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The second-best barbecue joint in Texas offers stellar meats and outdoor seating

Interstellar BBQ has only been open for a few years, but it's already skyrocketed to the top of a major list.

AUSTIN, Texas — "The best barbecue in the world comes from Texas," according to John Bates, owner of Interstellar BBQ in northwest Austin.

If that's the case, then his restaurant may be the second-best barbecue on Earth.

Back in October, "Texas Monthly" ranked Interstellar BBQ at No. 2 on its list of the 50 best barbecue joints in the state. That distinction also makes it the best barbecue in Central Texas, according to the magazine.

"When you found out you were No. 2, what did you think?" KVUE's Rob Evans asked Bates.

"We need more pits, we need more people," Bates joked.

Evans asked Bates what his secret is.

"The secret to good barbecue," Bates said, "is how you manage your fire. For Texas barbecue, it's all about low and slow. We try not to go over 275. It gets too hot, too fast. This one is too low, we need some firewood."

Bates showed our KVUE crew around one of his huge smokers. 

"We burn post oak," he said. "We like the properties, the smoke, the flavor. It's hot, so be quick!"

It's a labor of love, and there's nothing fast about it. 

"The brisket takes 12 to 14 hours," Bates said. "Depends on when they decide they're done." 

And there's no need to get fancy if you're looking to make your own dinner.

"We keep it very simple. We buy good beef, we use kosher salt, black pepper and garlic," Bates said.

At 10:12 a.m. on the day KVUE shot this story – 50 minutes before Interstellar BBQ opened – there was already an impressive line.

"You've been here once. You liked it?" Evans asked a man in line.

"Oh yeah," he said with a laugh. "[It was] $122 worth for me." 

RELATED: Enjoy patio seating and made-from-scratch comfort food at Hank's Austin

"Here we have sausage, Frito pie sausage," Bates said, walking our crew through his restaurant's offerings. "You hear that snap? That's what you're looking for." 

"You ever get tired of eating your barbecue?" Evans asked.

"No," Bates said. 

Bates also showed KVUE the day's briskets, including the burnt ends – "the best bite in the whole brisket," according to Bates.

Evans agreed.

"Wow," Evans said. "It melts like nothing else. That's the best meat I've ever had in my life, hands down. Nice job. Thank you."

If you'd like to check out Interstellar BBQ, get there early. Bates said they sell out quickly.

Rob Evans on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

KVUE on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube


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