Grant Pinkerton, owner and pitmaster of the eponymous Houston barbecue joint, isn’t trying to run any local barbecue purveyors out of business.
In fact, 2M Smokehouse on the East Side is one of his favorites. He believes Pinkerton’s Barbecue, whose menu goes far beyond the normal Hill Country selection, can join other styles in San Antonio to make a kind of barbecue crawl to accommodate smoked-meat lovers’ taste buds.
Pinkerton’s is getting ready to open its first San Antonio location 11 a.m. Saturday at the Weston Urban park, 107 W. Houston St., under the adjacent Frost Tower.
“When you come here we want you to feel like you’re coming over to our house, but also feel like you’re hanging out in our backyard as well,” Pinkerton said Thursday.
Pinkerton’s will feature indoor and outdoor dining areas, a bar, a pit room that’s visible to eaters, and green space as part of the newly-opened Weston Urban park..
Their smoked meats are all-natural, hormone-free and, for the brisket and other beef selections, prime angus comes from Creekstone Farms Premium Beef in Kansas.
Pinkerton’s offers brisket, beef ribs, candied-style pork ribs, pulled pork, regular or jalapeño sausage, chicken, turkey, and Gulf Coast-influenced items, such as smoked duck and boudin.
Pinkerton’s smokes all of their main-course items on five custom pits that were built by Millscale Metal Works of barbecue mecca Lockhart that cost a total of $160,000.
Sides include jalapeño cheese rice; potato salad; coleslaw; “South Texas beans;” rosemary, bacon, mac and cheese; and duck and sausage jambalaya.
Customers can expect the food to be sold in a la carte just like the legendary places in Lockhart—Smitty’s Market, Kreuz Market and Black’s BBQ—in which customers order by the pound, or slice, bone or link.
The bar menu offers craft cocktails made with high-end bourbons and tequilas, as well as local beers and wines.
Happy hour will be offered throughout the week at the restaurant and their new location will debut a special menu with barbecue-inspired bar eats from 3-6 p.m., that Pinkerton’s couldn’t offer in Houston due to kitchen space. But those days haven’t been determined.
“Our famous happy-hour we are known for in Houston is our $1 beer days, but we haven’t chosen a day for that, yet,” Pinkerton said.
The 5,000-square-foot restaurant was scheduled to make its debut in late-spring 2020, but the pandemic pushed their plans back.
A Houston native, Pinkerton started grilling for his family when he was 12, but never envisioned his cooking techniques would eventually land a business of his on Texas Monthly’s coveted “Top 50 Barbecue Joints in Texas,” which was last released in 2017.
After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin in the late 2000s, Pinkerton returned to Houston and started working at a gym. While working at the gym, Pinkerton was unsure about the next steps in life, but he always had an interest in the barbecue scene.
His manager at the gym felt he belonged in the food industry and offered advice and assistance, which prompted Pinkerton to start serving barbecue from a trailer inside the gym parking lot.
Pinkerton describes the rest as history, and with enough popularity, it allowed him to open up his first brick-and-mortar location at The Heights neighborhood in December 2016.
The restaurant would soon become a staple in Houston and eventually capture the attention of Weston Urban, the San Antonio development company lead by philanthropist Graham Weston.
In November, David Robinson Jr., Weston Urban’s director of parks and recreation, said he envisioned Pinkerton’s as being the park’s anchor.
Pinkerton agreed with Robinson and said he and Robinson are working collaboratively to activate the park with events, and hopes customers will experience a relaxing, home-like atmosphere when they visit.
That include the bar area.
“You can enjoy a game or watch the Spurs or Longhorns play and that is a big part of the experience at Pinkerton’s,” he said. “We want you to sit down with a group of friends and be provided with a great atmosphere, and not just have it about the food.”
Pinkerton’s hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. Closed Monday-Tuesday.
» ‘It was important for us to open the park to people right now’ (Nov. 25, 2020)
» Pinkerton’s Barbecue of Houston to open in Weston Urban park (Jan. 15, 2019)
Rocky Garza Jr. is a freelance journalist in San Antonio. Follow him at @r0ckssss_ on Twitter