Holy smokes

Smokin' local barbecue joint rides into East Austin with new taco truck

Smokin' local barbecue spot rides into East Austin with new taco truck

Taco Bronco
Taco Bronco is now open at Batch Brewhouse & Bugroom. Taco Bronco

Austin’s food truck culture may not attract the hullabaloo it did during its heyday, but occasionally a new trailer piques the local attention. Such was the case in November 2019 when Batch Craft Beer & Kolaches teased that a new concept from Micklethwait Craft Meats would soon be opening on its east side compound.

Now, after months of anticipation, the new project is finally open. Taco Bronco, a new spot combining pitmaster and owner Tom Micklethwait’s barbecue acumen with Austin’s favorite food, debuted January 30 at Batch Brewhouse & Bugroom on 3220 Manor Rd., according to a release.

As with MCM, the menu at Bronco is fairly minimal, but the variety of tacos offer something for every palate. Barbecue fans will undoubtedly flock to the El Jefe, made with brisket, cactus, and potatoes slathered with smoked poblano queso. Cactus is also featured in the signature vegan El Ranchero, mixed with house-made seitan, roasted calabacitas, and poblano rajas.

In addition to the tacos, Bronco offers a trio of sandwich options ranging from a Texas Red Hot filled with boar sausage, beans, and pickled sweet onions to a classic torta loaded with avocado, sour cream, tomatoes, and lettuce. In a nod to the flagship truck, the new venture also offers family style plates with unexpected choices such as pit-roasted pollo asado and carnitas.

Taco Bronco continues the collaboration between the Micklethwait and Batch team that began when the new-school kolache shop first opened in August 2017. The barbecue joint’s wildly popular brisket is used with pickled and Swiss cheese in a mainstay klobásníky (the savory cousin to the sweet kolache).

Batch is returning the favor by crafting limited-edition brews in its new brewhouse. Both the Smokey Bronco (a smoked prickly pear gose with a hint of hibiscus) and the Key Lime Bronco (a citrusy goes with a saline pop) should refreshingly pair with the bold flavors of the menu.

Open 4-9:30 pm, Thursday through Sunday, Taco Bronco is the fourth venture from the Micklethwait team. In 2015, the barbecue fave branched out with the short-lived Romanouskas Delicatessen before retiring the concept in 2016 (the trailer now houses Bronco). Micklethwait Market & Grocery, a barbecue restaurant and small market, opened in Smithville in February 2019.