Only have a minute? Listen instead
MISSION — Good dining experiences can create unforgettable experiences in the same way a bad experience can ruin a day — it’s in the way that the quality of the food and the service wields a transformative effect on our minds and moods.
Jaime Elizondo is a creator of such transformative experiences with the creative meals and unparalleled customer service that he and his crew of pitmasters deliver to hungry customers.
It’s not enough that he is making some legitimate, mesquite-smoked, melt in your mouth, Texas-style barbecue. He is utilizing the best of those methods to create mouth-watering meals that even the most hard-nosed barbecue connoisseur can enjoy.
I’m here for his newest creation, his brisket enchiladas.
Like everything that Smoke Crafters does, these enchiladas are made with great care and precision, from the moist chunks of brisket wrapped in fresh corn tortillas to the homemade enchilada sauce, which is made in-house.
The plate comes with a serving of homemade rice and charro beans, which complement the truly Tex-Mex dish.
I decided to order some brisket on its own. Elizondo said that every serving of brisket is served moist unless a lean cut is requested. I also ordered some pork belly burnt ends and a side of Mexican street corn.
Along with Monitor photographer Joel Martinez, we were served our meal inside one of the large blue shipping containers that Elizondo and his wife, Maria, have transformed into a small dining area complete with large windows, fans and an air conditioner to protect us from the sweltering heat.
Elizondo delivered the tray of food himself, and threw in one of his homemade chocolate chip cookies made with fat rendered from some beef portions.
The brisket was moist, buttery, peppery, and packed with delicious flavor. The pork belly burnt ends were soft, and served in a slightly sweet glaze with a side of homemade red onions that took every bite to the next level. That, along with the smokey corn was more than enough to satisfy this self-anointed master of the pit, but then it came time to try the brisket enchiladas.
The fat from the brisket melted into the enchilada sauce and the melted yellow cheese creating an experience that I didn’t know I wanted until then. The enchiladas, along with the brisket were fork-tender and an absolute delight for the senses.
Joel didn’t say much, so I took that as him silently agreeing with me.
They really are doing something special at Smoke Crafters, and I cannot wait to have my mind blown again with my next visit.
Smoke Crafters is located at 5924 TX-107 in Mission, and 1017 Shasta Ave. in McAllen (in the parking lot of Kickin Axes).
The Mission location is open from 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, and 1 to 9 p.m. Saturday.
The McAllen location is open 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 3 to 9 p.m. Saturday.