A Pachanga’? It's not the Brazilian dance in Texas.
To a south Texan, in “TEX-MEX” Pachanga' = “PARTY”
The real definition of Pachanga’ is a Tex-Mex slang word meaning a wild rowdy fiesta (party). It usually involves music, compadres, real fire and smoke outdoor cooking barbecue. In other words, lots’ of good food and friends. Once you have been invited to a real Pachanga’ the experience will stick with you for a lifetime. In south Texas a lot of Pachanga’s feature what we call Rodeo Beer - That’s beer that has been purchased cold at the carry-out, sometime about 6 to 12 hours before the Pachanga’, but never saw ice or a cooler again after that. It’s usually just what ever temperature is in the pick-up truck or motorcycle saddlebags by the time it reaches the Pachanga’. In south Texas that can mean warm beer at 117 - 122 degrees. The real connoisseurs, known as the old Mexicans and Texans, think this temperature brings out the flavor, head, and bouquet. Those not familiar with this practice moan and complain, cursing the warm cerveza, but as they drink more beer, it gets better and better, soon beer after beer that warm beer gets damn addictive.
At most Pachanga’s there are sun wrinkled old Texans sitting in lawn chairs, older then they are, wearing long sleeved shirts, even on the hottest damn 100 degree plus summer days. They set drinking warm beer with pleasant smiles on their leathery dark brown faces. I think it’s the cerveza that may be a contributing factor to the big smiles. If a hat, headband or Do-rag is removed, a light, almost white colored band is noticeable on their forehead, exposing untanned skin with no wrinkles, in sharp contrast to the well worn deep mahogany of their faces.
The twenty and thirty something tall lankly young men, are in sleeveless white shirts, they are well muscled, wearing tight crisply creased blue jeans and cream colored straw cowboy hats with sharply bent vertical brims. They are laughing and telling jokes and stories with a beer bottle is precariously held, hanging down between two fingers. Beautiful senoritas are milling about looking for just the right young man to flirt with.
The forty and fifty something men, with long sleeved shirts and wide brimmed cowboy hats, take turns tending the barbecue pit, the coals are shoveled according to the wind changes and speed. The women, are busy with the other dishes and are preparing red and green salsa’s that are displayed colorfully in large bowls sitting on a brightly colored table cloths. Some of the older women are teaching the younger women while pealing and dicing with a knife, producing a simple, deliciously fresh Pico de gallo.
Sometimes during the Pachanga’ the barbecue pit is under the watchful eye of one of the old men who gives directions in Tex-Mex or Spanish - the language rolling beautifully off of his tongue as he barks out instructions to the men. Large slabs of Beef brisket, Pork butts or Cabrito, sometimes wild boar or Rattlesnake, along with various other cuts of meats, chicken, turkey and sausages - The barbacoa is served; with fresh tortillas, corn or flour with a verity of salsa’s, avocados, lime’s and frijoles.
Pachanga’s are always slow paced and peaceful, they are only said to be rowdy because of the loud activity, laughing, talking and the smoke filled air. For that moment in time while attending a Pachanga’ all is right with the world and that is the way the world oughta be.
Once Y’all attend a Pachanga’ you are forever after accepted as family, no longer considered an outsider.
Welcome to the family, brothers and sisters.
Now that is a south Texas Pachanga’.