Hot Spot BBQ

2334 N St Mary's St.
San Antonio, TX 78212

Phone: (210) 736-2625
Hours: M-Sat 11-7
Website: hotspotbarbeque.com

Opened 2011 (Originally Open 2003-2009)
Pitmaster Rochelle Arsate
Method Oak in an indirect heat pit

TMBBQ Rating: 3.5

TMBBQ Buzz

Comments from our joint finder app.
Better than the TM rating would suggest
Stephen McHaney @ Smitty’s Market, 2014-10-01 04:19:24
Nice
Stephen McHaney @ Hard Eight Pit Bar-B-Q, 2014-10-01 04:18:53
Not that great
Stephen McHaney @ Mumphord’s Place, 2014-10-01 04:18:19
Worth the trip to find it. Almost a time machine
Stephen McHaney @ Whup’s Boomerang Bar-B-Que, 2014-10-01 04:17:07
These are my favorite ribs
Stephen McHaney @ City Market, 2014-10-01 04:16:22
Smithsonian cooker. His is more proud of his meat than he should be, good but not that good
Stephen McHaney @ McMillan’s Bar-B-Q, 2014-10-01 04:15:49
Nice place
Stephen McHaney @ Miller’s Smokehouse, 2014-10-01 04:14:34
One of the must stops
Stephen McHaney @ Black’s Barbecue, 2014-10-01 04:14:08
More Buzz →

Review

Hot Spot BBQ 01

May 6, 2014

I was looking for a jerk chicken restaurant just south of the Trinity University campus in San Antonio when I drove past a brightly painted converted service station. I hadn’t planned on visiting Hot Spot BBQ that day, but when the jerk chicken shack was locked down tight, I made a U-turn.

Hot Spot BBQ 02

Rochelle Arsate in front of her pit

Owner Rochelle Arsate took my order through a screen-covered window on the side of the building. The pork ribs wouldn’t be ready for another hour, and the cabrito not for another week. It’s so expensive to purchase a whole cabrito (young goat), that it must be special ordered, and Arsate would be happy to cook one for you. She cooks everything else here.

Hot Spot BBQ 05

Lamb rib meat taco

Oak smoke bellowed from the pit room behind the picnic table where I watched Arsate take out a brisket and a rack of lamb ribs (available only by the rack for $16) for my lunch. The lamb ribs were so tender that eating them individually as you would pork ribs wasn’t working well. Stripping a layer of meat off the bones and wrapping chunks of it into homemade flour tortillas with a little pico de gallo was a better option anyway. That’s one thing that just doesn’t come together the same on white bread.

Hot Spot BBQ 07

Lean brisket from the first visit

The brisket was tender too, maybe a little too tender. The peppery rub and smoky, crunchy crust provided great flavor and a nice layer of tender fat was left along each slice. A stiff breeze dried the slices out and they broke apart too easily, but they were still enjoyable. The beef short ribs could have used some of that tenderness. They looked the part with a deep red smoke ring, but the meat served off the bone and already sliced was just undercooked.

Hot Spot BBQ 04

Beef short ribs

On another visit the brisket was about the same – great flavor, but it dried out quickly. Eat it first when you visit. This time the pork ribs were ready. A ruddy bark studded with black pepper coated the large spare ribs, and they were smoky, moist, and tender. The quarter chicken was just as successful with moist meat and crispy skin. It just needed a few shakes of salt to liven it up. Or, did I mention the tortillas and pico de gallo? They can fix just about any meat wrapped up inside.

Hot Spot BBQ 08

Brisket and pork ribs

Hot Spot BBQ 09

Smoked chicken

A lusciously moist serving of pulled pork didn’t need any help. It was the best item on either visit. Large chunks of smoky pork were coated in a black pepper rub. Arsate told me she pulled it to order to keep it juicy, and the extra effort was worth it. This item alone makes this a destination worth seeking out in San Antonio.

Hot Spot BBQ 11

Pulled pork

Effort is what defines Arsate’s role here. On both visits she smoked the meat, took the orders, and delivered the food. She’s a one-woman operation who has been through a lot. The responsibilities were once shared between her and her father Ricardo until his health failed. Then it was Rochelle who was out of commission after a bad car accident. That shut down the restaurant altogether for over a year, but now she’s back running the pit and the barbecue is better than ever.

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