]We all know South Texas can get hot, but sometimes it’s straight smoking! We asked our Facebook fans to nominate their favorite barbeque restaurants before hitting the road to scarf down pounds of marbled brisket, fall-off-the-bone ribs and homemade peach cobbler.
Hoegemeyer’s BBQ Barn
Winner: Best All Around
“New technology lets us spend more time taking care of our customers and making them feel appreciated.”
Hoegemeyer’s BBQ Barn (pronounced Hay-guh-my-er) has only been in business for about two years, but the building is rich in local history and the owners have a strong BBQ heritage. When David Page, owner and pit master, bought the building, he turned what was at the time a local adult day care center into the radiant red BBQ barn that Hoegemeyer’s is today.
Page’s BBQ philosophies have not changes throughout the years. His secrets are deeply rooted in his German heritage, so rich that you can taste it in the meat itself. Hoegemeyer’s uses choice Angus brisket full of natural marbling and flavor.
Hoegemeyer’s use some new technology in the smoking of their meats. You wont find any hundred-year-old BBQ pits here, but this new technology has helped Page to focus on other parts of the restaurant business – number one being customer service. You can taste the aromatic and juicy flavors in their tender brisket and the smoked ribs are always falling off the bone. Hoegemeyer’s combines delicious food with a fun environment that provides the perfect Texas BBQ experience!
Did you Know: Their location formally served as local distribution headquarters for Lone Star Beer.
Winner: Best Brisket
“We always make our sausage fresh and homemade in house.”
Mr. G’s BBQ recently celebrated its four-year anniversary, but don’t let the age fool you. These guys are far from rookies. Mr. G’s pit-master, Ramiro Candela, started learning from Joe Cotton himself, the longtime famous Corpus Christi BBQ restaurant owner, at a young age. Candela eventually became the pit master for Joe Cotton’s BBQ before a fire destroyed the restaurant. The same goes for many members of the Mr. G’s crew, including former Joe Cotton’s BBQ manager Jesse Pena.
George Gonzalez, Mr. G himself, previously ran a Mexican Restaurant out of the current location of Mr. G’s. Jesse Pena, Gonzalez’s neighbor, was in need of a job. Pena brought on some of the other guys, and Mr. G’s was born.
The most popular item on the menu, their stringy brisket, is smoke infused with mesquite wood and a special spice rub, savory, spicy, sweet, and top secret! The brisket smokes in the pit for 6-8 hours. Another popular item is their homemade pork sausage, made in-house weekly. With the perfect amount of bark and delicious smoky flavor, you won’t need any BBQ sauce!
Mr. G’s has a very neighborly and homey environment. You get the feeling that the staff is more like family and treats customers like guests in their home. They recently acquired more land next door and are hoping to expand into a music venue in the future.
Did you know: In the back of the restaurant hangs a charred Coca Cola sign donated by Cecil Cotton that survived the fire at Joe Cotton’s BBQ.
Howard’s BBQ & Grill
Winner: Hometown Favorite
“When smoking BBQ overnight, close the pit and pray.”
Howard's BBQ is one of the Coastal Bend’s oldest BBQ restaurants, getting its start back in 1949 when original owner, Norman Howard, opened the first location near Leopard and Port. Today, Howard's has two locations: one in downtown Corpus Christi and the other in Flour Bluff. Howard mentored current owner Jim Matthews. Matthew’s credits Howard for everything he knew about the BBQ business.
Howard’s has all of the BBQ favorites, brisket, sausage and chicken all slow smoked overnight with mesquite wood to give their meat the perfect smoked flavor. All of Howard’s sides are homemade and all are worth trying. To name a few, their homemade coleslaw, green beans and potato salad compliment their BBQ counterparts perfectly. Howard’s BBQ sandwiches are a must try. Stacked high with chopped brisket, sliced brisket and sausage (don’t forget the briny pickles and crunchy onions) pour their homemade BBQ sauce over this sandwich and it is sure to satisfy any sized BBQ craving. Add in the homemade desserts prepared from scratch by Matthew’s wife, and you have the recipe for a classic down-home BBQ experience. This BBQ joint is a true family affair that knows the way to their patron's hearts!
Did you know: Howard’s is full of tradition and history, which started with Norman Howard and was passed down to its current owner, Jim Matthews.
Winner: Best Homemade Peach Cobbler
“Big Nasty's rotating rotisserie is one-of-a-kind and smokes meat to perfection.”
Hatfield’s BBQ in Rockport is not your average BBQ joint. This is place is as unique as the people who work here. As soon as you walk in the front door, you might be met with some piping hot off-the-grill peach cobbler.
Hatfield’s story started out when owner Kenny Hatfield first started barbequing for his friends and family outside of his local flooring business every Friday for eleven years. Kenny’s experience came from many years of wild hog cook-offs and competitions in South Texas. After some encouragement from his loyal BBQ following, Kenny opened Hatfield’s in it current location about two years ago.
After just one bite of the brisket and ribs at Hatfield’s, you’ll realize what all the fuss is about. The ribs are tender and packed with local oak flavor. The meat is smoked on a special custom-made smoker designed and built by Kenny himself. The smoker, named “Big Nasty,” is unique because of its size and rotisserie method of smoking. The meat is consistently and evenly cooked every time. Make the time to stop at Hatfield’s next time you’re in Rockport, you won’t be disappointed!
Did you know: Hatfield’s BBQ made Texas Monthly’s most recent list of the top 50 BBQ restaurants in the state…and world.
The Shack BBQ and Seafood
Winner: Best Ribs
“We don't forget to lock up the pit overnight, the smells can drive thieves to steal your precious BBQ.”
When Patrick Garza decided to open The Shack in Rockport, he admittedly didn't have much experience in the BBQ world,; however, after one bite of their savory smoked ribs, it's safe to say he’s a fast learner. True to its name, The Shack started out in a small shack with a smoker right outside. The original shack is still located next to the current restaurant's location. Drive by and you are sure to see the smoke pouring out of the pit throughout the night and early morning.
At the Shack, Garza smokes all of his meats with local oak. The flavors are earthy and you can see and taste the thick ring of smoky flavor left on the brisket and ribs. In Texas, brisket is still king, but The Shack’s ribs are challenging that title. Garza believes one key to great BBQ is consistency. He strives to always deliver great food with out-of-this-world customer service.
Although this place specializes in BBQ, their burgers and seafood are off the charts. So stop on by and be greeted with warm smiles, ice-cold tea, and BBQ that's full of the flavor that BBQ lovers crave.