Where's the best place to eat barbeque? Here are a few of the best BBQ restaurants when heading south

Robin Bradshaw
Alice Echo News Journal

Texas and barbeque, two words that go hand in hand. The cultural tradition of cooking meat with fire where the wood, temperature, method and skill make the flavors of the meat unique to the pitmaster's style. 

Whether you prefer mesquite wood, pecan or oak, pitmasters are grilling up some tasty bites in the rural communities of South Texas. 

Here are some of the most popular spots from Robstown to San Diego that South Texans rave about. 

Smoked brisket at Gil's Smoking Grille and Catering in Alice, Texas.

Up in Smoke BBQ

Located close to city hall in the downtown area of Robstown, Owner Mario Hernandez is known around town to barbeque one heck of brisket with the chopped brisket sandwich as a local favorite.  

Where: 400 West Main St. Robstown, Texas 78380

Hours: 11:30 a.m.  till 8 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday  

Contact: 361-236-9499

(L-R) Avelino Sanchez, Brett Sanchez, Owner Joey Valenzuela and Lucas Sanchez from Skin N Bones BBQ in Orange Grove, Texas.

Skin N Bones BBQ

Owner Joey Valenzuela opened his barbeque spot in May of 2021 after being on the barbeque competitive circuit for over 17 years.

"I decided to quit the oilfield business and do what I love," Valenzuela said.

He has won trophies throughout the state and what sets his barbeque apart from the rest is his wood blend. He uses a blend of oak, pecan and mesquite. 

Where: 549 E. Orange Ave. Orange Grove, Texas 78372 

Hours: 11 a.m. through 9 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday  

Contact: 361-816-8076

Pit-master Andrew Soto and owner of Butter's BBQ in Mathis.

Butter's BBQ

Butter's BBQ is the local Texas Monthly Magazine honoree after being featured for his barbeque. Butter's BBQ is known for its house-made sausage, brisket and smoked barbacoa. 

Where: 104 TX-359 Mathis, Texas 78368

Hours: On Friday, 11 a.m. through 5:30 p.m., and 9: 30 a.m. till 5:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays  

Contact: 361-255-6108

Owners Claudia and Gilbert Saenz with daughter Ava at Gil's Smoking Grille and Catering in Alice, Texas.

Gil's Smoking Grille and Catering 

Gil's Smoking Grill is known for its ribs, brisket and mollejas. This family-owned and run business is known in the community and has been serving up barbeque in Alice for over 14 years.

"I have a unique style. Homemade rub and a specific hotter temperature is how I like to cook a technique I have not seen anyone else do," said Owner and pit-master Gilbert Saenz. "I use mesquite wood and the main trick is the right temperature." 

Where: 1001 South Reynolds St.  Alice, Texas 78332. 

Hours: 11 a.m. till 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and Fridays from 11 a.m. till 9 p.m. 

Contact: 361-396-1222

Owners Rogelio Cuellar Jr., wife Irma Cuellar and son Rogelio Cuellar III from Rollie's BBQ in Alice, Texas.

Rollies BBQ

Rollies BBQ is open one day a week, Thursdays, and specializes in brisket and South Texas cuisine.

"I've been barbequing most of my life, I am retired now and I do it because I love it," said owner Rogelia Cuellar Jr. 

Where:316 FM-2507 Alice, Texas 78331

Hours: 11 a.m. till 9:30 p.m. or sold out. Open on Thursdays only 

Contact: 361-396-4524

Owner Daniel Monsevais with sister Victoria Dominguez and mother Nancy Monsevais at the newly opened restaurant Monster's Smokehouse BBQ.

Monster's Smokehouse 

Monster's Smokehouse BBQ recently moved from food trailer to brick and mortar this year. Owner Daniel Monsevais is known for his brisket, smoke mollejas, smoked barbacoa on the weekends and don't forget to try the munedo. 

Where:202 N. Johnston St. Alice, Texas 78332

Hours: 11 a.m. - 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Friday; 9 a.m. till 2 p.m. on Saturdays; and 9 a.m. till 3 p.m. on Sundays  

Contact: 361-453-4465

BBQ Pit-Queen Sarah Chapa from J&S Pit Stop in San Diego, Texas.

J&S Pit Stop 

J&S Pit Stop in San Diego is also a Texas Monthly honoree. The barbeque spot was featured for its smoked mollejas. Pit-queen Sarah Chapa has a unique style of using mesquite wood and a little charcoal. 

Where: 806 East Graves St. San Diego, Texas 78374

Hours: 7 a.m. till 3 p.m. Monday through Friday 

Contact: 361-279-4077

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