Vera’s Backyard Bar-B-Que
Signs on the walls of Vera’s extol the merits of apples, burgers, and cookies, which to our mind is akin to an Alamo gift shop lining its walls with decor celebrating the Empire State Building. If you’ve come to this joint, the last in the state allowed to cook its meat in an underground pit, you surely aren’t there for standard Middle American fare. The brisket may not be top-notch, but it’s worth trying when wrapped in a tortilla and topped with salsa verde, and the carnitas are tender and satiating. The real draw, though, is the barbacoa de cabeza; Vera’s serves every part of the cow’s head. Even the least adventurous will enjoy the cheek (cachete), and the more adventurous can try tongue (lengua) and eyes (ojos). How do you like them apples?
Method: Mesquite; underground brick-lined pit
Pitmaster: Armando “Mando” Vera, 61
Pro-tip: Most patrons take their food to go, but we'd advise dining in and chatting with Mando.
Address: 2404 Southmost Blvd, Brownsville, TX
Hours: Fri 6–2, Sat & Sun 5–2:30
Year Opened: 1955
Last updated: May 16, 2013
I’m not here to tell you that I’m an authority on barbacoa. I know enough about it to be dangerous, and I’ve eaten enough of it to know that what I ate at Vera’s was something special. The funny part …