Some of the best brisket in town is about to hit the road. Valentina’s Tex-Mex BBQ, which blends the flavors of Texas and Mexico with sublime results (try their brisket taco with guacamole), will soon be leaving the Star Bar on East Sixth Street.
The trailer will move to 7612 Brodie Ln. (near William Cannon) on May 4 and open for business at the new location on May 8. Owner Miguel Vidal is moving his trailer as the Star Bar undergoes an expansion, and Vidal’s wife, Modesty, says Valentin’s plans to reopen at Star Bar after construction is finished (hopefully around the start of football season).
The Vidals will also be expanding their business to include a second trailer, the Violet Taco (named after the Vidals’ youngest daughter), which will be at The Craftsman Bar at 2000 E. Cesar Chavez St. That trailer, which will serve breakfast tacos and Valentina’s spin on Tex-Mex flavors, will open on May 2, when the bar officially opens. The Violet Taco will be open from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily.
Here is what I had to say about Valentina’s last fall:
The name Valentina’s Tex-Mex BBQ might seem a bit unwieldy, the kind of gimmicky hybridization used to stand out in a crowd of food trailers in a city full of Tex-Mex and barbecue offerings.
But for trailer owner Miguel Vidal, the name nods to culinary and cultural traditions that represent his native San Antonio. The fifth-generation Texan, who opened the trailer in February 2013, grew up bonding with family over his grandfather and father’s backyard barbecue. The smoked meat was served with the accouterments traditionally found in Mexican restaurants: salsa, lime, avocado. And, of course, homemade tortillas.
“If you don’t have homemade tortillas, nobody will go there,” Vidal said of Mexican restaurants in San Antonio. “It’s a good way to get slapped.”
Tex-Mex BBQ isn’t a marketing angle; it’s a way of life. It’s the name Vidal, who with the help of his wife and brother runs the trailer named after his daughter, gave to what he calls “South Texas comfort food.”
Vidal follows San Antonio’s lead, pressing his own flour tortillas in a San Antonio Spurs-black trailer behind the Star Bar. The trailer is located just a tortilla-toss away from Ranch 616, the restaurant where Vidal served as general manager for nine years, after working his way up the ranks.
Valentina’s has two pits that are seemingly in perpetual use, smoking brisket over mesquite for 15 to 18 hours. That tender beef arrives in a sandwich ($8.50) of thick slabs brandished with an impressive ruby smoke ring and stacked tall, a toupee of cabbage slaw providing crunch between the meat and top bun. The moist beef packs enough time-earned flavor that you won’t want to adorn it with the sweet homemade sauce.
It’s one of the best sliced brisket sandwiches in town, but when the Mexican accent gets added to the dish, it ascends to a category all its own. The beef is chopped and loaded onto one of the homemade flour tortillas — a bubbled bed balancing fluff and crunch — and dressed with a serrano-tinged red salsa and a smooth dollop of guacamole ($5).
You can order the trio of smoked meats — pork, chicken and beef — as tacos or sandwiches, but, outside of the sliced brisket sandwich, tacos are the way to go. Mesquite smoke works its way through tender strands of chicken ($4) that get a kick from a heaping of bright tomatillo salsa, while the carnitas ($4) plays a high-low game with floral cilantro and rich caramelized onions, the vegetal snap of grilled red peppers serving as the dividing line. Valentina’s runs a pig-centric special that adds snap-casing coarse grind beef-and-pork sausage to the top of the carnitas, forming the culinary epicenter of Vidal’s Tex-Mex BBQ concept.
(Hours: 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday and Tuesday; 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Wednesday; 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday and Friday; noon to 2 a.m. Saturday; and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday.Information: 600 W. Sixth St. 512-221-4248, valentinastexmexbbq.com.)