San Antonio: Going out with a BBQ bang
After a great night’s sleep at the Hotel Havana San Antonio, we woke up rested and ready to spend our last day of the trip exploring the city.
A quick stroll through downtown San Antonio led us to the famed Alamo. It’s right downtown! Founded in 1718 as a central station between Texas and Mexico, this iconic structure was the site of a game-changing battle in Texas’s fight for independence in 1836. We were excited to explore the history here and see the inside in person. Since no photography is allowed inside, it was almost like a secret of history was being revealed before us.
Before we headed to lunch, we decided to check out The Tower of the Americas. It wasn’t far from the Alamo and the view of San Antonio from the top was a great way to get our bearings and see the wide expanse of what had seemed like a small town. One of our friends remarked outside of it “It’s like a giant hair dryer”! (The Texas wind can get very gusty on a clear day.)
Today’s BBQ spotlight
Texas Pride Barbecue, San Antonio (www.texaspridebbq.net)
If Central Texas is the heart of Texas BBQ country, then Texas Pride Barbecue just might be its cultural headquarters.
We met up with local BBQ lovers and authors John Griffin and Bonnie Walker at this “culinary compound” as it’s been called. It was a treat when they called the owner, Tony, over to our table. He told us how he opened Texas Pride 18 years ago out of his family’s love for food and also told us how his BBQ has evolved from the traditional smoked BBQ to gas-smoked. It’s a great example of how they are keeping up with the times but they are also staying true to the flavors their customers love.
Our group shared the Hungry Texan—brisket, ribs and sausage—and a specialty of the house, the loaded baked potato (a meal in itself stuffed with brisket and aged cheddar). Our friends from Korea enjoyed the relaxed ordering process (back home, they are accustomed to ordering all courses at once and forgoing any wait service until the food is served), and the unique atmosphere of Texas Pride.
P.S. We can’t wait for John and Bonnie’s book release in July, “The BBQ Lovers Guide to Texas.” Sneak preview: their research has taken them to dining at over 400 BBQ joints across Texas.
Our last stop of the trip was to experience a real Texas Rodeo outside of San Antonio. We left just before sunset we drove out to the Tejas Rodeo, which is a small town rodeo (with live music and food after the rodeo) that happens every Saturday night. We watched professional bull riders try to get the best score, which means staying on a bucking bull for more than 8 seconds. Then after the last ride, we joined all the families and hit the dance floor (they call it a “hoedown” here in Texas). What a way to end our trip!
Well folks, we’ve come to the end of the Trail. To our new crew of friends, all the eateries and the Texas open road, it’s been an amazing (and tasty!) ride.