Made in the 956: Rio Valley Meats

Made in the 956: Rio Valley Meats
7 months 1 week 4 days ago Tuesday, October 17 2023 Oct 17, 2023 October 17, 2023 12:46 PM October 17, 2023 in News - Local

Would you believe that the best brisket in the world is made right here in the Valley?

Well it is and one Valley man has the trophy to prove it, and it all started when he and his wife opened up their own meat shop called Rio Valley Meats.

"I always tell people good BBQ comes from a lot of bad BBQ. You have to cook a lot of bad stuff to know what's really good," Rio Valley Meats owner Fred Robles said.

According to a BBQ competition, Fred makes the best brisket in the world.

"We were just at the American Royal in Kansas City, the largest cook off in the world. There were right under 500 teams this year, and we were very fortunate to come out as first place brisket," Fred said.

Fred didn't just win first place, he got perfection.

"Not just the first place brisket, but it was what they call a 180 brisket. Which is a perfect brisket. Even more, it wasn't just a perfect brisket, it was a perfect, perfect brisket," Fred said.

Fred says there are six judges in the competition, but they only take five scores and drop the lowest one. In his case, that score that they dropped was a perfect score, hence the perfect, perfect brisket.

"I lost my voice. I'm barely getting it back now. I lost my voice just from the celebration and the yelling and the hugging. It was awesome, man, to have my wife there with me. It was exceptional. It was a great experience," Fred said.

Believe it or not, but Fred's love for competing didn't start until he and his wife opened up their own BBQ shop, Rio Valley Meats, years ago.

"So we started in Weslaco many years ago, in 2008, to be exact. We opened our Harlingen location in 2021, right after COVID or during COVID, and we've been here since. This is our only store now since we've closed the Weslaco store," Fred said. "I really got into competition BBQing when we opened up our store originally, and Smoking On The Rio, which is a local contest here in Mercedes, in February, that was our first contest. We did it just to promote our store, cook some meat, pass out flyers and hopefully generate some business to our location. So we ended up getting a fifth place chicken call, our very first contest."

Like the saying goes, the rest is history.

"After that, I was hooked. I researched competition BBQ on YouTube, on the internet, any information I could get, and then I started competing more. Long story short, we've been competing now for more than 12 years competitively all over the United States," Fred said. 

From the taste of it, Fred and his wife aren't slowing down anytime soon.

"20 years down the road, we hope to have multiple locations," Fred said. "Competition BBQ has been really good to me. It's been really good to my family. So we hope to be successful in anything that we do. Whether it be in BBQ or at the butcher shop, you know, just to have success, watch my kids grow and live life man, that's it."

Rio Valley Meats and the best brisket in the world, Made In The 956.

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