“My food isn’t full-blown Mexican, but it definitely has Mexican flair to it,” says Esaul Ramos, the pitmaster and owner of San Antonio’s 2M Smokehouse. Ramos is referring to 2M’s staple homemade sausage that’s infused with Oaxacan cheese, and the smokehouse’s barbacoa — only available the first Sunday of every month and a dish Ramos was admittedly nervous to offer to a city devoted to it.
Growing up in San Antonio, Ramos was also surrounded by traditional Texas barbecue and feels his version of barbacoa is the best way to celebrate his Mexican and Texas identities. “Barbacoa does help me bring out those influences that i grew up with it, it brings out my heritage in central Texas-style bbq,” says Ramos, who started his barbecue career by working the pit at Austin’s famed La Barbecue. “I grew up in this city and it means everything to me, and to be able to contribute to it in this way is phenomenal.”