On our way down to San Antonio last month, we decided to hit an Austin BBQ joint. It looked like we’d get into Austin midday on a Saturday, so I was hoping to hit a good spot, in between lunch and dinner. Now, I know this is a hard time of the day to eat BBQ on the weekend. A lot of places sell out, and those that are planning to serve into the dinner hours are really in between cooks. I’m being really careful here, because this place is really highly rated, and I know that I could have just had a bad experience because of abnormal circumstances.
I grabbed my trusty BBQ Finder app and found the listing for Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ. After reading the review from Texas Monthly to my family, it sounded really good, so they said yes, and off we went!
This place in South of Austin proper, almost to Buda. There are several ways to get there if I-35 is jammed up. It’s only 3 miles off the interstate, just North of Buda if you are familiar with the area.
We drove past it the first time. It is a collection of trailers and picnic tables in a gravel parking lot with a metal style building behind it. Look below:
I’m never one to be afraid of trying new things, so we went for it. I’ll tell you this, it was pretty chilly that day, and I think that detracted from the overall experience. Another thing is my kids had to use the bathroom when we got there. They do not have real bathrooms, so it was straight into “porta pottys”. This was a bit of an ordeal trying to get my kids hands clean enough to eat, but we rolled with it. The weather was a bit weird, so the line only had about 30 people in it. That was still enough to create a 45 minute wait; but hey, that’s Texas BBQ for you.
As I’ve previously mentioned, I like to have a cold beer with my BBQ, and Valentina’s is BYOB. They boys went to through bean bags (they have a place for people to hang out), Jennifer hoped in the line, and I grabbed my truck to run up to the store to grab a cold one and make sure Jennifer had her diet coke!
After I got back, they announced they were out of chicken, and had just opened their last brisket. We were five people back, so I prayed those five people wouldn’t order 10 pounds of brisket, I got lucky and was able to order what I wanted. Jennifer was hoping to get the pulled chicken sandwich, but instead ordered the fajita chicken tacos. Here is the menu:
Sliced Brisket Tacos
Fajita Chicken Tacos
Pulled Pork Sandwich
More Sliced Brisket (comes with tortillas, pickles, and onions)
Chips and Queso
Red Potato Salad
A couple Big Reds for the boys
They give you a number to bring you your order. They gave us the drinks and the chips and queso when I paid, which was good because the boys were ready to eat. We grabbed a seat in the metal building (they had a couple patio heaters set up) and started eating. Here is my opinion of what we had:
- Sliced Brisket Tacos: Good. The mesquite flavor was a little heavy. I liked the guacamole and salsa. The review said there was enough to pull some brisket out and eat on it’s own, and it was right.
- Fajita Chicken Tacos: These were decent. They had a lot going on, but not much flavor. They were lukewarm and had already gotten soggy by the time they got to the table.
- Pulled Pork Sandwich: This sandwich was the star of the show. The smokiness balanced perfectly with the slaw. The pickles and onions went great with it. The only knock on it was the temperature. Just like everything, it was as if it was made 10 minutes before brought to our table.
- More Sliced Brisket (comes with tortillas, pickles, and onions): Good. I liked that it came with extra tortillas. The only problem again was the texture was off, as if it had been sliced at least 10 minutes before we got it.
- Chips and Queso: This was really disappointing. The flavors were deep and complex. The taste was good, but it was just too cold to finish.
- Red Potato Salad: It really liked this. I normally prefer a more mustard heavy potato salad, but this was exceptionally good.
- Smoked Corn: Exact same as the queso. The flavors were exceptional, but the temperature just killed it.
- Guacamole: Bonus on how much was included, but a let down for me personally. in general, it was too creamy and too acidic.
Look, if you are reading this and getting angry, I’m sorry. I realize the weather had a lot to do with it, but the general mood and scenery of a BBQ joint is a big thing to me. Especially, since I travel with my family a lot.
My rating: 3.67 out of 5
My Score: 73.33
Learn more about my rating system on my BBQ Rating page.