Explore the Coastal Texas Barbecue Trail!
Barbecue in Texas’ Coastal Bend is about more than just the perfect brisket. It’s about the history behind the barbecue: the story starts with the tens of thousands of cattle raised at the Presidio La Bahia hundreds of years ago and runs through the present multi-generational barbecue joints. It’s also about the experience customers have and the interactions with the characters that cook the barbecue. The Coastal Texas Barbecue Trail lets you experience a true Texas culinary story.
Aunt Jo’s BBQ
Part of the charm of eating Aunt Jo’s barbecue is the experience. Monroe Joshua and Vic Salinas started Aunt Jo’s with property purchased from their mother, Aunt Josephine. The land came into the family from Tom Joshua, a freed slave who amassed 5,000+ acres of South Texas land during a time when former-slaves didn’t – or shouldn’t – own anything.
Aunt Jo’s is housed in a restored 1920s family grocery store. Dining is entirely outdoors at picnic tables, so you can feel the history as you look around the property. The business’ mascot, a painted statue of a pig, welcomes you at the front of the property and is a popular photo-op for diners.
The barbecue started as a way to feed the ranch cowboys during roundups but the family quickly saw it as a chance to share their recipe with the public. Cooking primarily with mesquite felled right on property, their thick, slow cooked brisket has a flavor of its own. Their sauce is widely known for its unique, sweet flavor with just a hint of pepper.
Although known for their barbecue, Aunt Jo’s has spectacular side dishes and desserts. Their potato salad is a favorite side. Dessert options rotate, but the mini pecan pie and peach cobbler are amazing!
Quality Packers Smokehouse
QP Smokehouse is a family-owned business that began forty years ago as Quality Packers – a meat processor supplying meats wholesale to the grocers and restaurants around the Victoria region.
In 1968, years before the processing business opened, Lupe’s great grandfather attended the 1968 World’s Fair in San Antonio. There he purchased a revolutionary rotisserie barbecue pit – one of only six ever made. Lupe’s great grandfather eventually sold the pit to Tomas, Lupe’s grandfather, who in turn began Quality Packers Smokehouse – the restaurant side of their business. Now a fifth generation family-operated barbecue, QP’s still uses the unique cooker purchased almost fifty years ago.
You can taste the special cooking style in their beef brisket. It’s a fantastic, evenly, slow-cooked rack that has a unique consistency throughout and flavoring from their mix of mesquite, oak and pecan woods.
Don’t forget the sides, especially the German potatoes. For dessert, try one of the homemade cobblers!
For more information on the trail and how you can experience the Coastal Texas barbecue story, check out CoastalTexasBBQ.com