Best Texas BBQ Overland Trail

Texas BBQ Overland Trail
  • Go Native Overland created a Texas BBQ Overland Trail
  • Over 1,000 miles of paved and dirt roads
  • Hop-on, hop-off any section for convenience
  • Includes BBQ joint names, times and locations

Not many things are more quintessential than taking a Texas road trip that includes a stop for some amazing BBQ. Combine this with an overlander’s wunderlust and you got a combination that goes together like peanut butter and jelly… or rather, like ribs and brisket!

Go Native Overland, led by Todd Greenburg, has created a nearly 1,000 mile long hop-on, hop-off style overland route through some of Texas’ most prime BBQ country. This circular loop is a bullseye of classic, new, and award winning BBQ joints in what’s known as the Central Texas region of Texas, also known as the “best area” for Texas BBQ. With a strong German, Czech and African heritage that combined over centuries it created what is now known worldwide as Texas style BBQ. And it doesn’t focus just on the Texas Monthly Top 50 list – it also includes the old stalwarts, the lesser knowns, the old joints you knew as a kid from road trips with the family.

Texas BBQ Trail
Warehouse Meatery in Burnet, TX

Starting in the north, the trail heads east to near Madisonville on I-45 before turning south and then west through some of the most storied BBQ towns in Texas. Snow’s in Lexington? It’s on there. Southside Market in Elgin? Yep, on there too. The BBQ Mecca of Lockhart, Texas with Black’s Barbeque, Smitty’s Market and Kreuz Market – of course it has ‘em.

Picking up Luling on I-10, the trail takes a hard westerly tract straight through what I call Texas’ river country – towns like Seguin with the Burnt Bean BBQ and New Braunfels with a Cooper’s BBQ outpost, then around beautiful Canyon Lake. After snaking through twisting hill country roads it hits Fredericksburg before heading into the Llano Escarpment ending its westerly track into Junction at Lum’s BBQ.

Turning back east, the trail follows along much of the Llano River going through Mason, Castell, the city of Llano and eventually around the shoreline of Lake Buchanan. Crossing the bridge in Marble Falls you’ll start your final push up through lake country ending where you started in Temple.

Old Hwy 29 Bridge, Lake Buchanan, TX

The best part of this trail is that it’s designed to maximize off road and small road time. Go Native Overland has created several Texas overland and off road trails over the years and they leveraged this knowledgeable of tried and true trails to create the Great Texas BBQ Crawl trail. It includes many farm to market and unpaved roads. They won’t be technical or challenging – more like soft roading than rock crawling – but they take you through some of the most beautiful geographies Texas has to offer. Additionally, the route that you download from the Patreon site is peppered with campsites, points of interest, old bridges, and other interesting stops to round out what will surely be an entertaining day trip or multi day adventure.

I recently drove the northwestern portion of the trail from Mason to Temple. Starting at Cooper’s Original Pit BBQ in Mason, we followed the path along the Llano River, crossing at two low water crossings before arriving in Llano. Hoping on paved surface, we meandered around Buchanan Lake with its blue water and long shoreline eventually stopping at the majestic and now retired Highway 29 bridge south of the dam. Feeling the pangs of hunger, we stopped at Warehouse BBQ and Meatery in Burnet gorging ourselves on the Texas Trinity: brisket, ribs and sausage. Take it from me – you don’t want to miss the peach cobbler! 

Pitmaster at Coopers BBQ
Scott’s Crossing on the Llano River
Longhorn Cattle on the Texas BBQ Trail
Lexus GX at Coopers BBQ in Mason

Heading home through the Marble Falls area and back to I-35 for the trek back to DFW, I realized what makes this one of the best overland trails Texas has to offer. Not only does it capture one of the Lone Star State’s favorite past times – driving to far flung BBQ joints to try out the new ‘que – but its designed for so many people to participate and enjoy! The non-technical nature of the trail means you don’t need a tricked out overland rig to enjoy the route and the “drive whichever part you like” component of the trail means most of the state is within a couple hours of hoping on the Great Texas BBQ Crawl trail and getting your fill of the state’s best BBQ. 

Check out the Great Texas BBQ Crawl trail at Go Native Overland’s Patreon site or any of their other amazing overland trails in Texas such as the Five Tribes Overland Trail, the Lost Pines and Prairies route, or the appropriately named Texas Epic Adventure Trail. There is a small charge to access these detailed route files but I think you’ll find it’s well worth it to drive a proven, beautiful trail across our great State. 

Go Native Overland’s Numerous Trails

I hope to see you the next time I belly up to a picnic table at one of my favorite Texas BBQ joints. Until then, we’ll see you on the trails!

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