Andrew Soto was destined to be a pitmaster. Growing up, barbecue was at the center of everything his family did, and a couple of decades later, nothing has changed. Soto opened Butter’s BBQ (an ode to his childhood nickname) in 2017, and has been serving up some of the best barbecue in the Mathis area since.

Tell me about the first person who taught you about barbecue.

My father. I grew up tending to mesquite-wood fires around age 7 or 8 and helping him cook his briskets for various events like weddings, quinceañeras, family reunions, et cetera.

Do you remember a backyard or a barbecue joint that started your barbecue obsession?

Any barbecue we ate growing up was made by our family. It wasn’t until I made my way to Franklin through a friend’s recommendation that I realized how great Texas barbecue can really be. It changed my entire outlook on it, and now I consider it top of the line in the culinary world.

What message are you trying to share to your customers through your food?

We consider our barbecue a real treat, being relatively new to the area, and we encourage people to bring a couple friends or family and dive into our world. In a laid-back patio setting, the message is simple: enjoy the food and the company while you’re here. It’s five-star food in the form of smoked meats, butcher paper, and plasticware.

As a professional pitmaster, are you a BBQ Freak just like the rest of us? When is the last time you ate someone else’s barbecue besides your own?

Six days ago, I had LeRoy and Lewis, which was crazy good. Barbecue makes up at least 75 percent of what I ingest. My favorite hobby is driving across the state and exploring the barbecue in different cities. From the OG places in Lockhart to the new-age places in and around Austin, they’re all great and unique in their own way. I learn something new at each place I visit, all the while trying some of the best barbecue Texas has to offer. Win-win.

What’s the most surprising barbecue dish you’ve eaten?

Brussels sprouts from Truth BBQ. Phenomenal.

What’s the best beverage to wash down barbecue?

Topo Chico—don’t @ me.

What’s a tool you use in cooking that might not seem like an obvious barbecue tool?

My right index finger.

What recommendations do you have for someone new to Texas ’cue?

Less is more.