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Archive | April 23rd, 2010

McBee’s Barbecue: Worth a Short Drive South

McBee’s Barbecue: Worth a Short Drive South

In Pleasanton, it's McBee's, meat and mesquite.

Last week’s much needed (but untimely) rain meant my plans to my take my mom out to dine under the stars changed.

So, because we were going to visit Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard, near Elmendorf, we decided to take a short detour to Pleasanton on our trip home.

McBee’s Barbecue had been recommended to me a number of times, but I’d just never made the trip. I’m pretty sure I’ll go back, though.

The place, not much more than a shack, had the right patina of smoke, grimy signs, flash of neon and more smoke from the brick pits next to the restaurant. In the steady, gray rain that smoke seemed like a promise.

We sat down to a platter of meat that was far too much for two women, even two women with very healthy appetites. Much of it was packed and taken home to my husband, who hadn’t been able to make the trip.

So, we had sausage, sliced brisket, and pork ribs. The ribs were a cut well above average.  (There used to be another barbecue joint on Austin Highway that we hit just right one time, that had the best-ever pork ribs ever, at least in the San Antonio area.)

Good ribs can almost bring a tear to the eye. There is that fresh crackle from the fat, while the thin layer of meat close to the rib is  tender and suffused with smokey flavor. McBee’s uses mesquite, which isn’t always the first choice of pit smokers. But it sure works for McBee’s.

The brisket was good, with a thick, blackened crust from the hot fire keeping the inside moist. The sausage was your basic country sausage, salty and porky and very good. The barbecue sauce was a less-sweet version, which I always appreciate, even though I don’t use much of it.

The sign says it all

We stuck with simple side dishes, a good potato salad, pinto beans, some very tender, baked cheesy potatoes (I recommend you get these if you just have to have potatoes).  We downed our barbecue with the requisite sliced dills, onions and white bread on the side. Cold A&W Root Beer was the drink of choice, but there was also plenty of Big Red in the cooler.

We couldn’t face dessert, though it was offered. We left with our take-out and drove over to Poteet. Too bad, we’d missed the strawberry fest by a week, and didn’t see anyone selling fresh berries roadside. It would have been a nice ending to a rewarding day trip south.

McBee’s Barbecue
309 2nd St.
Pleasanton
(830) 569-2602

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NIOSA Recipe: Insane About Anticuchos

NIOSA Recipe: Insane About Anticuchos

Gilbert Mancha grills anticuchos.

If you miss the anticuchos booth at NIOSA, you’ve almost missed NIOSA.

This grilled beef on a stick  is a wildly popular, if not the most popular, food served at A Night In Old San Antonio, which ends this evening.  Some 20,000 servings are sold each year, according to NIOSA sources. Anticuchos are sold in the Mexican Market area.

To make at home, you need to start 18 hours ahead to get the succulent sirloin well marinated. Then, prepare for spicy, meaty bliss. Me, I’d serve anticuchos with homemade french fries and a dipping sauce of chipotle mayonnaise.

Anticuchos

3 pounds sirloin, cut in 1-inch cubes

Marinade:
3 parts water
1 part red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2-3 serrano chiles, ground up in blender

Cut meat and put it in a large bowl. Refrigerate until you have made the marinade.

For the Marinade: Put all marinade ingredients in blender.  Blend well.  Pour marinade over meat, setting some aside to use for basting).  Cover meat with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Let meat marinate for at least 18 hrs, and up to 3 days.

When it’s time to serve, skewer the meat. (If skewers are wooden, soak them in water for 30 minutes to prevent burning.) Discard marinade that had raw meat in it.

Cook meat over hot charcoal fire.  Baste with reserved marinade.

Note: If desired, you can add bacon drippings to the marinade while you are cooking it.

Makes about 6 servings.

Adapted from NIOSA recipe

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