A Carnivore’s Delight at San Antonio’s El Machito Restaurant

One look at the 12-foot-long open fire mesquite grill, where flames roast the myriad of meats standing tall on metal poles around the rim, and you understand why chef Johnny Hernandez named his latest restaurant, El Machito. “It means little tough guy, as in takes a little tough guy to cook over this fire,” says the gregarious chef, greeting diners on the patio when he’s in dire need of a break from the heat. It took Hernandez 6 weeks to master the art of cooking over his handcrafted asadero, the massive iron grill that was created by metalworkers in Guadalajara. Chicken needed to be near the higher flames, shrimp as far away as possible, beef and pork ready for a slow roast. The chef’s signature dish is cabrito, milk-fed baby goat that is sourced locally at a farm in Utopia, Texas. The chance to savor this one traditional northern Mexican meat has quickly made Hernandez’ latest San Antonio restaurant a must-stop for folks craving a Jalisco-style parrillada or barbecue.