101 FUN THINGS: Dig in to the Highland Lakes BBQ Trail

BY DANIEL CLIFTON

Johnny and Vicki Campbell sit down to some delicious barbecue at the Burnet Feed Store BBQ. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

Johnny and Vicki Campbell sit down to some delicious barbecue at the Burnet Feed Store BBQ. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

Welcome to the Highland Lakes, home of the eighth wonder of the world.

Oh, you didn’t know that? Well, welcome to the Highland Lakes BBQ Trail brought to you by KBEY 103.9 FM Radio Picayune and The Picayune. That’s right, here, in the Highland Lakes, we consider barbecue a wonder of the world because with every bite you take, you’ll wonder how anything could be so delicious.

Now, we’re not so pretentious to rank our barbecue joints because we love them all. Plus, we’d rather you tried as many as you can, rate them yourself and then share your thoughts with us.

From Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que in Llano to Opie’s BBQ in Spicewood and all those in between, you can’t go wrong with Highland Lakes barbecue.

Part of what makes Highland Lakes barbecue so delicious is the variety of restaurants and pit masters cooking up a mess of meat. Every barbecue cook knows his or her pride and reputation is on the line every time he or she gets the pit going in the morning.

This ain’t fast food.

Barbecue isn’t new, we’ve been gathering around well-cooked meat for eons. But today’s Highland Lakes barbecue tradition probably draws upon the influence of the Bohemian German and Czech immigrants who settled in parts of Central Texas starting in the 1830s.

While settlers from the Southern settlers brought their style of barbecue that featured meat cooked over coals in the ground, it was the innovation of the German and Czech immigrants, the enclosed brick smokehouse, that lent itself to the modern pit.

Oh, and they also brought Pilsner-style beer. Beer and barbecue: It sure sounds as if they were on to something.

Barbecue is almost as individual as the folks who cook it up, so a stop at the numerous barbecue spots will offer you different flavors and nuances.

So if you’re looking for a great way to spend a day or a weekend (or several because there’s a heaping of barbecue joints around here), why not hit some of the best barbecue in Texas on the Highland Lakes BBQ Trail. Some suggestions include the obvious such as Cooper’s and Opie’s, but those are just a start.

BURNET

  • Burnet Feed Store BBQ, 2800 S. Water St. (U.S. 281), (512) 715-9227, www.burnetfeedstorebbq.com
  • Bar-B-Q Shak, 616 W. Buchanan Drive (Texas 29), (512) 756-8227
  • Post Mountain BBQ, 310 S. Main St., (830) 613-1055

BERTRAM

  • Tony’s Hill Country Smoked BBQ, 200 CR 258, (512) 355-3240
  • Highway 29 BBQ, 110 Texas 29 West, (512) 277-7020, www.hwy29bbq.com

COTTONWOOD SHORES

  • Rick’s Cow Town Bar-B-Q, 3803 FM 2147 West, (512) 755-3863

MARBLE FALLS

  • Peete’s Mesquite, 2407 U.S. 281, (830) 693-6531, www.peetemesquite.com
  • Inman’s Ranch House Bar-B-Q, 707 Sixth St., (830) 693-2711
  • Holy Smokes! BBQ & Catering, 2704-A Commerce St., (830) 201-4145, www.holysmokesbbqandcateringtx.com

LLANO

  • Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que, 604 W. Young St., (325) 247-5713, www.coopersbbqllano.com
  • Inman’s Kitchen Pit Bar-B-Q and Catering, 809 W. Young St., (325) 247-5257 or (325) 247-5743, www.inmanskitchen.com
  • Laird’s Barbecue & Catering, 1600 Ford St. in Llano, (325) 247-5234

KINGSLAND

  • Spyke’s BBQ, 14601 RR 1431 West, (325) 388-6996, www.spykesbbq.com
  • Purple Pig BBQ, 4301 RR 1431 West, (325) 388-6262

SPICEWOOD

  • Opie’s BBQ, 9504 Texas 71 East, (830) 693-8660, www.opiesbarbecue.com

Now, this list might not be complete, and we’re out scouring the Highland Lakes for every barbecue joint we can find. If you have one or know of one, let us know at editor@thepicayune.com and we’ll update our list.

While we’ve focused on the meat, don’t forget about sides and desserts. Several of these barbecue restaurants boast sides and desserts that would make it on their own, but go oh so well with the meat.

Makes your mouth water just thinking about it, doesn’t it? So why are you still reading this? Get out and get some barbecue.

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