The plan was to hit Hacienda de Maria for enchiladas but it was Thursday and the word was out that Maria’s is best savored on Saturday or Sunday when she’s showing off her buffet. So a change of plan.
I suggested we head a little further down the road towards Dolores Hidalgo where I’d heard there was a new barbeque joint. BBQ. I don’t know too many people in this world who would say no to those three letters especially in a town like San Miguel that’s so starved for them.
We had just spotted the Smoked ‘n’ Low sign and were almost in the parking lot when Bill Heublein asked me if Keith Thompson had anything to do with the place.
“No I don’t think so”, I said.
“Well look who that is sitting at the picnic table” replied Bill. “Sure looks like Keith Thompson.”
For a decade Keith was San Miguel’s crown prince of Q. In a shack behind La Palapa. At an Irish pub called Finnegans. In a tent at Fabrica de Aurora. At a spot across from Los Frailes. And most of all, at a restaurant called The Longhorn. I missed The Longhorn. I missed Keith Thompson. And I really missed good smoked ribs and brisket.
“I’m just a small part of Smoked ‘n’ Low”, Keith told me. “It’s Diego’s truck. It’s Diego’s business. He was struggling in Queretaro and at La Pulga and I’m helping him out here.”
The menu looks very Keith Thompson. And it tastes very Keith Thompson. Which means it tastes very good. If I’d closed my eyes, the ribs and pulled pork could be the exact same ones I feasted on three years ago at The Longhorn.
“Love the amount of meat on the ribs”, said Don Day’s Wife, “and the meat has lots of give.”
No, the pork isn’t fall off the bone because the cooking is done slow and dry in a wood-fired smoker. But what that does do is capture all of the pork taste and add the taste from the mesquite. The pork shoulder is fall apart and dressed with a homemade sauce that, again, is reminiscent of something I’ve tasted at The Longhorn.
Diego is Diego Bautista (“and no I’m not one of the carnitas Bautistas” said Diego referring to San Miguel’s famous pork producers). His kitchen is a fine looking food truck with a Cadillac Smoker from St. Louis on the back.
The sides may seem similar to Longhorn regulars with cole slaw, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob and mac ’n’ cheese. And to those of you who were favorites of The Longhorn’s beans, I did my best to talk Diego into adding them to the mix.
My only disappointment was the brisket. Why? Because I was too early and it wasn’t ready yet. I begged for a morsel but Keith and Diego said no, you can’t rush it.
The ribs and pulled pork take five or six hours. The brisket takes eight or nine.
“I’m not sure what we’re going to do”, said Keith, “maybe put the brisket on low before we leave.”
The best I could get was a look and a whiff. Next time I’ll go later just to be sure.
I was sat in front of the TV that night ODing on a few episodes of Fargo. As I lifted the tuna melt to my mouth I could still smell the homemade barbeque sauce from under my nails. It smelled so good. I have to taste it on Smoked ’n’ Low’s brisket soon.
Smoked ’n’ Low is located at Km 7.4 on the road from San Miguel de Allende to Dolores Hidalgo, on the left side just before you get to La Burger. They are open from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm, Wednesday through Sunday.