Authentic Mexican barbacoa isn’t cooked so much as it’s excavated. Ranchers used to bury whole beef heads with hot coals overnight and unearth tender, smoky meat the next morning. While this technique has largely been phased out due to modern food regulations, Brownsville is home to the “last bastion” of barbacoa: Vera’s Backyard Bar-B-Que.
Two years ago, the now-67-year-old restaurant was recognized with the America’s Classics award from the prestigious James Beard Foundation. But modest smokehouse in South Texas stays close to its roots. Second-generation chef Armando Vera continues the tradition his father started back in 1955, as seen in the latest dispatch from Texas Country Reporter.