Pinkerton’s Barbecue (San Antonio)
Pinkerton’s feast for the senses begins as you approach the massive farmhouse-style building that’s home to the San Antonio satellite of Grant Pinkerton’s original Houston joint. You smell the smoke first, of course, and then you see pile upon pile of neatly stacked wood. Next comes the music: strains of the Texas Tornados’ “(Hey Baby) Que Paso” greeted us as we joined a long line of diners. By the time we made our way inside, our taste buds were primed. They were rewarded with decadently glazed “candy paint” pork ribs, snappy jalapeño-cheese sausage, and brisket that disappeared so quickly we regretted ordering only half a pound. A classic mustard potato salad and a lightly sauced red-cabbage slaw rounded out the tray, along with a divine smoked bread pudding (if it had any smoke, we couldn’t detect it). The hunting lodge–like dining room, replete with a full bar, and the festive outdoor eating area made the whole experience feel like a party you don’t want to end.
City: San Antonio
Method: Mesquite and post oak; offset smoker
Pitmaster: Grant Pinkerton, 32
Pro-tip: Order a serving of the duck-and-sausage jambalaya and a link of boudin for a little Louisiana flavor.