Nestled in San Marcos, Texas along I-35 sits Hays County Bar-B-Que, a veritable giant of Texas BBQ. Named as one of the 50 Best BBQ joints in Texas by Texas Monthly, Hays County Bar-B-Que is no sleeper. Michael and Asenette Hernandez bought the business in 2007, and have rocketed to the top of the barbecue scene with flair! This is no low-key BBQ joint – Hays County hosts live music almost every Saturday night – it is truly a destination for BBQ lovers across Texas.
Interestingly enough, Jessie Miranda and Aaron Hernandez showed me around the place and told me a secret about the pits: no thermometers! The pits are heated up and the meat is smoked until they are deemed “done”, typically by touch and feel. This is usually after around 18 hours of cooking, but one never really knows!
The fires are fueled with post oak and mesquite, a traditional blend of woods that create a unique and flavorful taste.
I was astounded by the quality of the brisket I was served at Hays County Bar-B-Que! The moist slice of brisket was fantastic, and the burnt ends were superb! The meat was full of flavor, and just pulled apart with ease. Perfect spice profile. Absolutely beautiful specimens of what brisket should be, with a thick smoke ring and oh so tender! Hays County knocked this one out of the park!
My first time eating at Hays County Bar-B-Que, I declared that I had eaten the best pork rib of my life. Since that time, I have tasted ribs that might top those at Hays County, but not by much. These are prepared in the dry style, not overly wet, with a slightly leathery textured bark. The meat was very tender, but stayed on the bone until you pulled it off. Great flavor, not overpowering the delicate pork flavor.
Hays County Bar-B-Que packs their sausage in-house, using a mix of pork and beef and an array of spices. In my opinion, the peppery flavor profile was right on point, but the casing was over the top. I had to actually spit out the tough pieces of casing after enjoying the sausage. Hopefully they’ve fixed this issue, but it was distracting to say the least.
The sides were good, with the beans stealing the show over the potato salad. I tried a beef rib and some turkey, but the brisket and ribs were the real show-stoppers.
Hays County Bar-B-Que is a real destination for barbecue lovers across Texas. Go on a Saturday, spend the day, and enjoy the great smoked meats and the live show!
OVERALL RATING: TRULY EXCELLENT