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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Houston
Food
Feel
Price
8.0
4.0
$20
Barbecue
Counter service

Hours
Wed–Fri 10:30am–7:30pm
Sat 10:30am–7:00pm

Bar None
Credit cards None

North Houston
7117 N. Shepherd Dr.
Houston, TX
(713) 692-2800
Burns Bar-B-Q
Now and then, a taste of Hill Country authenticity right outside the Loop

Burns Bar-B-Q recently moved from one dilapidated building sitting in the middle of a rough neighborhood in North Houston to another. As a result, it may suffer some inconsistency, but so do the best Hill Country smokehouses. This is the real deal, folks, so your enjoyment requires patience: try to remember their strict cash-only policy and short work week; the wait tends to be interminably long (especially on Saturdays); and the menu is a confusing list of combinations (go with #1, it easily feeds three to four). While the ordering goes fairly quickly, the kitchen seems to be in no hurry. We once waited an hour for our order—with about 50 other people in the small front room—only to learn that they were out of brisket. A riot nearly ensued.

That extremely tender and super smoky brisket could, on its best days, compete with the hallowed pits of Central Texas. Pork spare ribs are just as exemplary; they’re aggressively smoky and seasoned just right, with a pleasant chewiness. The one weakness is the sausage—it’s ground super-fine, and the result is a processed texture and flavor. The barbecue sauce has a balance of tangy and sweet, with a smoky complexity that not everyone will appreciate. The same goes for the service, which can be on the curt side—now that’s unlike a Hill Country experience.

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