Willie Nelson and the late George H.W. Bush are just a few of the famous faces who've made the trek to a legendary barbecue spot in Stafford with roots in Houston dating back to 1951.

While the worn-out vinyl booths and vintage, weathered wooden aesthetic at Otto’s Barbecue may suggest to some that the restaurant has seen better days or that it is a relic of a bygone era, my experience is that an old giant of the Houston barbecue scene still has its fastball, even if that fastball isn’t quite a 100 m.p.h. heater. 

Like many barbecue purveyors, the counter-serve restaurant has a large island next to the soda fountain for customers to help themselves to jalapeños, pickles, onions, relish and other condiments. 

For an additional $3.50, you can add a side and drink to any sandwich or meat platter. 

Otto’s is well-reputed in large part due to its burgers and brisket, both made with hickory smoke. The hickory-smoked “double” burger ($7.95) is actually a single patty (such is the case with all of their burgers) and it features hickory barbecue sauce, bacon, cheddar cheese and grilled onions. 

The hickory smoke infused the house-ground burger patty and the rest of the ingredients that made up the ensemble with a strong, bacon-like flavor that was slightly sweet and tangy. 

While the burger’s flavor profile was by far the most memorable aspect of my visit to Otto’s, I also liked the pulled pork sandwich ($8.95) which I had with barbecue sauce on the side and a cup of mac and cheese were the latter was so runny and low in viscosity that it was almost soupy in texture. 

Otto’s Barbecue

Address: 11222 Fountain Lake Drive, Stafford

Dining Options: Dine-in, curbside pickup, delivery

Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday, 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday,  7 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday 

Entree prices: $6.95-$29.95

Kid-friendly: Yes

Senior discount: No

Alcohol: Yes

Healthy options: None

Star of the show: Hickory double burger 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

CUTLINES:

The hickory-smoked double burger ($7.95) from Otto’s Barbecue features hickory barbecue sauce, bacon, cheddar cheese and grilled onions. (Photo by Stefan Modrich)

Pictured is Otto’s pulled pork sandwich ($8.95) with a side of mac and cheese. (Photo by Stefan Modrich)

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