Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que

604 W. Young (Texas Hwy. 29)
Llano, TX 78643

Phone: 325-247-5713
Hours: Sun-€“Thur 10:30-€“8, Fri & Sat 10:30-€“9

Opened 1963
Pitmaster Multiple
Method Mesquite; direct-heat pit
Pro Tip Offset the price of the meats with a bowl of free beans.

TMBBQ Rating: 4.5

Texas Monthly BBQ Top 50

More Reviews

April 24, 2012

In 1962, Tommy Cooper was sent out by his father George to expand the Cooper’s BBQ business from Mason to Llano. Tommy sadly died in an accident in 1979 and the business was sold. It was sold again in 1986 to current owner Terry Wootan who has seen this Hill Country staple’s fame reach new heights. The Wootan’s have also taken to some expansion of their own and have seen new stores open in New…

January 23, 2010

It had been some time since my last visit to Cooper’s in Llano. This haven for bikers out on their Saturday stroll isn’t on the way from Dallas to anywhere, so I made a special road trip of my own. There was some BBQ sampled along the way, but my true destination was Llano, and the original home of the Big Chop. Although when I set out for the day I had plans of an…

May 21, 2008

The horror! Our first pass through the Hill Country’s most renowned barbecue joint was utterly disappointing. The pork ribs were tough, the sausage was bland, and the fatty brisket was downright chewy. Even the sides were lackluster. Still, no one seemed to mind; the place was packed on a weekday afternoon, as locals, tourists, and bikers waited in line by the outdoor pit to pick out their own meats. Luckily we ordered some lean brisket…


May 16, 2013

Texas is in the midst of a barbecue renaissance, an age of smoky enlightenment. One need only sample the goods at new-guard establishments like Franklin Barbecue, in Austin, or Pecan Lodge, in Dallas, to realize it. Yet in the face of all this newfangled excitement, Cooper’s continues to soldier on—an intrepid old-timer, a barbecue stalwart that has appeared on every single one of these lists. If it ain’t broke, as the saying goes, don’t fix it (or put sauce on it). There are a number of establishments across the state, affiliated and not, that carry the Cooper’s name (our favorite, after Llano, is the one in New Braunfels, a spanking-clean edition of the original that opened in 2008), but for pure, authentic grunge, we like this location, where if it’s a weekend in spring or summer, you’re likely to be waiting in line with a lot of bikers. Do as they do. First, eyeball the unbelievable array of meats in the immense serving pit—brisket, sirloin steak, pork chops, beef and pork ribs, cabrito, chicken, sausage. This is the most challenging part of the Cooper’s experience, because you have to choose the pieces of meat you’ll soon be eating, and the spectacle of that bounty has been known to overwhelm visitors and cause them to freeze up. Stay focused. The must-have is the pork chop, a two-inch-thick juicy slab, but get some of the smoky brisket too and at least one of the fat and bouncy beef ribs, which are coated in a thick, black, chewy crust. The chicken is moist and peppery, and the pork loin is super lean. The best sausage is the one with jalapeño in it. Having selected your meats, head down the line for sides (the jalapeño mac and cheese is excellent) and homemade desserts (apple, blackberry, peach, and pecan cobbler). Grab a cup of sauce from the condiments table—you won’t actually need any on your meat, but the thin, tart mixture is worth a dip. Finally, head into the capacious dining room and take a seat at one of the long picnic tables. This is, just as the name suggests, old-time pit barbecue at its best.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *