I’m gonna talk about the B-word. Not that one–the barbacoa one. Yup, that slow-cooked perfectly seasoned filling for tacos and burritos. If you’ve ever had the best barbacoa in San Antonio, then you’re probably drooling already. If you’ve never had it, then there might be something wrong with you, especially if you live in San Antonio.
What is Barbacoa?
Traditional Mexican barbacoa is.. (prepare yourself) ground up cattle head meat. You know, the cheeks and any meat from the head. This meat is high in fat (collagen), which is why barbacoa has it’s robust, rich flavor. Traditionally, barbacoa is slow-cooked in an in-ground stove but locally- I can’t say how they cook it. Either way, it’s really good.
Barbacoa is usually served in breakfast tacos with cilantro and lime juice- but it’s so popular here that we actually buy it at the store and cook our own at home.
The Absolute Best Barbacoa in San Antonio
There are some fantastic spots around San Antonio to sit down and eat some delicious barbacoa. Or if you’re on the run, there are awesome take-out joints. Whether you’re in a rush or have leisure time, San Antonio has all the best spots for barbacoa. San Antonians love it so much, we even have a festival for it.
I’ve done you a favor, mainly because I’m hungry and wanted to think of food, and made up a list of the best barbacoa in San Antonio.
Taco Taco Cafe
Taco Taco Cafe is in uptown San Antonio and serves fine Mexican cuisine. And not to brag too much, but Taco Taco Cafe has been named by Bon Appetit on the Food Network as, “The best taco’s in America.” Guy Fieri even came to visit and featured Taco Taco Cafe. Taco Taco Cafe has also won many other awards that you can see on their website. Needless to say, Taco Taco Cafe is an absolute must.
El Milagrito Cafe
The place if you’re looking for a delicious breakfast. Who said you can’t have Barbacoa for breakfast? You can have it any time of day at this cafe. Make sure you order some extra corn or flour tortillas as they are homemade here. And their salsas–you have to try them. If you need a mild version, try the orange. But if you’re into spice, sample the green salsa. It’s delicious on top of the slow-cooked barbacoa meat.
Los Arcos Mexican Grill
If you’re looking for barbacoa for an inexpensive price, this is where you need to go. Where else can you get a pound of barbacoa for your family take-out night for less than $13? And it’s not just the meat, but everything to go along with it–tortillas, salsa, beans. And if you meet your friends there during the week, you should get some hot soup to go with your barbacoa. Yum. We’re getting hungry.
Calling all food truck lovers. The best part about this food truck is they are open until 4:00 am. Perfect for those college students staying up until the wee hours of the morning doing homework and getting hungry. Also, you can call in orders. What? Not only do you get quick, friendly service, but you can even pick up your delicious barbacoa tacos to go at this food truck.
Mimi’s Barbacoa and Tamales y Mas
Get treated with family respect at this barbacoa joint. No one wants to get affordable, delicious barbacoa, but be treated like crap at the same time. You won’t find that here. The customer service is excellent, and their barbacoa has little grease and tons of meat. And if you’ve never had barbacoa before, the staff will help you find exactly what you want with friendliness. You’ll feel welcomed and at home right as you walk through the door to purchase their barbacoa.
Coffee and Barbacoa? How much better can it get? They are famous for their horchata latte. But we’re not here to talk about coffee, though we do love it. Barrio Barista is a perfect place to meet with friends or to study. But meetings and studying are so much better with barbacoa tacos or the famous barbacoa grilled cheese. You’ll be able to conquer any final with barbacoa in your belly.
Rios Barbacoa is also a great place to get good barbacoa. Rios has great reviews on Google and is especially great for breakfast with their drive-thru. Rios is only open Saturday and Sundays and they can sell out- so make sure to call them before heading that way.
Barbacoa and Big Red Festival
This festival is said to be one of San Antonio’s largest food festivals. San Antonio’s best barbacoa restaurants gather at this festival to compete for who makes the best barbacoa in the area. It’s such a big festival that it’s been moved to the 43 acres at The Greenline at Live Brooks this year. 2019 will be the ninth edition of this incredible festival. So if you want to try, test, and compare all different kinds of barbacoa, you’ll want to check out this festival in May.
Ruthie’s Mexican Restaurant
If you’re looking for a tender barbacoa burrito, you’re in for a treat at Ruthie’s. Don’t let the lines send you off in another direction. It just proves our point, that they make incredible barbacoa, salsa, and homemade tortillas that people love. People around San Antonio grow up going to Ruthie’s and never switch to another restaurant. Maybe the same thing will happen to you if you try out their barbacoa plate next time you’re hungry.
Tellez Tamales and Barbacoa
There’s nothing like Big Red and Barbacoa during the middle of a long week. Open Wednesdays only, Tellez Tamales and Barbacoa has Tamale eating contests, Big Red drinks, a fun staff, and seriously some of the best Barbacoa and Tamales in Texas. You will have to wait in line and be there on a Wednesday, but I promise it’s worth it.
Pete’s Tako House
Amazing Tex-Mex, fresh ingredients, reasonable prices. You’ll find all this and more at Pete’s. People around San Antonio and visitors from around the US rave about this place. Probably also cause it’s close to downtown San Antonio and has a large enough parking lot for all the people wanting the incredible barbacoa. Get in line quick for some barbacoa tacos and queso. And maybe a margarita or two.
If you want the best barbacoa in San Antonio, you now know where to go. All of these places. Seriously. If you get breakfast or lunch out every day, you have plent of choices (just make sure they are open when you want to go).
San Antonio is a neat place to live; we have to admit. Not only do we have great barbacoa here (but you know that already), but there’s so much more like awesome coffee places, great toy stores, and amazing things to do.