Rio Grande Grill One of Texas’ Best BBQ Restaurants

Restaurant owners Stefania Trimboli-Wright and Daniel Wright. Photo: Tony Vindell/LFN

by Tony Vindell/LFN

Three of the Lone Star State’s best barbecue joints are located in the Rio Grande Valley.

One of them, Rio Grande Grill BBQ & Tex-Mex, can be found on Van Buren Street in Harlingen.

Owned by Daniel Wright and Stefania Trimboli-Wright, the eatery serves a variety of meals including popular smoked meats like brisket, chicken, sausage and even smoked fish tacos.

Unlike other barbecue places, this one strictly uses nothing but mesquite wood.

Stefania said they bought the restaurant back in 2013.

“We pretty much kept everything – the menu, the recipes and everything else,” she said.

But serving the same items over and over gave her an idea of taking the business a notch up.

Daniel Wright and Butch Witt show off a nice slab of brisket slow smoked overnight in a mesquite fired pit. Photo: Tony Vindell/LFN

Trimboli-Wright, who attended culinary school in Austin, said she wanted to use her knowledge in a little more than cooking and serving barbecue day in and day out.

“We smoke corn, cauliflower and even make our own potatoe chips now,” she said.

“We also started serving better fish tacos.”

Stefania said they use mahi-mahi, which is tasty salt water fish.

“We are trying to do something different.”

The restaurant uses locally raised vegetables, and more so now that the city’s farmer’s market has officially opened for the fall and winter seasons.

Rio Grande Grill opens at 11 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday and usually closes at about 3 p.m. or when everything is sold out.

Rio Grande Grill is one of three Valley barbecue joints to be included in Texas Monthly Magazine’s list of the top 50 barbecue places in Texas.

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