Aunt Jo's BBQ
It all started with …
Tom Joshua was a freed slave who amassed 5,000+ acres of South Texas land during a time when former-slaves didn’t own anything. His hard work, including harvesting timber as fuel for the nearby power station, is a heroic example of rags-to-riches as he wisely invested in land and buildings. That property is where Aunt Jo’s BBQ, along with numerous buildings in various states of repair including the school Tom built exclusively for educating black children, sits today.
Monroe Joshua and Vic Salinas purchased the property from their mother, Aunt Josephine, and by 2007 had restored the family’s 1920s grocery store into what is now Aunt Jo’s BBQ. The surrounding estate is filled with rustic buildings and quaint items; dining is entirely outdoors at picnic tables and under old covered patios. The business’ mascot, a painted statue of a pig, has a prominent location at the front of the property and is a popular photo-op for diners.
The barbecue started as a way to feed the ranch cowboys during roundups but the family quickly saw it as a chance to share their recipe with the public. Cooking primarily with mesquite felled right on property, their thick, slow cooked brisket has a flavor of its own. Their sauce is widely known for its unique, sweet flavor with just a hint of pepper and it’s the perfect accent to the pork or beef.
In addition to the main course, Aunt Jo’s has spectacular side dishes and desserts. Their potato salad is a perennial favorite and is the right mix to go with their meats. Dessert options change, but if available their Mini Pecan Pie or Peach Cobbler is amazing.