When I think of all the things I’ve eaten on the road that were most unfamiliar, a few dishes come to mind. There was the smoked cow eyeball in Brownsville, chicken feet in Houston and deep-fried rattlesnake in Sweetwater. I had to overcome some hesitations but still finished each one. That’s what I expected when I set out to try raw beef parisa at Dziuk’s Meat Market. But not only did I finish my plate, I left with an entire pound for later.
Dziuk’s (pronounced “jukes”) has been around since the 1960s, when it was started in Poth by two brothers. Later another location opened in Castroville, west of San Antonio. It’s an old-school meat market where you can buy a great steak cut to order and even bring in deer for processing. But despite selling every cut of meat your heart might desire, the most popular item remains their house-made parisa.
Parisa is a traditional dish made of raw round steak that’s ground up and mixed with salt, pepper, onions, jalapeños and soft easy-melt cheese. The locals buy hundreds of pounds a week to eat with crackers and bring to family gatherings. It’s a regional delicacy that, as far as I can tell, is only made at a handful of markets across Medina County. Third-generation owner Kenton Sims told me to think of it as “Texas tartare.”
I plunged my saltine deep into a pile of parisa then took a deep breath and a big bite. The flavor was instantly familiar: Tex-Mex spices blended deliciously with the mouthfeel and taste of a juicy hamburger. I loved it and finished off the whole platter. Then I ordered some parisa for the road—and made sure not to leave it behind in a hot car.