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.
Brisket is really good and tender! Has great smoky flavor. This place also has a butcher!
Nathaniel Cox @ Vincek’s Smokehouse, 2014-08-31 18:30:40
The hunt for the best barbecue continues with the second joint today. This is a small victory as I have always wanted to hit more than one restaurant on the Texas Monthly Top 50 BBQ establishments in a single day. Billy's Old Fashion Barbecue happens to be number 9. I have a hair less than four years to visit the other 41 before the list is updated. I have my work cut out for me as these places are as far at 500 miles from home. I wasn't hungry when we rolled into Jasper, but I was here to eat barbecue. I knew I wanted brisket and when we found the dilapidated restaurant, I knew we were going to experience some magic. I chose the sliced brisket sandwich. I wasn't expecting this monstrosity as it was quite large. Topped with pickles and onions, this sauce soaked sandwich was perfect. I only wish I had ordered the sauce on the side. The sauce was decent, but I came for the meat. The sliced brisket was very nice. It was juicy and the fat was rendered beautifully. It was a bit toothsome, but it certainly wasn't tough. I had forgotten to ask for untrimmed meat, so I was pleased when I saw that the crusty bark was intact. The meat had a mild flavor. Not too much smoke, and it wasn't overpowered with seasoning. It was a simple, beefy masterpiece. At only 2 1/2 hours from home, I can see myself loading up the family for a nice meaty adventure. This is easily a 4.0/5.0. Well done, Texas Monthly. This BBQ doesn't disappoint.
Theodore Luoma @ Billy’s Old Fashion BBQ, 2014-08-31 01:12:51
It has been a few months since I was able to hunt for some good Texas BBQ. It is a bit of a tradition that my oldest daughter, Alli, and I enjoy. I'm not a hunter, so we aren't likely to go kill deer as we spend time together, but we have our own game we like to track down. We decided to have lunch at the Hitch-N-Post in Livingston, TX. It's 3 1/2 hours from home so we had time to work up an appetite. We both ordered untrimmed fatty brisket which in my estimation, is the best tasting meat. I usually try the sausage as well, but we are planning an early supper at another BBQ place and I don't want to gorge myself. The brisket, though cooked, could probably have used another four hours in the smoker to completely render the fat and make the meat fork tender. I actually had to use a knife to cut the meat. There was a beautiful smoke ring and a decent crust, but I was hoping for a denser crust. Then again, this ain't Lockhart. The beans were good, but they were punched up canned beans. The potato salad probably came from Brookshire Brothers, but I came for the meat. The sides are just a bonus. Apparently, the proprietor has a policy to give free cake to first time customers. He was a really nice BBQ enthusiast as he asked if I had tried Snow's in Lexington. Then he started showing me pictures of BBQ joints on his phone. The ambience was a schlockfest with old tricycles dangling from the ceiling and tiki umbrellas reminiscent of Gilligan's Island. It was enjoyable soaking it in while I soaked up sauce with my bread. The food was good. I would rate it a 3.0/5.0, but with the outstanding service and friendly atmosphere, I rate it a solid 3.5. Hitch-N-Post is definitely worth a visit if you are in the area.
Theodore Luoma @ Hitch-N-Post BBQ, 2014-08-30 18:24:06
It has been a few months since I was able to hunt for some good Texas BBQ. It is a bit of a tradition that my oldest daughter, Alli, and I enjoy. I'm not a hunter, so we aren't likely to go kill deer as we spend time together, but we have our own game we like to track down. We decided to have lunch at the Hitch-N-Post in Livingston, TX. It's 3 1/2 hours from home so we had time to work up an appetite. We both ordered untrimmed fatty brisket which in my estimation, is the best tasting meat. I usually try the sausage as well, but we are planning an early supper at another BBQ place and I don't want to gorge myself. The brisket, though cooked, could probably have used another four hours in the smoker to completely render the fat and make the meat fork tender. I actually had to use a knife to cut the meat. There was a beautiful smoke ring and a decent crust, but I was hoping for a denser crust. Then again, this ain't Lockhart. The beans were good, but they were punched up canned beans. The potato salad probably came from Brookshire Brothers, but I came for the meat. The sides are just a bonus. Apparently, the proprietor has a policy to give free cake to first time customers. He was a really nice BBQ enthusiast as he asked if I had tried Snow's in Lexington. Then he started showing me pictures of BBQ joints on his phone. The ambience was a schlockfest with old tricycles dangling from the ceiling and tiki umbrellas reminiscent of Gilligan's Island. It was enjoyable soaking it in while I soaked up sauce with my bread. The food was good. I would rate it a 3.0/5.0, but with the outstanding service and friendly atmosphere, I rate it a solid 3.5. Hitch-N-Post is definitely worth a visit if you are in the area.
Theodore Luoma @ Hitch-N-Post BBQ, 2014-08-30 18:24:05
Third in line pound of lean got two ends and a sausage PERFECTION worth the drive ft worth good food good folks
doug_wallace @ Louie Mueller Barbecue, 2014-08-30 15:38:00
Loved that there was no wait unlike that other place on East 6th. Fatty brisket was as advertised. Pepper on crust was perfect. Jalapeño sausage was okay. Loved the cheesy squash - my new favorite side. No beef ribs today sadly. Drank the BBQ sauce too; very good stuff.
Rahul Yaratha @ John Mueller Meat Co., 2014-08-29 16:44:19
Brisket was moist, but tough. Needed more smoke. Spare ribs were ok.
mrb @ Rudy’s Bar-B-Q, 2014-08-27 02:53:29
Stopped at Rudy's at Leon Springs. Not good. Brisket was moist but tough. Ribs were fair.
mrb @ , 2014-08-27 02:47:40
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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.

Valentinas 10

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.

Valentinas 2

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.

Valentinas 1

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.

Valentinas 4

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.