The Best Texas-Style Barbecue In Charleston

Mad BBQ scientist John Lewis brings killer brisket to the lowcountry
06/30/2017 02:08pm ET

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Have a favorite ’cue joint of your own? Instagram it with hashtag #ZagatBBQNation and at the end of our trip we’ll declare a People’s Choice Winner.

You’ll know Lewis BBQ means business when you spot the restaurant’s enormous smokers (each of which can hold 1,200 pounds of brisket), hand-welded by owner John Lewis himself (and made out of old propane tanks).

He’s something of a mad scientist, and will only use his hand-engineered smokers to make his signature ’cue.

Lewis grew up in El Paso, Texas, first taking up barbecue as a hobby, then helping Aaron Franklin open up his eponymous barbecue spot, and finally opening up a place of his own, La Barbecue, with LeAnn Mueller in 2012. Eventually, he decided to bring his very classically Texas barbecue style — with meat cooked for eighteen-plus hours, until it is literally falling off the bone — to Charleston with Lewis BBQ.

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The restaurant has become a local gathering spot, with guests enjoying their Texas-style hot guts (sausage) alongside boozy aguas frescas. If you want beef ribs, they’re only offered on Saturdays — but our personal favorite time to go is on Tex-Mex Tuesdays, when Lewis turns his spot into a Tex-Mex joint, serving brisket enchiladas ($5), posole, and more.

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Make sure you check out Lewis’ sibling spot Juan Luis (his Tex-Mex alter ego) at food hall, The Workshop down the street. And Lewis is equally famed for this Texas-style hot guts sausage which he cooks in a standing smoker in the front of the restaurant.