Cooper's Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que, Llano
As Vaughn writes in his book, Cooper's is distinguished by the Hill Country style, also known as West Texas or "cowboy" style, in which meat is cooked over direct heat instead of the "low and slow" Central Texas method. This isn't "smoked meat" proper, but a parallel state treasure. "The big chop is my pick," says Vaughn. "It's a two-inch-thick pork chop grilled directly over mesquite coals: Juicy and tender and perfect." That said, one of the downsides to direct-heat cooking is its fragility: Get there early or discover that many of the menu items are too dried out by mid-afternoon.