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STATE

It's National Barbecue Day! Which are the best and worst days to BBQ in Texas this year?

Alexis Simmerman
Austin American-Statesman

Thursday is National Barbecue Day, and Texans are sure to indulge in some classics to kick off the barbecue season.

It goes without saying that summer is the perfect time to fire up that grill or smoker. But with fluctuating weather conditions, not all summer days are cut out for barbecue. Whether it's raining or too hot, some days are simply not great for outdoor cooking.

"There’s nothing worse than planning an entire barbecue, stocking up your fridge, and getting the kids excited only for the weather to let you down," CEO of Veronica Fletcher said.

Brisket with a heavily-peppered exterior is served at Mum Foods Smokehouse And Delicatessen on Sunday, Dec. 17, 2023 in Austin. Mum Foods serves what pitmaster Travis Crawford says is traditional North-Central Texas barbecue.

But exactly what dates are the best − or worst? To answer this, analyzed five years of weather data from Texas cities.

The data used in the analysis included average temperatures, rainfall, cloud cover, wind speed and sunset time. To further narrow the selection, day of the week was also considered − who wants to barbecue on a Monday?

Best time to barbecue in Texas: Memorial Day weekend

Memorial Day weekend, which this year falls on May 25 and 26, was found to be the best weekend for a barbecue. June 2 was the third best day, followed by July 27.

July 27 averages 98°F but has had almost no chances of rain for the past five years, presenting desirable barbecue conditions if you can either handle the heat or find adequate shade.

Worst weekend to barbecue in Texas

The analysis by Pantry and Larder found June 22 and 23 to be the worst weekend to barbecue in Texas. The weekend has been hit with severe weather, with some recent years exceeding 100°F and others seeing significant rainfall.

Barbecue heaven at Evie Mae's in Wolfforth outside Lubbock, Texas.

4th of July barbecues in Texas

Sunday, July 7 is the best day to have a Fourth of July barbecue, according to Pantry and Larder. July 4 itself, which falls on a Thursday this year, comes in second.

What is 'perfect' barbecue weather?

Pantry and Larder list the following criteria for ideal barbecue weather:

  • A maximum feels-like temperature of 88°F. This is the maximum, so most of the day will be a few degrees cooler.
  • A slight breeze to keep things from getting too stuffy.
  • Minimal chance of rain.
  • Cloud cover of 25%, which means you’ll get plenty of sun, but also some welcome shade breaks.
  • A sunset time of 9 pm.
  • A weekend or a holiday.
Texas Twinkies wait to be cooked Friday, July 21, 2023 at Rejino Barbeque in Olton. They make between 150 to 200 of the snacks every day.

Texas cities: Best days to barbecue

May 26, 2024, will generally be the best day to barbecue in Texas, according to Pantry and Larder's analysis. Here are the best days by city:

  • El Paso: May 25, 2024
  • Austin: May 26, 2024
  • San Antonio: May 26, 2024
  • Fort Worth: May 27, 2024
  • Dallas: May 27, 2024
  • Houston: June 1, 2024

Texas cities: Worst days to barbecue

Pantry and Larder predicts June 23, 2024, will be the worst day to barbecue in Texas. Here are the worst days by city:

  • Dallas: May 25, 2024
  • Austin: June 9, 2024
  • Houston: June 22, 2024
  • Fort Worth: June 23, 2024
  • San Antonio: July 6, 2024
  • El Paso: August 17, 2024