KATY, Texas – Brett Jackson had been interested in a career in barbecue since he was a teen, but what helped propel his dream into reality was a Craigslist ad for a pit apprenticeship in Taylor, Texas. That is how he ended up learning the craft at the legendary Louie Mueller Barbecue — a well-known Texas spot with a rich history and many accolades.
After years of learning and perfecting his craft, Jackson decided it was time to make a name for himself in the barbecue world and opened Brett’s Barbecue Shop in October 2018.
The building on South Mason Road in Katy was once Nonmacher’s Bar-B-Que, and manager Jacqueline Herrera said opening at that location has been amazing.
Jackson grew up eating at the restaurant and to now own it and be running a successful business has been surreal, he said.
“The shop we are operating in Katy is very special for many reasons. We brought true craft barbecue to Katy,” Herrera said. “We have young families of the new barbecue generations bringing their own kids into a place their parents once brought them. Some of our older customers have been eating barbecue in this spot since 1978.”
Herrera said Katy has previously been referred to as a barbecue wasteland, but the restaurant has helped catapult the city onto the barbecue scene.
It‘s all in the meat
Brett’s Barbecue Shop’ s meats are smoked nightly on a 40-year-old, 1000-gallon pit that we call “The Beast.”
The Beast helps the five-person team serve up hundreds of pounds of meat daily. Herrera said they can sometimes go through 250 pounds of meat in a day, including sausage (made in-house), ribs and, of course, brisket.
According to Herrera, you can’t go wrong with the Thursday special – prime brisket enchiladas.
“The enchiladas are made with our brisket, flour tortillas, our house-made enchilada sauce (and) cheddar cheese,” Herrera said. “We go through 14 dozen in less than three hours."
The prime brisket is another favorite. Herrera said the meat is "smoked around 14 hours, and whether eating the lean or the moist, our customers line up daily to order it until we are auctioning off the last few pounds at day’s end.”
Herrera said Jackson serves Snake River Farms wagyu on most weekends and Creekstone or Black Angus Prime otherwise.”
Other than weekly specials and the brisket, Herrera said the restaurant’s beef ribs. The dish “take(s) the gold” and is only served Friday through Sunday, Herrera said.
Try something new
While people may go for the beef, there are some hidden gems you don’t want to miss when you go to Brett’s Barbecue Shop.
“People are used to turkey being dry and overcooked,” Herrera said. “Our turkey is an all-natural breast that we smoke to perfection. It is smoky and juicy, and once folks have it, they order it by the pound to make sandwiches all week like at a deli.”
Another must-try at the restaurant is the pulled pork.
“The pulled pork is spectacular but just not as popular as the beef items,” Herrera said. “We do have many East Coast folks and folks from the north that grew up on pulled pork that prefer it not being as (popular) an item, which means they can usually get it with no trouble.”
What people are saying
People on Yelp! agree that the food at Brett’s Barbecue Shop is one-of-a-kind.
“I was finally able to go to Brett's for the first time after hearing rave reviews and walked away impressed,” said Nichols P. “This was THE largest and arguably the best short rib I've ever had! I usually prefer wet ribs, but these ribs were fantastic with a tasty bark. Beans were excellent, and though I prefer 'creamier' potato salad, the flavor was spot on. I can't wait to go back and try something else!”
“(This is) hands-down best BBQ Restaurant I’ve ever been to,” said Sharon P. “This hidden gem has a daily special as well the absolutely most flavorful, tender, delicious bark on its brisket. Plan on going early on Saturdays if you want the best burnt ends as they sell out early. The brisket enchiladas are my husband’s favorite enchiladas.”
“Damn good barbecue,” said Jackie C. “My husband and I tried the sausage and brisket, and both were extremely well done. We got there around 1:30 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon and they were sold out of all ribs, so get there early if you want to eat those. They only make a certain amount of food for the day, so when it's gone, they close. Totally worth your time thought and we MOST CERTAINLY will be back!”
Supporting the local scene
Jackson spends a lot of time at his place, but when he has some free time, he likes to grab a bite at Brother’s Pizza at Highway 6 or The Original Ninfa’s.
“If there is anything that (Jackson) loves more than barbecue, it is Tex-Mex,” Herrera said. “He is seriously addicted to Tex-Mex and could eat it daily, and sometimes does.”
Get in early
Brett’s Barbecue Shop is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11:30 a.m. until they sell out, so if you have your heart set on a particular kind of meat, you will want to get there early to guarantee you’ll get what you are craving.
Herrera said they sellout of about 70% of the day’s product within the first two to three hours after opening.
“Our shop is small. Tiny actually,” Herrera said. “We have a counter with 10 stools and three tables. That's it. The parking lot is next to impossible, as it services five busy businesses with a total of around 15 spots. But we are so worth it. Park across at Taco Bell or Panda Express and come hang out in what the locals have dubbed ‘The cheers of BBQ.’”
606 S Mason Rd, Katy, TX 77450
Wed-Sun: 11:30 a.m. until sell-out