Toyota Center home to more than just Rockets and concerts

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HOUSTON, Texas -- In a new year, it's nice to know some folks still do things the old-fashioned way. Especially when it comes to Barbecue. And in a city like Houston, there's no shortage of pitmasters out there waiting to wow you. What may surprise you, however, is where we found some of the best slow-smoked brisket to date. It's not a backwoods barbecue pit or southside smokehouse.

It's the Toyota Center.

"We do about 450 lbs. every game," Executive Chef Eddie Romero told us as we toured the underground kitchen where cooks and chefs were preparing for a game. "We do about 30 turkeys, these are good items on the concession stands."

Believe it or not, the Toyota Center has its own full-sized restaurant kitchen - complete with pit-style smoker hidden beneath the stands - just to turn restaurant quality barbecue for the stadium's concession stands. And Chew on This: everything that comes out of it is made from scratch.

"We're really proud of Levy restaurants to do this kind of food for concession stands," Romero says.

And the fans just eat it up:

"If you're going to get something to eat at the Rockets game, the barbecue is the best thing they've got here," Houstonian Paul Cox told us in the concession line.

"They've got good barbecue," Melvin Booker agreed, "I don't know who does the barbecuing, but they've got some good barbecue."

Good stadium grub is one of the luxuries of living in a city that takes its barbecue so seriously. And now that the secret's out, you've got a whole new year to enjoy it.

Cheers, y'all.