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5 Best Underrated Barbecue Joints in Houston (According to You)

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You guys. This was a close one.

For the past week, I've been watching the numbers on the poll rise. For some time there was a clear leader, then suddenly, the next time I checked, the former leader had fallen to third place, and the two frontrunners were neck and neck. I kid you not, the Kentucky Derby has nothing on the Houston Press's poll for the most underrated barbecue in the city.

In fact, the top two choices are separated by only one vote. ONE VOTE.

Is that close enough to call it a tie? I have a feeling you'll have some strong opinions about this tight race. Sound off in the comments.

Then eat yourself into a barbecue-induced haze so we can all be friends again, OK?

5. Pappa Charlie's Barbecue Pappa Charlie's is a labor of love for the owner, who named the place after his late father, a fan of pulling over during road trips at any little barbecue shack and testing the smoked meats. Pappa Charlie's has been open since 2009, and in that time, the smoky brisket has garnered a lot of fans, both local and at competitions throughout the state. Reader assertnull writes, "The dude could smoke a boot and have it come out tasty. Brisket rivals anything I've had in the Austin/Taylor/Lockhart circuit...haven't tried the chicken, but I did snag some of their turkey at the HouBBQ festival. I don't know if it's a regular thing for them, but good god man, it wasn't turkey, it was some god-bird plucked from the heights of Olympus, basted in ambrosia, and smoked to perfection. I seriously have no idea how you do that to a dadgum bird. Totally epic." Enough said.

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4. Rudy's Country Store & Bar-B-Q Yes, yes, we all know it's a chain. We all know that some of the outposts are better than others. And we all know that sometimes, when Rudy's gets it right, it's really, really right. And we are talking about underrated barbecue here, not the best in the city. Rudy's often gets the shaft for being a chain, but the fact is the big red barn that's part convenience store, part barbecue mecca smokes some mean meat. Check online reviews to see if the one nearest you is one of the better ones, or take commenter henblair's word for it: "Rudy's on the Gulf freeway in League City has really first rate brisket, and at a fair price, too."

3. Blood Bros. BBQ For most of the polling period, Blood Bros. BBQ was at the front of the race. I think it might have lost some momentum due to the fact that Blood Bros. doesn't actually have a restaurant. For now, the much-talked-about barbecue is only available at the occasional pop-up or for catering gigs. Still, the boys behind it--brother's Robin and Terry Wong, owners of Glitter, and their chef and friend Quy Hoang--see big crowds come out when they serve the public. The next time will be May 24 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Buffalo Bayou. Don't miss what reader jl.hunter3 calls "some of the best on the planet." Jl.hunter3 adds, "They do it right. No fuss no muss just good eating especially the brisket." Other commenters echoed that sentiment, calling the smoky flavor of Blood Bros. meats the best in town.

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2. The Brisket House There was a lot of debate going on in the comments between fans of the Brisket House and Baker's Ribs. And as I said, it came down to one vote. So I'd say we can pretty much call this one a tie. I mean, what's not to like about brisket, brisket and more brisket? At The Brisket House, the meats are smoked over a combination of oak and pecan wood for at least 15 hours to make sure it's all saturated with that great barbecue flavor. And the owner, Wayne Kammerl is a damn nice fella. During the debate about The Brisket House versus Baker's Ribs, he chimed in, writing: "This is the owner of The Brisket House. I just wanted to say that I am good friends with Russell at Bakers Ribs and he is a great guy. And they do a fine job! We all in the BBQ Community support and help one another anytime we can." Awww.

1. Baker's Ribs Remember, kids. ONE VOTE. Let's not get too cocky. Oh, who are we kidding, congrats, Baker's Ribs! Even in beef-happy Texas, a barbecue joint with a pig as a mascot came out on top. The company was originally founded in Dallas in 1988, and now has franchises elsewhere in Texas, including the one here in Houston. Baker's Ribs smokes with hickory wood and, unsurprisingly, is known for its pork ribs, which are prepared "St. Louis style." I personally love the joint because its one of the few places in town you can get pulled pork. I realize pulled pork isn't very Texan, but heavens it's tasty! After wading through all the vitriol in the comments, I think commenter morrowenterprises summed up Baker's Ribs most eloquently: "BAKER'S RIBS!!! BEST TEXAS BBQ BY FAR!!!"

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