Places to Eat

Bring Your Appetite To These 5 Small Texas Town BBQ Havens

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Tony Maples Photography


If you’re wandering through Johnson City, Bertram, Llano, or Mason, here are a few delicious barbecue places you’ve got to try!

Ronnie’s Ice House BBQ – Johnson City

BBQ platter

Photo: Daniel Hartin

Ronnie’s Ice House BBQ in Johnson City is a store front with additional parking in back and a loyal lunch crowd. Although closed on Sunday, it is worth the trip Saturday if you’re not local, to try the chicken and brisket. They also offer a sample platter to taste all vittles. Their dark meat chicken has a smoky flavor nostalgic of barbequing; the brisket, which leans towards the drier side also evokes this classic taste. It has a meat melt capped with a good crust. Ribs are also tender and smoky.

When you go:
211 US-281
Johnson City, TX 78636

Tony’s Hill Country Smoke BBQ – Bertram

Bertram, TX

Photo: Daniel Hartin

Outside of Bertram is Tony’s Hill Country Smoke BBQ. Just across the railroad tracks, in a nice sized outdoor area, there is an enclosed porch with window ordering. The brisket is juicy and the pulled pork prepared well. This place does accept credit cards but a $2 fee does apply. You can taste the time taken to cook the meat here. Hamburgers and other non-BBQ meats are also served.

When you go:
200 Co Rd 258
Bertram, TX 78605

Inman’s Kitchen B-B-Q & Catering – Llano

Spot the turkey sausage!

Photo: Daniel Hartin

Llano hosts two places to try beyond its most famous barbecue resident, Cooper’s. Inman’s Kitchen B-B-Q and Catering is located on the same road but on the way out of town. Established in 1967, Inman’s signs proclaim it is known for its turkey sausage. The ribs are thick and delicious. Beans come standard with each plate and are self-serve next to the kitchen’s pickup window; don’t miss them!

When you go:
809 W Young St.
Llano, TX 78643

Laird’s Barbeque – Llano

Come on in!

Photo: Daniel Hartin

Laird’s Barbeque is on the other route through Llano and is located in an older home. Shady parking is available, as well as indoor and outdoor porch seating. Brisket here is a balance between drier and juicy; potato salad is mustard based with thick cut potatoes. Sauce was provided and had a slightly sweet, tangy taste. Atmosphere was quite relaxed as well, with a friendly diner feel.

When you go:
1600 Ford St.
Llano, TX 78643

Texas Deadwood BBQ – Mason

Manning the Pit

Photo: Daniel Hartin

There is no sign for Texas Deadwood BBQ in Mason. If you get to Dairy Queen, you went too far! Here, barbecue is sold Friday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. only. Order from the person manning the pit outside, head inside to pay and get beverages, side items. Beef ribs are fall-off-the-bone and the brisket has a heavy crust which seals in the taste. There are a few tables outside but generally, this stop is To Go only.

When you go:
1005 Fort McKavitt St.
Mason, TX 76856

Now get out there and try some barbecue!