● African-American: Thelma’s Bar-B-Que 3755 Southmore Blvd., 713-228-2262. The bad news is the highly atmospheric location on Live Oak burned down. The good news is Thelma’s has reopened in the Third Ward close to the University of Houston. Famous for her brisket sandwich, ribs, and okra, Thelma says, "We like to cook it to death.” Wash it down with sweet tea or cold beer.
● Mexican: El Hidalguense 3631 Hillcroft St., 713-781-6656. Mexican barbacoa here includes cabrito (baby goat on a spit), really good barbecue chicken, and, of course, moles and salsas, and, on weekends, cow’s head.
● Cowboy: Pizzitola's Bar-B-Cue 1703 Shepherd Dr., 713-227-2283; www.pizzitolasbbq.com. With its shack atmosphere of long communal tables, this place still produces slow-cooked barbecue in the original open pit. Menu highlights include brisket, smoked chicken, and old-time banana pudding, as well as pretty darn good baked potatoes and coleslaw.
● German: Goode Co. Barbeque 5015 Kirby Dr., 713-526-9700; www.goodecompany.com. In an atmosphere that is a more upscale than the first three, this Hill Country Czech-style barbecue spot produces delicious barbecue duck and sausage as well as tasty jalapeno-cheese bread and a famous pecan pie. The related Armadillo Palace (www.thearmadillopalace.com) is an atmospheric old west-style saloon located just across the street.
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