June 30, 2016 6:30 AM EDT

Plenty of states are ripe for a barbecue road trip, but in Texas you could fill an entire summer vacation with them. From Beaumont to El Paso, from Mercedes in the south to the Panhandle in the north, the challenge isn’t building an itinerary but limiting it. A good place to start is ­Austin—no other U.S. city has as many truly great joints. These eight stops offer some of the best brisket and hot links in Texas. Just be prepared to never be happy with mediocre barbecue again.

Vaughn is the barbecue editor at Texas Monthly and author of The Prophets of Smoked Meat.

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