^
Keep Houston Press Free
4

The Carnicería Connoisseur: The Best Barbacoa on the Planet?

BROWNSVILLE, Nov. 24 – The sign out front of Vera’s Backyard B-B-Q in Brownsville advertises barbacoa en el pozo con lena de mesquite (barbacoa pit-smoked with mesquite wood). This morning, I picked up a half a pound of cheek meat for five bucks.

The moist, tender barbacoa meat at Vera’s is a little drier that the steamed stuff you usually get at the carniceria. It has a sharp mesquite wood aroma and a distinctive smoked meat flavor. It is by far the best barbacoa I have ever eaten and maybe the only barbacoa that truly deserves the name.

Barbacoa means barbecue in Spanish. The original method called for seasoned meat to be wrapped in maguey leaves (later canvas or aluminum foil) and buried under wood coals. In modern times, county health departments have banned this sort of cooking, and over the years most restaurants and carnicerias have abandoned the old barbacoa pits. A few pits that were operating before the regulations were enacted were “ grandfathered.” Vera’s and a grocery store in Eagle Pass have the only two I have ever heard of.

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

After sampling the meat by itself, I made some breakfast tacos on warm corn tortillas with a little onion, cilantro, lime juice and salsa. ¡Que rico! – Robb Walsh

Vera’s Backyard B-B-Q, 2404 Southmost Blvd., Brownsville, 956-546-4159 (Barbacoa is served Saturday and Sunday mornings only)

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.