Texans can’t get seem to get enough barbecue. We discuss it, we debate it, we celebrate it and, oh my, do we love eating it. But as much as we love this flavorful gift from the gods of fire and smoke, we have to admit that not all barbecue is created equal.
Everyone has their own definition of what makes perfect barbecue. You’ll hear about the smoke rings, char, bark and more as debaters discuss barbeque techniques and trends. But barbeque is not a trend, it’s a way of life. And at Seguin’s Davila’s BBQ, that way of life has delivered fantastic flavors for 60 years.
Considering today’s barbecue hype, it’s easy for places to come and go, so somewhere that’s been in business since 1959 stands out from the pack. But it’s more than just longevity that makes Davila’s a spot to add to your must-taste flavor list. What started as a family business in an old, abandoned schoolhouse in Seguin has been nationally recognized as one of the top barbecue places in Texas. Third generation pitmaster Adrian Davila now leads the restaurant, following in his father and grandfather’s footsteps and continuing the flavor tradition with passed down family recipes. That means that every bite makes you feel like family, though you want it to be a small family because you really don’t want to share.
The flavors you’ll enjoy at Davila’s celebrate traditions of Latin America and Texas, taking inspiration from the former vaquero lifestyle of the Davila family, infusing classic brisket, ribs and sausage with Latin flavors and ingredients. Adrian researched, documented and shared the family story and some treasured family recipes in his cookbook, “Cowboy Barbecue,” a great read which has been featured on The Today Show and in The Washington Post. Adrian’s also been featured on the Food Network. And digging into a tray of Davila’s BBQ leaves no doubt as to why.
Davila’s covers all of the barbecue bases, offering brisket and ribs you’ll love. The brisket is moist and full of flavor and the ribs definitely don’t disappoint. Don’t stop at just the pork ribs: Davila’s offers lamb ribs, too, and they’re terrific. Another don’t miss: Davila’s sausage, all-beef and made in-house just like the first generation pitmaster Raul did. The links are listed as legendary and one tasty bite confirms why. Definitely add some links to whatever you order. Davila’s offers beef brisket, pork ribs, lamb ribs, southern fried catfish, turkey breast or ham by the pound, allowing you to customize your order—and everything comes with pickles, onions, sauce and bread. If your appetite is smaller, traditional plates are also available.
Barbecue is the star of the show at Davila’s, but if you jump into the barbecue without checking out the rest of the menu, you’ll miss out on so much flavor. There’s fried fish and burgers, or a true standout: brisket tacos. Davila’s fantastic brisket lovingly wrapped in warm tortillas with fresh pico de gallo and slices of avocado on top? These tacos deserve their own standing ovation.
For another dish that features that unmistakable barbecue flavor with a twist, try an appetizer of Frito Pie, topped with chopped beef and sausage. It’s piled high, making it a true entrée, but one taste of the barbecue on the pie and you’ll be ready to dig into more barbecue. Another must is the Matador Nachos, named for Seguin High School’s mascot. The nachos are full of flavor and piled higher than should be allowed, of course featuring Davila’s signature barbecue. The nachos are great for sharing because Davila’s firmly believes in “Go big or go home,” or in our case, “Go big and take home leftovers.” And yes, they’re just as awesome the next day.
With all of the flavor packed into Davila’s barbecue, it would be easy for them to skimp on the sides. But your taste buds will be relieved to discover that Davila’s flavor traditions extend to the sides too, including the best green beans I’ve ever tasted. Leave it to slabs of bacon, onions and tomatoes to make boring legumes something you’ll fight over. Or creamed corn with flakes of pepper floating in the cream, giving it a sweet bite. Or the mac n’ cheese … I could go on, but really, just don’t miss out.
Sixty years of flavor from three generations of pitmasters? Considering that Father’s Day is around the corner, there’s no better way to enjoy a day with dad than stopping in for meal at Davila’s BBQ, where you shouldn’t be surprised to find Adrian and his father, Edward, working together. If you’re ready to dive into the meat mania at Davila’s BBQ, add a road trip to Seguin to your calendar and be sure to arrive hungry. You’ll know you’re in the right spot when the smell of meat fills the air and your stomach steers you into Davila’s. If you can’t wait to make the drive, you can order online to have it delivered by mail, but you might not want to trust this much flavor in your mailbox. After all, you don’t want to have to share with your mail carrier, do you?!?
Cover: Everything you could ever want in a barbecue tray, served up with perfect sides. Photo Julia Keim
Dawn Robinette is an award-winning writer and communications expert based in San Antonio who enjoys finding new discoveries, revisiting old favorites and telling stories. Selected as a local expert by the San Antonio River Walk Association, she regularly writes for San Antonio Woman and Rio Magazine. You can also read more of her work at Alamo City Moms Blog.