where's the beef

New tech platform allows Houstonians access to the city's top BBQ

You can search Houston's top BBQ spots by a wide range of criteria. Courtesy of Houston BBQ Guide

Anew website wants to help Houstonians eat better barbecue. Created by the founders of the Houston BBQ Festival, the Houston BBQ Guide offers readers the ability to search for restaurants based on a wide range of criteria, including location, parking, and whether a restaurant is likely to sell out of food.

The editors of the guide, led by Houston Chronicle barbecue columnist J.C. Reid, have selected the 28 initial entries with an eye on small, family-run businesses that aim "to provide a quality product and experience on a consistent basis." Entries include both historic barbecue joints like Lenox Bar-B-Q and Pizzitola's Bar-B-Que as well as spots that have earned recognition on Texas Monthly's list of the state's 50 best such as CorkScrew BBQ and The Pit Room.

Each entry includes details about a restaurant's ownership and pitmaster, noteworthy dishes, and a brief video tour. The website also includes essays about the history of Houston's barbecue restaurants and other relevant topics.

As an "about the guide" section notes, people who want to eat barbecue may not know where to find it. By breaking things does geographically, the guide offers diners the opportunity to discover new places or be prompted to visit old favorites that aren't necessarily included in media-generated lists of the "best" barbecue restaurants.

"I like to think of it as a guide for everyday barbecue fans," Reid said in a statement.

The guide also offers an alternative to crowd-sourced review websites as well as the responses one gets on social media when a request for a restaurant near Sugar Land might be met with a suggestion to drive to Tomball — well-intentioned, surely, but not very helpful.

The guide will add new entries in time. For example, Feges BBQ's original Greenway Plaza location is listed but its newly opened Spring Branch outpost isn't (yet). A separate guide to barbecue pop-ups is already in the works, and the editors also tout the possibility of expanding to other Texas cities.

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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Building Houston

 
 

Here's how these Houston health care institutions ranked compared to the rest of the country. Photo by Dwight C. Andrews/Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau

It’s a three-peat for Houston Methodist Hospital.

For the third in a row, Healthgrades has named Houston Methodist the best hospital in Texas and one of the 50 best hospitals in the country. It’s the only Texas hospital in the top 50. Houston Methodist, a 907-bed facility at the Texas Medical Center, earned the same recognition in 2020 and 2021.

Four other hospitals in the Houston area made Healthgrades’ list of the top 250 hospitals in the U.S.:

  • Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center
  • Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital
  • Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital
  • Memorial Hermann – Texas Medical Center

Four Houston hospitals also excelled in several of Healthgrades’ specialty categories:

  • Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center, No. 3 in the state for heart surgery.
  • Memorial Hermann – Texas Medical Center, No. 1 in the state for stroke care and No. 2 for coronary intervention.
  • Houston Methodist Hospital, No. 2 in the state for critical care and No. 2 for pulmonary care.
  • Texas Orthopedic Hospital, No. 1 in the state for joint replacement.

Healthgrades, an online platform for finding physicians, hospitals, and other health care providers, rates hospitals based on clinical outcomes such as rates for patient deaths and treatment complications. For this year’s list, Healthgrades evaluated clinical performance at nearly 4,500 hospitals.

“For almost 25 years, our mission has been to provide consumers with clear and accessible information to make more informed health care decisions,” Dr. Brad Bowman, chief medical officer and head of data science at Healthgrades, says in a news release.

The Healthgrades rankings “provide consumers with increased transparency regarding the care in their areas, and empowers them to make more confident care decisions for themselves and their families,” Bowman adds.

For Houston Methodist, kudos like those from Healthgrades are common. For instance, the hospital last year landed at No. 16 on U.S. News & World Report’s national honor roll for the best hospitals, up from No. 20 the previous year. It was the top-rated Texas hospital on the list.

“These national accolades are something to be proud of, but most important, our patients are benefiting from all of our hard work. Ultimately, they are the reason we need to be one of the best hospital systems in the country,” Dr. Marc Boom, president and CEO of Houston Methodist, said last year in a news release about the U.S. News award.

The Healthgrades honor is one of several pieces of good news for Houston Methodist this year.

The hospital recently unveiled plans for the 26-story Centennial Tower. Scheduled to open in 2027, the $1.4 billion tower will include a larger emergency department and hundreds of patient beds, among other features. The new tower will replace the Houston Main building and West Pavilion.

Shortly after that announcement, the Houston Methodist system said it had received an anonymous $50 million gift. It’s the second largest donation in the system’s 102-year history.

Joining Houston Methodist Hospital in Healthgrades’ national top 250 this year are:

  • Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – McKinney
  • Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Temple
  • Doctors Hospital at Renaissance in Edinburg
  • Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene
  • Medical City Arlington
  • Medical City McKinney
  • Methodist Hospital in San Antonio
  • St. David’s Medical Center in Austin
  • St. David’s South Austin Medical Center
  • William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital in Dallas

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