Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ

600 W. 6th St.
Austin, TX 78701

Phone: (512) 363-8520
Hours: M-Tues 5pm-10pm, W 11-2 & 5-12, Thur-F 11-2 & 5-2, Sat 12-2am, Sun 12-10
Website: www.valentinastexmexbbq.com
Twitter: @valstexmexbbq
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ValentinasTexMexBbq

Opened 2013
Pitmaster Miguel Vidal & Michael Lerner
Method Wood-fired offset smoker with mesquite

TMBBQ Rating: 4.25

TMBBQ Buzz

Comments from our joint finder app.
Consistently awesome! Brisket is always tender and moist, though I'd rather they not cut off the tasty ends and edges. Sides are always delish... And the jalepeno sausage is awesome. Can never go wrong with Schoepf's.
dirkelps @ Schoepf’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que, 2014-09-20 17:25:43
No Ten50 on the finder yet? Brisket was pretty good.
smokemaster0ne @ , 2014-09-20 16:20:42
Awesome brisket and ribs!
David Monasmith @ Pecan Lodge, 2014-09-19 18:10:20
Kent Black's BBQ. San Marcos. Brisket moist smokey an TENDER! Keeping up the family tradition.
Andrew Imm @ , 2014-09-19 18:10:13
Tender, good flavor, could use more smoke. Much better than the fast food barbecue down the street
charles hodge @ Big Boys Barbecue, 2014-09-19 18:04:52
Stanley's - Tyler Ribs - beautiful, perfectly pink. Soft, almost oddly mushy, but with a tasty sweetness that I enjoyed. Brisket - well cooked, tender, but a bit dry and not much smoke flavor at all. The bark was thin, as was the smoke ring. Overall good, but nothing to really make it stand out. Gets a 'meh' B from me.
Scott Jarvis @ Stanley’s Famous Pit Bar-B-Q, 2014-09-18 18:14:00
Had the brisket ribs and sausage all very good. Sides are over the top good. Smoked jalapeño app is amazing.
Roman @ Two Bros. BBQ Market, 2014-09-18 16:53:37
Went for "My Ribs" and "Your Ribs". Both good but latter wins out. Brisket definitely dry; was hard for me to get into. Sausage was okay. Definitely try key lime pie. Enjoyed the decor. Overall a good, not great Q place.
Rahul Yaratha @ Big Boys Barbecue, 2014-09-17 23:24:47
More Buzz →

Review

Valentinas 6

December 10, 2013

My first trip to Valentina’s was on a whim. I stopped at the trailer behind the Star Bar on Sixth Street in Austin on my way out of town. A friend was writing a story on taco variations, and I thought I might be able to add a novelty to his story – Texas barbecue in a taco. I didn’t know what to expect from this mash-up of Tex-Mex and barbecue, but it wasn’t much. I wouldn’t have been surprised to find crockpot pork shoulder on store-bought tortillas, until I smelled smoke. A steel offset smoker next to the trailer was going strong. They were smoking everything on site with mesquite. At the window they confirmed that only the pulled pork was ready, and that it would come on a homemade flour tortilla. Things were looking up.

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Pulled pork taco

I ate the taco immediately, and it was nothing short of fantastic. The meat was so juicy and smoky that when I wrapped it up tight and took a bite, it tasted like a pork and cilantro sausage in a tortilla casing. A return visit was in order to find the genius behind the pit, Miguel Vidal. He and partner Michael Lerner opened the trailer earlier this year, and Vidal says the menu comes straight from San Antonio where he grew up, as did the choice for mesquite. That mesquite smoke is a constant perfume around the trailer since the smokers always seem to be fired up, and Vidal has found a way to temper that smokiness in the meat. On none of the three visits did anything taste over smoked.

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A slice of Valentina’s brisket

The barbecue at Valentina’s is available in a taco, on a sandwich, or by the pound. If ordering a taco, the brisket comes chopped unless specified. I suggest asking for sliced. They don’t skimp on the meat, so that allows you to sneak a slice off for a pre-taco snack. After a bite of the smoky and lusciously moist brisket, you might feel compelled to order it by the pound so nothing gets between you and the brisket. Fear not, bulk meat orders come with tortillas and homemade salsa in case you change your mind mid-pound. While they offer their own barbecue sauce, I would stick with the excellent salsas. They work better with the meat, and provide just enough heat.

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Smoked corn

It was on that second visit that I discovered the smoked corn. The side dish is served like elotes, but the smoked kernels add a rich depth that you won’t get from steamed or boiled corn. I enjoyed a number of other tacos that visit as well, but those photos were worse than the one above. That’s what happens when you eat on the trunk under a high-pressure sodium street lamp. You can also take your order next door to the Star Bar if you’d like to eat at a table, which is what I did on my third visit.

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A half pound of Valentina’s pulled pork

There were no tacos on the next trip. Just meat. The pulled pork was as good naked as it was wrapped in a tortilla blanket. The brisket was even better. If you hadn’t told me it came from Valentina’s, the Mex part wouldn’t have entered my mind. This was pure Texas brisket smoked a well as almost anyone else in town. There was a prominent bark layered over buttery fat, and that smoke ring run deep. The seasoning is salty with a good bit of black pepper, and the flavor doesn’t stop at the crust. I just hope they can continue that level of quality as their customer base grows. Word is spreading, and co-owner Modesty Vidal hopes they can use the popularity to make a move to a brick and mortar eventually. For now they will continue to serve barbecue and tacos late into the night in their cramped trailer. It should also be noted that in addition to their late hours (open until 2:00 am Thursday through Saturday) this is also one of Austin’s few choices for barbecue on a Monday.

Valentinas 3

Sliced brisket

Just last week I stopped in again on a cold Thursday evening. Funny enough Brad Istre from Man Up Texas BBQ saw me ordering when he drove by and suggested via text that I join him at Little Woodrow’s across the street. The bartender at Little Woodrow’s was fine with the imported tacos, so there is yet another option for where to eat your Valentina’s barbecue. This time it was a simple chopped beef taco that made me rethink the greatest and best use for chopped beef. On a bun with barbecue sauce, pickles, and onions is great way to eat it, but with salsa and guacamole on a flour tortilla is a welcome change of pace. Next to it was the first slip up I’d seen from Valentina’s. A dry serving of pulled pork had topped one of the other tacos, but I quickly forgot about it as I tucked into the daily special of a brisket, sausage and guacamole taco.

Valentinas 9

Brisket and sausage taco

So, you can get brisket, pulled pork and sausage at this trailer. What about ribs? They only do them on Wednesdays, so I haven’t had the chance to try them. Mike Sutter and others have sang their praises. It pains me to have missed out, but that just gives me an excuse to go back. I also didn’t try any of the meat on a sandwich. The tacos are just too good. Valentina’s may not serve traditional tacos, and there’s a good chance you’ll consume your barbecue here in a different way than you’re used to. Just know that whether or not the smoked meat is served in a tortilla, on a bun or with your hands, you’re sure to get some solid barbecue out of this trailer.

Comments

  • Jimmy

    Great review! I knew a review was in the works, and I was going to try to beat you to it. Oh well. Either way, I have to try this place.

  • David

    I’ve been fortunate to visit Valentina’s for their beef short ribs. A single short plate rib 8″ long with a minimum of two inches of succulent meat sits atop the bone. Reminded me of a big o’l grizzly bear sleeping on a log. One was enough to almost forget about the home made tortillas and sliced brisket. But that wasn’t going to happen.