As you round the corner of 6th and Nueces, the unmistakably beautiful smell of mesquite smoke guides you towards the newest trailer on the Austin scene,Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ. The dream of two long-time friends, Miguel Vidal and Michael Lerner, Valentina’s offers a unique yet familiar twist on BBQ.
Using a combination of recipes handed down through three generations of the Vidal family, as well as tried and true recipes perfected over the partnership’s collective 30+ years of culinary experience, the result is truly amazing and not to be missed. As is true with any great BBQ, you can taste the time and care that goes into the preparation of each meat, smoked up to 20 hours. With an expertise that can really only be attained through years, and in this case generations, of experience, Valentina’s serves up juicy brisket, mouth watering pulled pork, and hands down the best pulled chicken in town, all available the way the Vidal family- and most families around these parts- like it best: served on a handmade tortilla, with fresh salsa, guacamole, homemade slaw, and a lime. Of course, if you prefer a sandwich with any of these meats, they will gladly oblige. Sides include roasted corn, Mexican rice, and a delicious red potato salad. Wash it all down with a Mexican Coke or cold beer from Star Bar, where the trailer is housed, and you’ve got yourself one of the best meals for under $10 you can find in our fair city.
Serving food steeped in tradition and prepared with a great sense of pride, Valentina’s grand opening felt not unlike one of the many family barbecues that spawned its menu. With little Valentina- to whom the trailer owes its namesake- running around with Vidal’s wife, Modesty, whose cake pops are also available for dessert, the family element was hard to miss. The patrons, a healthy mix of loyal friends, family, and newcomers enticed by the smell and promise of delicious BBQ were not disappointed, as the trailer sold out of food well before their intended closing time of 3am.
Currently open Thursday – Saturday from 5pm-3am, the guys plan on expanding their hours to every day from 12pm-3am just in time for SXSW. “Just look for the trailer with the lowrider bike on top”, says Lerner, whose happiness is evident whenever he discusses his new endeavor and the various ways, other than their delicious food, they plan to stand out at this year’s festival and beyond. Also in store for the future, is a smoked Hebrew National sausage, served on a fresh tortilla, with grilled onions and peppers, and your choice of queso or spicy mustard, as well as offerings for herbivores such as bean, roasted corn, or queso tacos and salad bowls. Other things in the pipeline include daily specials like baby back ribs and enchiladas. All will be welcome additions to the West 6th street area.
So, whether you’re looking for a full meal or a late night snack after hitting up the abundant bar scene that surrounds it, Valentina’s has you covered. With recipes that were “Hecho con amor” (made with love) at family get togethers, Miguel and Mike bring that same familial vibe to their trailer. Next time you’re in the mood for some Tex Mex soul food, this is the place. Bring someone special with you. Join the growing family of Valentina’s converts. !Buen Provecho!
Written by: Adrian on February 28, 2013.