When it comes to barbecue, the best places to go are often the most laid back with no-frills service and excellent food. But you don’t have to sacrifice customer service for tasty ribs or brisket. There are Houston restaurants that serve both, ensuring the highest customer satisfaction with both the staff and the food. Try some of these hot spots around town for some excellent barbecue that you won’t find from a chain restaurant.

Gatlin’s BBQ
1221 W. 19th St.
Houston, TX 77008
(713) 869-4227

It’s only been open since 2010, but Gatlin’s BBQ has become a staple for those in the Heights who are looking for an old-school barbecue experience. This restaurant sells quality, slow-cooked sausage, pulled pork, chicken, brisket and turkey with a careful eye toward customer service and satisfaction. Besides buying barbecue sandwiches with the meat of your choice or meat by the pound, you can also get stuffed potatoes filled with your choice of chopped beef, turkey, pulled pork or sausage. This barbecue restaurant also caters events if you have to feed a crowd.

Related: Best Barbecue In Houston

Corkscrew BBQ
24930 Budde Road
Spring, TX 77380
(832) 592-1184

Ask people on the north side of Houston where they go for barbecue that is worth waiting in line for hours for, and they will tell you Corkscrew BBQ. This trailer in Spring, Texas, sells barbecue on Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. until it is sold out. People arrive two hours or more before the place opens to get a spot in line to assure their choice of meat. As a small operation, this barbecue spot does not provide prepaid food or catering. It’s a first-come, first-served basis only. You can choose from turkey breast, sausage links, chopped or sliced brisket, pulled pork, ribs and chicken, which is only sold on Saturdays. Be sure to try the macaroni and cheese for one of your sides.
Demeris Bar-B-Que
1702 W. Loop N., Suite A
Houston, TX 77008
(713) 681-7204

The Demeris family has several Houston-area restaurants, which are all family owned and operated, including Demeris Bar-B-Que. This barbecue restaurant combines foods from several cultures to create its menu. You can order Greek salads with barbecued meat on top or have a side of Mexican rice and frijoles ala charra with your barbecued ribs, turkey, chicken or brisket. If you like sausage, Demeris has both regular sausage links and jalapeno sausage, for those who want more of a kick. Whether you want to order steak, fajitas, a barbecued meat dinner or all of the above, Demeris is you best option for takeout, dining in and catering.
The Brisket House
5775 Woodway Drive
Houston, TX 77057
(281) 888-0331

The Brisket House specializes in preparing slow-smoked brisket on a fire that uses oak and pecan wood. Any Texan who knows about barbecue will tell you that the wood used to smoke the meat makes a difference in the flavor, and The Brisket House’s unique wood combination creates brisket with a distinctive taste. While you can order other meats at The Brisket House, stick with this barbecue restaurant’s specialty. Texas A&M graduates will recognize The Brisket House’s signature dinner plate that gives you a choice of one, two or three meats and is served with half and onion, a whole pickle, bread and a large chunk of cheddar.
Pizzitola’s BBQ
1703 Shepherd Drive
Houston, TX 77007
(713) 227-2283

The oldest among these barbecue restaurants is Pizzitola’s, which has been preparing ribs since 1935. The ribs here are cooked with hickory wood grown in the eastern portion of the state, and they are seasoned with only salt and pepper. All of the meats are cooked open-pit style, which keeps the meat inside extra juicy while a richly flavored crust develops on the outside. It is the only way to cook brisket, according to barbecue aficionados. Don’t stuff yourself too full of ribs or other meats from Pizzitola’s. Save some room for the sweet banana pudding or pecan pie for dessert.

Related: Best Pulled Pork In Houston

Crystal Hessong ia a freelance writer and a lifelong, fourth generation Houstonian. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.