I was in San Antonio for a few days in February with a few friends for a conference – a number of our meals were provided at the conference, but we tried to make the best of our time there, and managed to have some excellent meals.
BBQ Station: We chose this one for its proximity to the airport – the brisket was actually really good, super fatty and juicy, but everything else (chopped beef, ribs, sausage, sides, sauce) was mediocre.
High Velocity Sports Bar (JW Marriot Hill Country) – what can I say, by the time our conference was done for the day and we had finished exercising, it was too late to leave the Marriott. We ended up at the flashy sports bar – they had a fun selection of local beers, which could be sampled in flights. The food was not good. I ordered fish tacos, figuring they would be tough to screw up, and they probably would have been ok, had it not been for the incongruous coating of ranch dressing on the fish.
Los Barrios: Our luck started to turn on day two. The sauces at Los Barrios are really remarkable – super bright, fresh and balanced. We ordered the Filete a la Tampiquena and the Costillas Rancheras, both of which starred beautiful, complex and distinct sauces. We loved the green sauce on the chicken enchiladas as well. Of the puffy tacos, the beef was the best – nicely seasoned beef, blonder than expected but light and crisp taco. The bean and guac crispy tacos were bland. The guacamole in general was very bland – I couldn’t detect anything other than avocado. The special nachos were unimpressive.
Two Brothers: My first taste of the brisket, unsauced, almost knocked me over. The crust was caramelized and tasted almost like candied bacon – the meat was ultra juicy and fatty. The ribs were very good as well – the quality of meat for both brisket and ribs was extremely high. The chicken was stellar, super moist and flavorful. The sausage was merely ok, and the pork butt bland. I appreciated the vinegary tang of the coleslaw, but don't remember much about the rest of the sides.
The sauces were terrific, really bright and acidic and well-balanced. Prior to this trip, the entirety of my bbq experience has been of meat drenched in tomato/molasses based sauces, so this was an epiphany. Turns out I do like bbq sauce after all.
(Huh. Having trouble finding the Places Link for Two Bros. Address is 12656 West Avenue, Suite B, San Antonio, TX 78216)
I went home with a few gallon Baggies full of brisket and ribs in my carry-on, with sauce carefully massaged between pieces so as not to run afoul of the TSA. I didn’t get a chance to go to Luling or Lockhart this time, but as luck would have it, I’m going to Austin in June – looks like I’ll get another chance!