Have smoke, will travel

Acclaimed Houston pitmaster fires up second barbecue joint in San Antonio

Hot Houston pitmaster fires up second barbecue joint in San Antonio

Pinkerton's BBQ sandwich
The San Antonio location of Pinkerton's BBQ will fill appetites with barbecue sandwiches, smoked meats, sides, and more. Pinkerton's BBQ/ Facebook

One of Houston’s — and Texas’ — most acclaimed barbecue joints is headed west. Pitmaster Grant Pinkerton tells CultureMap that a second outpost of Pinkerton’s BBQ will be arriving in San Antonio sometime in 2020.

Since opening in 2016, the Houston barbecue joint has been a runaway success. In June 2017, Pinkerton’s nabbed a spot as one of Texas Monthly’s coveted Top 50 Barbecue Joints in Texas. Later that year, the young entrepreneur became the first pitmaster to be recognized on Forbes 30 Under 30 List.

Located on the corner of Houston and Flores streets across from the Frost Tower, the San Antonio location will follow the same successful formula as the Houston outpost. Pinkerton says the menu be similar to the original with meats like prime brisket, beef ribs, pulled pork, sausage, and turkey slowly smoked over post oak and sun-dried mesquite.

Sides like jalapeño cheese rice, potato salad, mac ’n’ cheese, and duck jambalaya are all made from family recipes. So are the sweets, which move beyond the expected banana pudding to homespun treats like a blueberry cobbler, banana cake, and cinnamon oatmeal cookies. Pinkerton says he is considering introducing a few new dishes for happy hour.

For the pitmaster, one of the most exciting things about the San Antonio project is that he gets to build it from the ground up instead of retrofitting an existing building. The roomier space will allow the restaurant to expand its bar program. Pinkerton says he will be bringing in more Texas spirits and hard-to-find whiskies and tequilas from smaller American craft distillers.

The more than one-acre park that is being constructed will also allow Pinkerton to accommodate a large outdoor dining space. “There [are] not many times when you get to open a downtown restaurant with green space,” he says.

The pitmaster cautions that the 2020 date is tentative. “You never quite know what will happen,” he says, noting that the project is still in the architectural draft phase.

But he is looking forward to joining the booming Alamo City food scene. “[San Antonio] has an awesome culture and a strong identity,” he says, “there’s a lot of cool stuff going on now and in the future.”