I just spent the good part of an afternoon with Tanya Ollerbidez, at The Smokehouse in San Antonio. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to be sure that I’m not dreaming about this awesome job I have. Could it be considered “work” when I sit and chat with restaurant owners for a while, sample their great food and then have the privilege of telling their stories to all of you? This ain’t bad!
The meteoric success of this little smokehouse is definitely a story worth telling. In 2004, Tanya’s enterprising father heard of the availability of this BBQ location and grabbed the opportunity — provided Tanya was available to bring her extensive restaurant experience to manage it. Within four short years (with long work days), The Smokehouse was noted by Texas Monthly Magazine as one of the “Top 50 BBQ Joints in Texas”. By that time, they’d also received numerous other accolades including, “The Critics Choice Award for Top BBQ” and “Best BBQ” by San Antonio Magazine.
Tanya says the secret lies in that 40′ indoor pit you’ll see when you place your order. Larry James (a 40 yr smokin’ veteran), rubs their meats with a special mix that only they know about and then smoke each piece for 24 hours in Mesquite. The result — BBQ magic.
Their extensive menu includes the traditional chicken, short ribs, spare ribs, turkey breast, sausage and brisket. However, they also smoke huge turkey legs and lamb ribs daily. Everything I tasted was great. The rib meat fell off the bone, the smoked turkey leg was awesome and the chopped burger (brisket) was a sauce lover’s fantasy come true. However, I woke up this morning thinking one word — BRISKET!!!
I’m talking about pure undefiled sliced BRISKET. Do I dare say it? Don’t even put the sauce on it ’til you’ve taken your first bite. The secret rub and the mesquite flavor are outstanding on their own. Cast your sauce vote after savoring a bite or two.
All sides are made fresh every day and I’m throwin’ in my hat for the Spanish rice. LOVE IT.
Conveniently located near the AT & T Center, once you’ve discovered The Smokehouse you’ll want to pop on by before a SPURS game or on your way to the next big event.