Two Brothers Bar B Q in San Antonio

 

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I’ve lived in San antonio for almost five years. Until I read the bar b q article in Texas Monthly I had never heard of Two Brothers Bar B Q. This week I decided I would run by, have a little lunch and do my review thing. I put the address into my phone gps and was amazed the restaurant was very near our home. My truck had been outfitted just up the street. 

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My ignorance has been my loss. Two Brothers puts out  some great bar b q and it’s smoked, old school, in pits. When you first turn off West Avenue you think you are driving into the back of a Mexican joint. Then you see the second series of buildings behind it. The next thing you notice is that you have driven into a giant oak mott.

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It is a beautiful setting. A place where you can dream back hundred years to a time when there might have been an old Mexican cooking at a campfire. He would have been working at a Walker Ranch chuck wagon. That old fellow was probably cooking up a little beef for the boys. They say thats how this bar b q thing started. Hell, it could have been right here under these big old oaks. It’s as good a place as any.  

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The restaurant itself has an entrance that looks like a small ranch house. The only thing that gives it away is the extensive sets of picnic tables and playground equipment in the side yard. The large parking lot is adjacent to the yard. All of this is under that giant oak canopy. To the right side of the building some men were doing a little construction work. I asked what they were building and they said Bocci ball courts. I’ve seen those somewhere before. Salt Lick leads a trend maybe ?

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As you enter the building it still feels like you’re entering a cottage or ranch house. You enter through a medium sized dining room. There is a smaller one in the back that will hold another couple of picnic tables. The distance between the door and the order counter is air conditioned and fairly good sized. They can handle a crowd without that hot waiting line problem.

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I arrived at 12:30 and caught the place fairly full. There was a tiny line and it moved so fast I didn’t have time to figure out the wall menu. I asked about a speciality and couldn’t get a straight answer.

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The young lady wasn’t messing with me, she just did not have one single item she could point to as special. She explained she liked them all. I said, no that’s not what I meant. What do you sell the most of or what are your owners the proudest. Again she named three items. This time three different ones. 

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I noticed the menu said the pork ribs were Baby Backs with a Cherry Glaze. I had to go for that. I ordered two ribs. Then I asked for the brisket and something else I had not seen at other places, an old Memphis favorite, pulled pork. They had some hot pickle slices that were so peppery looking I had to try them. All this and of course bread, beans and slaw. It came to about $20. 

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The ribs had a little after bite from a fairly coarse ground black pepper. They had a nice amount of smoke. They were the meatiest baby backs I have ever seen. They were excellent ribs. There were three kinds of sauce. I don’t think I figured that one out because I got something similar to a vinegar based Memphis sauce but with just a little more fluid than I had expected. Next time I will pour a little out of each of them and then make my selection.

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The pulled pork was ok but I think I messed it up with that sauce. After I put it on it made the meat so wet it didn’t do well on bread, soggy effect. That was an operator error not the restaurant’s. I did try a little meat on a slice of bread with a touch of slaw just to see if I could make a Memphis sandwich. It didn’t work. Too wet. I’ll try again next time.

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The brisket had more fat content than I favor. It even looked a little greasy. But I had learned just a day or two before at City Market to go ahead and try it. I did and was I glad. It was tasty. But I still prefer the leaner more well done versions.

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I added another thicker sauce and wolfed both slices down before you could yell Jumpin’ Jack Flash. I looked around to see what my table mates were having. They were all eating at least a little brisket with some having a plate full. None were complaining.

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All were elbows and napkins after the fatty slabs. Again, I learn on the job. Just because it scares me does not means others are not totally addicted to that style of the product. Apparently, this brisket has it’s fans.

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The slaw was good slaw. Those pickles looked something like Wickel’s Pickels. I bought them at the grocery and they can get really hot. They were great with the “que”. I wouldn’t be surprised to find them at some other places before long. They are an excellent addition to the standard onions and dill hamburger slices. Nice touch. Score an innovation for Two Brothers.

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Now for the beans. They were indeed special. I think they had some small chunks of pork in them similar to but not quite as heavy as Memphis beans. They were not sweet baked like Memphis. They what I call trail camp pinto’s with a heavy dose of coarse ground black pepper. It wasn’t so hot as it was a nice black pepper taste. I really liked the beans. That pepper made them stand out.  Another slap on the back for Two Brothers innovation.

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The dining room was comfortable. It was small enough that you could get in on a lot of “Go Spurs”,  “one last game and five time Champions” conversations. That was the day of the now infamous “Game 6” melt down. Oh well, maybe next year.

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Going out the side door you find a huge dining area under the oaks. A nice little playground complemented the picnic area. Outdoor dining and playground are fenced. Kids can rip and run without getting into the parking lot or traffic. Nice touch here as well. Over by the creek is a long low screened building. Bar B Q fans instinctively recognize the building even before they smell the smoke.

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The heart of any bar b q operation always lies in the back of the house. This one is no different. I peeked in and spoke with the pit master Emilio Soliz and his brother in fire Chris Jerrick. These two were the proud pit master and assistant. It’s always good to see employees who have so much pride in their work.  You know when you see that pride the product is going to be excellent.

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And that my friends is how I would rate Two Brother’s Bar B Q Market……good from the word go. 

John Boykin

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5 thoughts on “Two Brothers Bar B Q in San Antonio

  1. admin Post author

    Thanks for the heads up … I’m in San Antonio every other month – I know where I’m having lunch during my next visit !
    Walt

    Reply
  2. admin Post author

    Jon,

    You’re a better food shooter than I am so why don’t you just go with me and do it while I do the rest ?

    JBB

    Reply
  3. admin Post author

    Enjoy your reports, but I had to look up
    oak mott(e). It was something I don’t think I’ve ever run across.

    How do I subscribe?

    JCM

    Reply
  4. admin Post author

    Johnny,

    Just go to the first of any story and look on the right hand side of the page. There you will see the subscribe blanks to fill in. Just do it.

    JBB

    Reply

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