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Friday, February 12, 2016

Jay Takes on More Austin Barbecue

by Jay Ducote

Franklin Barbecue may have been home to some of the best brisket I've ever tasted, but I knew my barbecue tour of Austin couldn't stop there. While I didn't get the chance to venture to any of the legendary stops outside the city limits, I did make sure to find a couple of the best BBQ trailers around.

The first of those quests brought me to Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ. A trailer located a little out of downtown, Valentina's puts a Texas-Mexican spin on traditional Hill Country barbecue. Their pork ribs were the best I had in Austin. Brilliantly spiced and the proper kind of tender, I could go back and get a whole rack of ribs if it weren't for something else on the menu calling my name...

Brisket Taco Special at Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ in Austin
Brisket Taco Special at Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ in Austin

The brisket taco gave me a new appreciation for what happens when good barbecue combines with Tex Mex flair. A fresh flour tortilla engulfed the smoky brisket which was dressed with spicy salsa, crunchy slaw, and a squeeze of tart lime juice. This is what I want in a taco. Layers of flavors and textures combine into one sensational bite after another. And like a burger is only as good as its bun, the tortilla game at Valentina's is strong.

Of course, I didn't just have the brisket taco. I also feasted on an arrangement of brisket, ribs, and a play on an off-the-cob Mexican street corn. I found my happy place.

A photo posted by Jay Ducote (@jayducote) on

On the east side of town is a food truck lot that hosts a single occupant: La Barbecue. With two smoking trailers, a service trailer, and plenty of picnic tables and open space, this joint just rings out “Austin” in my ears.
Jess Pryles set me up to meet Ali, one of the owners of La Barbecue, to do a proper sampling of the smoked meat menu. Along with my Chief Confusion Coordinator Blair, my buddies Andrew, Jonathan and Zac joined me because I knew we couldn't eat it all.

When the cafeteria tray covered in pink butcher paper came out, the salivation began, and the meat sweats ensued. Before us, arranged majestically to cover every square inch of the platter, lay a smorgasbord of smoked meats that could feed an army. One of the stars of the show was the legendary La Barbecue beef rib. Accompanying the rib were brisket, pulled pork, smoked turkey, smoked sausage, pork ribs, and a number of legit sides.

After polishing off the entire spread, we could barely manage to pose for a picture. Every bite I took brought me to new levels of barbecue glory. There was a line when we arrived, but nothing like the one at Franklin. I'd gladly go back to La Barbecue again and again. This place is the real deal!

A photo posted by Jay Ducote (@jayducote) on