5 San Antonio sandwiches to eat right now: BBQ edition

December 17, 2018

The sandwich is barbecue’s secret weapon. Sure, the big guys get all the attention: slabs of marbled brisket, spicy hot sausage links, pork in all its smoky variations. Then the sandwich comes along and asks the question: What if you combined the best of those things, slapped it all in bread and priced it to move?

In our 52 Weeks of BBQ series this year, my colleague Chuck Blount and I found barbecue sandwiches all over the city that answered the question with style and substance.

This collection of five great barbecue sandwiches includes a mac and cheese monster from Nelson’s BBQ, a bar-friendly brisket grilled cheese from The Pigpen and fat stacks of beef, pork and sausage from Alamo BBQ Co., BBQ Life and Garcia’s Mexican Food.

Keep scrolling for the five barbecue sandwiches you should be eating right now.

Big Tex BBQ Sammich at Alamo BBQ Co.

Chef Jason Dady’s third barbecue outlet (after Two Bros. BBQ Market and B&D Icehouse) opened this year in the former home of his Bin Tapas Bar. The renovated bungalow and its big courtyard are natural settings for barbecue, showcased in the all-in-one Big Tex, a sandwich loaded with sliced brisket, tangy pulled pork and snap-cased link sausage. It’s finished with sweet slaw and barbecue sauce, stacked like a three-meat plate on a bun. ($12.50 with a side) 511 E. Grayson St., 210-994-8099, twobrosbbqmarket.com/alamo-bbq.

The Outlaw at BBQ Life

Chris Ashford of BBQ Life learned the art of jovial excess from his father, Ed Ashford of Ed’s Smok-N-Q. At BBQ Life, that abundance has a name: The Outlaw. The name’s fitting for a sandwich with no respect for the boundaries of a bun, spilling over with chopped-and-sauced brisket and two links of sausage split lengthwise and criss-crossed over the top. Mesquite smoke gives the brisket both bark and bite for a powerful introduction to the full spread of barbecue standards at this former Sonic Drive-In. ($10) 902 S. W.W. White Road, 210-359-1511, Facebook: @Bbbqlifebychris .

Brisket and sausage sandwich at Garcia’s Mexican Food

Garcia’s already makes a perfect plate of enchiladas, but true San Antonians also know this 56-year-old diner for smoked brisket. Whether it’s folded into fresh flour tortillas, spread over nachos or stacked with equally smoky link sausage on a bun with pickles and onions, it’s some of the city’s best brisket, with a dark velvet spice rub and silky fat rivaling shops that specialize in barbecue. ($10.80 with fries) 842 Fredericksburg Road, 210-735-4525, Facebook: Garcia’s Mexican Food .

Nasty Nate at Nelson’s BBQ

Nathaniel Nelson’s macaroni and cheese might be the best barbecue side in San Antonio, cut in thick casserole blocks with a sunspot top layer of broiled cheese. Working on a flat-top grill in a food truck parked outside a North Side tattoo parlor, Nelson piles that mac and cheese on Texas toast with lush smoked brisket to create the Nasty Nate. The truck’s open for a few hours just three days a week, but it’s worth chasing down for this sandwich, along with full pork spare ribs and spicy handmade sausage. ($8.99) 7327 N. Loop 1604 W., 210-473-4988, Facebook: @NathanielNelsonsbbq .

Brisket grilled cheese at The Pigpen

The Pigpen is the boozy little brother of the respected Smoke Shack barbecue joint next door. With a honky-tonk stage and bars both inside and outside, The Pigpen shines brightest under the stringlights of a big courtyard out back, where a food truck feeds the masses with wings, nachos, sliders, tacos and the sandwich that helped put Smoke Shack on the barbecue map: brisket grilled cheese. Melted American cheese holds together a loose chop of smoky brisket with a good balance of fat, lean and bark that goes especially well alongside a bloody mary spiked with sliced brisket. ($8.31 with fries or onion rings) 106 Pershing Ave, behind Smoke Shack, 210-267-9136, thepigpensa.com.

Mike Sutter is a food and drink reporter and restaurant critic in the San Antonio and Bexar County area. Read more of his stories on our free site, mySA.com, and on our subscriber site, ExpressNews.com. | msutter@express-news.net | Twitter: @fedmanwalking | Instagram: @fedmanwalking

Update hourly