you might even have a full on Fred Flintstone moment gettin those bad boys into your car! Some may be turned off by the idea of midwestern style BBQ since it’s much more focused on the meats than the sauces – in fact, the sauce is more like an afterthought in these dishes. But folks that haven’t tried this non-traditional smoking style are definitely missing out! This Michigan-Style meat joint is the real deal!
Bonus: Dirty Gloves is also known for their larger than life authentic Michigan-Style Coney Dogs, served hot and fresh with a heaping amount of chili and cheese, if you’re looking for a break from all that brisket.
Leroy and Lewis BBQLocated in a large food park next to the cool Cosmic Coffee in south Austin, Leroy and Lewis has gotten rave reviews from foodies for being some of the best “new Barbecue” around. By new Barbecue, they mean they use unusual meat cuts and locally sourced, seasonal side dishes such as Kimchi, Kale Caesar Slaw and Pork Hash Rice to achieve their savory, satisfying servings. From Smoked Beef Cheek and Pulled Whole Hog with house made beet BBQ sauce to Akaushi Brisket and Barbacoa dressed with queso, fresco, onion, jalapeño salsa and cilantro, nothing about Leroy and Lewis’s intriguing recipes is ordinary. Other extraordinary menu offerings include the Barbacado – a half avocado stuffed with Barbacoa and dressed, the L&L Burger with brisket and the housemade Citra Hop Sausage. The prices are a little high but that’s because you’re paying for perfection! It’s all different, it’s all delicious, and it’s all available for little to no wait!
Tip: Parking can be a little hectic during peak hours and L&L sells out of the good stuff on the reg, so if you want prime seats – and meats – be sure to get there before the rush! Also, alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages, more seating and air conditioning await next door at Cosmic Coffee if you don’t feel like “roughing it” outside.