South Texas barbecue takes its lead from Mexico, incorporating flavors and techniques from south of the border. The defining dish in this area is beef barbacoa, traditionally whole cow head wrapped in maguey leaves or foil and cooked overnight in an underground pit filled with hot coals. The fall-apart tender meat is then served in tortillas or simply on a plate, covered in cilantro, onions and salsa. Real pit cooking is rare these days due to Health Department regulations, but tiny, family-run Vera’s Backyard Bar-B-Que is one of the few establishments whose pits were grandfathered in. There, customers find tender mesquite-smoked barbacoa by the pound, along with homemade salsa and tortillas, but plan ahead—Vera’s is only open on weekends.