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Presidio TX 79845

True Texas
Written By True Texas

The Texas Highways staff searched the state to find the elements that most consistently resonate as representative of the quintessential Texas town. We’ve named that collective community “True, Texas.”

In cities and towns throughout much of Texas, the holiday table isn’t complete without a family recipe for salsa, which enlivens everything from turkey to tamales.

And in the Big Bend badlands near Presidio, few families gather with as much gusto as the Trevizos, who have roots here going back generations.

Normally, the Trevizo ranch-style menu focuses on rice, beans, salad, homemade flour tortillas, frosted sheet cake, and asado de puerco—an aromatic stew made with cubes of pork simmered in a red chile sauce over an open flame.​

Still, it’s the special family salsa, a pungent, tongues-aflame mixture fine-tuned by Rodrigo Trevizo (brother to seven Trevizos, uncle to dozens more), that always gets the fiesta started.

Rodrigo (aka Tío Rod) lives on the family homestead between dry Cibolo Creek and the Rio Grande. “We all worked, even as little kids,” recalls Trevizo, who retired from his job as superintendent of Big Bend Ranch State Park in 2013.

“We hand-dug a water well 86 feet deep, raised livestock, and lived like pioneers. I chopped firewood and drew water every morning for cooking, bathing, and watering the cows and horses. My mom cooked on a wood-burning stove and taught me how to cook anything on that stovetop, including chiles, beans, picadillo, tamales, and tortillas.” —Rodrigo Trevizio

These days, Trevizo likes certain things to remain the same.

“I may have high-speed Wi-Fi and a blender, but I still go old-school when roasting chiles; just a cast-iron skillet, a little oil, and a wood-burning flame.” —Rodrigo Trevizo

Trevizo takes advantage of the year-round growing season in Presidio, which allows for plenty of homegrown chiles for his salsa even in December. He prefers a variety of the cowhorn pepper, a curved, lumpy member of the cayenne family, because the tangy bite isn’t overpowered by the chile’s heat. He adds a few jalapeño or serrano peppers to round out the flavors.

“Typically I’ll use all the green chiles and save the reds to dry. But around the holidays, I blend the red with the green. You get a weird salsa color, but before everything goes into the blender, it looks a lot like Christmas!” —Rodrigo Trevizo
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