San Antonio

El Machito 09

El Machito

Restaurateurs dismissing the use of all wood cookers saying “the city won’t let us cook with wood” no longer have an excuse, at least not in San Antonio. Just beyond a low counter that they call the altar at El Machete, there’s a crackling mesquite fire, the flickers of which you can gaze at from the dining room. There’s a commercial kitchen hood above, and animals speared onto rebar in between. This is barbecue in the…

Smoke Shack 01

Smoke Shack BBQ

Three years ago I ate some promising barbecue from a food truck in the shadow of I-410 in San Antonio. Chris Conger was doing it all that day inside what was called Conger’s Smoke Shack, cooking, slicing, and making change. Last year he had stowed away enough change to make the jump into a steep-roofed building along Broadway just north of the swanky Pearl district. The food truck is still hanging around the highway at lunch time,…

Spechts Store 01

Specht’s Store

In 1908, German immigrant William Specht bought some property outside Bulverde, Texas, about twenty miles north of San Antonio. He took over the operation of an existing store, and by the early twenties erected a building that, according to the Bulverde Standard, was originally a dance hall. Being next to Camp Stanley it was popular as a watering hole for the nearby soldiers. Those services weren’t always welcome, and on January 24th, 1918 Specht was…

Interview: Tim Rattray of The Granary

Owner/Pitmaster/Chef: The Granary; Opened 2012 Age: 31 Smoker: Wood-Fired Rotisserie Smoker Wood: Live Oak  There isn’t another barbecue joint in Texas with as many menus to deal with as The Granary. They have a lunch menu with traditional barbecue items and a rotating daily lunch special that includes Cajun pulled pork and brisket pastrami. Their dinner menu is a completely different collection of composed dishes that changes monthly. Then there are the special dinners. Just this month chef Tim…

Ed's Smokin Q 01

Ed’s Smok-N-Q

A accolade from two years back brought me to this renovated Sonic on the east side of San Antonio. A local media outlet (I don’t recall which one) wrote that Ed’s Smok-N-Q served the best brisket in the city. That claim in San Antonio doesn’t carry quite the weight as the same utterance in Austin, but it’s still noteworthy. In the list of Texas’s largest cities, San Antonio’s barbecue scene has taken the longest to mature (the…

Hot Spot BBQ 01

Hot Spot BBQ

I was looking for a jerk chicken restaurant just south of the Trinity University campus in San Antonio when I drove past a brightly painted converted service station. I hadn’t planned on visiting Hot Spot BBQ that day, but when the jerk chicken shack was locked down tight, I made a U-turn. Owner Rochelle Arsate took my order through a screen-covered window on the side of the building. The pork ribs wouldn’t be ready for…