Vera’s Backyard Bar-B-Que

Review by: Michael Stern

Brownsville Barbacoa

Around the borderlands of southeast Texas, the term barbacoa means something special. It does not necessarily translate into the familiar smoke-cooked meats of BBQ parlors elsewhere. At Vera’s Backyard Bar-B-Que, it refers specifically to edible parts of a cow’s head. This sort of barbacoa reflects deep-seated culinary tradition. When ranch hands butchered cows, they sent choice cuts to the market to be sold or to the homes of ranch owners. Working cowboys got the heads to take home. Cooks made the most of what they had.

What’s Your Favorite Cut?

At Vera’s one orders cheek, tongue, sweetbreads or eyes. Barbacoa aficionados go for the mixta. That gets you all parts of the head that remain after Vera cuts away the above-mentioned delicacies. The menu recommends mixta as “perfect for someone who’s not afraid of a little grasa!” In Spanish, grasa means grease. Needless to say, none of these items made it onto the menu at Taco Bell. For those who are  squeamish about eating offal, Vera’s serves brisket. The menu describes it as “a true underdog.” Carnitas make another fine alternative to head.

Minimal Menu

Beyond the barbacoa, Vera’s offers only barbacoa companions. You can get a cup of cut-up green onion with or without cilantro. Warm flour tortillas come from a local tortilleria. House-made salsas range from “la Americana,” which they describe as “less than mild” to “la picosa.” The latter contains very-very hot chilies de arbol and habaneros.

Vera’s opens only on weekends: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from early morning until early afternoon.


The menu does not translate all the Spanish food terms into English. However, if you need to know, lengua = tongue, cachete = cheek, mollejas = sweetbreads, paladar = palate, jeta = jawline. And mixta = other edible parts of the head, chopped up.

What To Eat

Vera’s Backyard Bar-B-Que Recipes


What do you think of Vera’s Backyard Bar-B-Que?

2 Responses to “Vera’s Backyard Bar-B-Que”


May 27th, 2022

I absolutely enjoyed the shoe.
Now, to see how far from Wichita Falls 😉
But, the eye’s (as taco’s)🤔
Thanks again!
Your on my list/radar 😊


Kathey Loftis

February 12th, 2022

Great episode! Hoping Misha eventually took cooling shower with the garden hose. All episodes are educational and fun. Thanks so much. Kathey


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