It’s always fun to try the different cuisine from all over the lone star state. When our friends from the Texas Tourism department called us up to see if we wanted to take a BBQ tour we, emphatically said, uhm yeah. Our two day central Texas BBQ tour featuring four BBQ joints is one you have to check off The Texas Bucket List!
It all started in Austin, southwest of the city and just north of Manchaca. Looks weird and sounds weird, right? Well wait till you hear about the BBQ you’ll find here at Valentina’s.
Elias Vidal along with his brother, Miguel, and sister-in-law, Modesty, started Valetina’s as a food truck in 2013. Now they have more a permanent set up for their magical mix of Mexican food and BBQ.
“This is kind of the blend of food that we grew up eating,” Elias explained. “We pare it with the tortilla, and there you go. That’s Tex-Mex barbeque right there.”
One of their most popular items, and a favorite of mine, is the smoked brisket taco.
“So our brisket, we smoke 14 to 16 hours,” Elias said. “It’s our house dry rub that we do on there with a little salt and pepper. That’s it, and then after it comes off the pit we chop it up or we slice it on a fresh flower tortilla. Then we top it off with a little bit of sea salt lime guacamole topped off with tomato and Serrano salsa.”
After falling in love with Valentina’s barbeque, it was time to get something a bit more traditional. So, we headed to the BBQ Capital of Texas and for this round we decided to try Kreiz.
Roy Perez is the pit master at this barbeque joint that can trace it’s history back all the way to 1900, when Charles Kreuz Sr. opened a meat market and grocery store. Today the traditional barbeque taste can be attributed to the man that looks like the King and is Texas barbeque nobility.
There are three things you need to know about eating at Kreuz; one there is no sauce, two there aren’t any forks, and three they’re not kidding.
And is it good? Well are cows made out of meat?
On to Snow’s in Lexington, another first family of barbeque royalty. If you want a taste of this heavenly barbeque, you better show up early.
Named the best barbeque in Texas, twice, Snow’s line is usually long but well worth the wait!
Mrs. Tootsie is a Texas legend that God has graced the Lone Star State with. In 1966, she got a job at the Giddings Meat Market and has been doing something with barbeque ever since.
“You can’t come in and throw it together and put a bunch of fire under it and expect to turn out a good product,” Mrs. Tootsie said. “It takes time, patients, and love for your work.”
Since 2003, she’s been showing up every Saturday at 2 in the morning to get the brisket where it needs to be to be the best.
“Saturday barbeque is a tradition since I was a little bitty girl, and before that,” Mrs. Tootsie explained.
Owner Kerry Bexley is still amazed by the stature his small BBQ store (that’s only open once a week) has garnered.
“It’s a blessing that we’re thankful for, but I guess the worst part is people waiting in a longer line.”
Perhaps Mrs. Tootsie puts it best.
“It is really unbelievable that good food can set the world on fire like it has done here in Lexington,” Mrs. Tootsie said.
For our final stop we visit the cathedral of smoke in Taylor known as Louie Mueller Barbecue.
Wayne Mueller is the third generation of Mueller men making sure this method of cooking meat stays true to form.
“What we do is very traditional,” Wayne explained. “It’s very authentic. We use pits that are well older than me. We use processes that out date me. My job is to sort of continue on those traditions and processes and to teach others to do the same sorts of thing.”
This man takes barbeque to a whole new scientific level. I’m talking out of this world!
“Think of it as a space shuttle,” Wayne said. “You know when a space shuttle re-enters the atmosphere you’ve got friction on the nose cone, and the nose cone glows red but the tail section does not, briskets the same way.”
The brisket melts in your mouth while the beef rib can only be described one way, legendary.
“It’s more like a theater,” says Wayne. “People now travel around the world to have and experience small town Texas BBQ. It’s our job to live up to that expectation.”
After stuffing ourselves with tasty Texas BBQ it was time for a siesta but each and every one of these meat mastery marvels is well worth a stop on The Texas Bucket List.