Burns Original BBQ in Houston, Texas

Texas is home to not one, not two, but four subtly distinct styles of barbecue: Central, Southern, Hill Country, and East. The latter is often distinguished by its low and slow cooking style; use of oak, hickory, and pecan wood; and emphasis on pork. And in Houston, the best East Texas barbecue can surely be found at the four locations of Burns Original BBQ. 

A mainstay of Houston’s historic Acres Homes neighborhood, the original Burns was opened in 1973 by Roy Burns Sr., who started by selling his smoked meats by the side of the road. Burns passed away in 2009, and the restaurant is today carried on by his children and grandchildren, with current operations overseen by his grandson, Cory Crawford. In 2016, the restaurant earned a visit from Anthony Bourdain, and in 2019, then Mayor Sylvester Turner proclaimed November 19 to be Burns Original BBQ day in Houston. 

True to the East Texas ethos, Burns is best known for its saucy pork ribs (in plain or spicy) as well as its juicy house-made pork sausages. Brisket can also be found sliced as well as chopped in a sandwich or in a baked potato. You can experience a little bit of everything with a two or three meat plate. Sides are also a major draw here: find Cajun dirty rice, boudin, macaroni and cheese, and green beans all on the menu. 

Over the years, Burns has expanded with new outposts in Katy, Pearland, and Summerwood—all while still retaining its down-to-earth, family-run ethos, especially at the flagship location. And while the barbecue scene is often unfairly dominated by white pitmasters, Burns stands out as one of the leading Black-owned barbecue establishments.

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