500 Tacos: Red’s Porch
A taco a day for 2015 — and then some
3508 S. Lamar Blvd. (map), 512-440-7337, www.redsporch.com. Hours: 11am-midnight Sun-Fri; 11am-1am Sat
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 03.29.15
The upper deck of Red’s Porch is like a caged wrestling arena, framed by a chain-link fence overlooking a trailer house and courtyards. When Red’s first opened in 2009, its marketing hook was “Half Cajun, Half Tex-Mex, Half Southern.” That aesthetic still holds true, with classic rock pumping over the speakers, deep-fried boudin, smoke drifting from the barbecue pit and tacos that draw inspiration from all of it.
The taco: Tortilla crusted chicken
In a fancier setting, we might call it fusion, but at Red’s it's just a fried chicken taco. And that’s just fine, because everything’s right where it should be: lots of hot white-meat chicken with a spiky tortilla crust, a picnic scatter of shredded lettuce and cheese and a mild buttermilk dressing. Order it on corn tortillas so they can play horseshoes with the crust. ($9.95 for two with rice and beans, $3.95 a la carte)
► From the smokehouse: The pit out back isn’t just for show. This brisket taco is a chop of tender, smoky meat with fat in proper proportions. It’s dressed with grilled onion, pico de gallo and avocado salsa to make it more than just a ballpark brisket wrap. ($10.95 for two with rice and beans, $4.95 a la carte)
► More tacos: With big bites of tender meat and a thick, spicy braise, Red’s green chile pork behaves like a rowdy beef carne guisada. Pickled onions and queso fresco are nice finishing touches. And while I like fried avocado on principle, this taco needed more than chopped tomatillo and pickled onion to counter the avocado’s lazy richness. ($8.95 for two avocado tacos with rice and beans or $3.95 a la carte; $9.95 for pork, or $3.95 a la carte)
► Tortillas: Storebought flour and doubled-up white corn
► Salsa: The roasted red balances tomatoes and heat, making it suitable for touching up tacos or spicing up Red’s middle-of-the-road queso ($5.95).
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)