Authored by Joe Zavala, Owner of BBQ Distro and Owner/Pitmatser of Zavala's Barbecue.
Thank you to the OG in Barbecue
During my valley trip I got so lucky to meet one of the OGs in Barbecue. This place has so much history and is deeply rooted in their community. People were coming in to eat and the owner was calling out their orders, just by recognizing their cars. Every person that walked in, was greeted by him personally. People smiled as they talked to him, and were deeply engaged in the conversation. This place has been open for over 60 years and you can feel it just watching these interactions. I was so lucky to eat his barbacoa, because there is nowhere else in the US to get it this way! It’s still cooked in the ground. He gave me the full tour, and I couldn’t stop smiling. The community and family vibe is what every restaurant strives to achieve. For example, they have not had a store sign for over two months because a storm took it down. Guess what?! Doesn’t matter because the parking lot was full and the drive through line was 6 cars deep!!!!
Go See Mando!
I was truly honored to have a conversation with Mando from Vera Backyard BBQ. Oh yeah guess what? He has won a James Beard Award and been in the Texas Monthly Top 50 many times! Mando was the nicest person that I have ever met. Mando, thank you for making me feel so special and part of your family. You will never know how much meeting you meant to me! If you are in the Valley you need to go to Vera in Brownsville.