SAN ANTONIO — “Any discussion of who has the best barbeque in San Antonio begins with Pinkerton’s Smokehouse,” said Alamo City native Jeff Long, the Assistant General Manager of the Missions when asked where he would recommend for the best brisket.

“That’s also where all the discussion ends on who has the best barbeque in San Antonio.”

We took Jeff’s advice and headed over to Pinkerton’s and we were ready to eat.  We ordered a pound of brisket, jalapeno sausage links, turkey, potato salad, jalapeno cheese rice and mac ’n cheese with brisket over it.

The Brisket Sampler at Pinkerton’s. (Photo: MadFriars)

On Jeff’s advice, we got the brisket moist – and of course, white bread – and the sausage links and turkey were every bit as good as the renowned brisket, and much harder to find in other barbeque places throughout the country.  

The Mac ’N Cheese is fantastic, but you can only eat that every few months.  The big surprise was the Jalapeno Cheese Rice – also fantastic.

And in the end, despite how delicious the food was we couldn’t finish.  Pinkerton’s kicked our butts.

[Note: I’m 6-foot-3, 225 and Mark Wilkens is 6-foot-8, 300 – so it’s a big plate].


A great dish of chilaquiles in downtown San Antonio. (Photo: MadFriars)

Our hotel was downtown and a great stop for breakfast or lunch and I cannot recommend the Original Blanco Cafe highly enough.  I had the Chilaquiles plate on the first stop and came back a second time for breakfast tacos.  Homemade tortillas, fresh ingredients and a staff that prefers communicating in Spanish as compared to English make an ideal Mexican food experience.


You can’t leave San Antonio, no matter how many breakfast tacos you consume, without getting chicken-fried steak.  Again, we relied on Jeff and went to De Wese’s Tip Top Cafe, said we didn’t need to see a menu and dove into what we came for.

The “child’s portion” is the closest one. (Photo: MadFriars)

I had a bigger breakfast than Mark, so I took I got the child’s portion.  This is fine if your 13-year old is Shaquille O’Neil.  

The meal is prepared the old-fashioned way, cream gravy with a lot of pepper over a pounded thin piece of cube steak and coated with just the right amount of breading.  


The oldest restaurant in San Antonio is a German deli, Schilo’s which has been around since 1917  – and is very close to the Alamo.  A large part of Texas cuisine from the sausage in the barbeque to the chicken fried steak is influenced by early German settlers in the Texas Hill Country, particularly Fredericksburg which has some great German restaurants.

After the massive chicken-fried steak from the other night, went for an outstanding Reuben sandwich, as opposed to the Weiner Schnitzel.  They also make their own beer and root beer – both non-alcoholic and alcoholic.


Posted by John Conniff

John grew up in Poway and has written for MadFriars since 2004. He has written articles for Baseball America, FoxSports San Diego, the El Paso Times, San Antonio Express-News, Amarillo Globe-News, Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette and Pacific Daily News in addition to appearing on numerous radio programs and podcasts. He can also break down the best places to eat for all five of the affiliates. There is no best place to eat in Peoria, Arizona.

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