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In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

This place is Smokin’!
Iron Works Restaurant
Austin, Texas
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

There’s no comparison.

Word of mouth is the best advertising. So one hot afternoon while stopping for a cold one in Buffalo Billiards, we asked Chris, the bartender, where we would find the best barbeque in Austin, Texas. Without hesitation he said “Go to The Iron Works and order the Sampler Plate.”

Fortunat Weigl's Iron Works in this historical red tin building

He looked like a man who knew what he was talking about. In fact, Chris told us he doesn’t eat chicken or fish. He‘s a beef man, and we were in cattle country. So we set out to find the most righteous plate of barbecue in a town known for its barbecue.

We weren’t disappointed.

Walking up to the unpretentious establishment located on Red River Road, it was obvious that there was history and a personal story to this simple red tin building. It turns out that in 1913, German immigrant Ironworker Fortunat Weigl, Sr., along with his wife Anna, their sons Lee and Herbert, left Bavaria, Germany looking for a better life in America. Since they had no radio in Germany, the Weigls often read books to their sons for entertainment. The family particularly loved the Wild West for its unabashed and uncompromising Cowboy stories. These stories and an adventurous spirit are what led the family directly to Texas.

 

This standard of freedom, self-reliance and independence is apparent in the history of Texas on many fronts. It either appeals to you or it doesn’t. Well, this wide open land of opportunity was both inspiration and lifeblood to the Weigls. Fortunat supported his family as a construction worker until 1922 when he was asked to create iron wall fixtures for a project in San Marcos, Texas. He agreed and a Mr. Mansbedel advanced him $75.38 for a few tools, a sack of coal, and some flat iron. Mr. Weigl used his new found fortune to make a down payment of $20.00 and established his own ornamental iron works business in Austin, Texas.

Hungry patrons place their orders here

Fortunat continued to search for some cheap property to call his own, settled on a small plot of land located on Red River Road and the Weigl Ornamental Iron works moved to this red tin building in 1935. In June of this same year shortly after their opening, disaster struck. It was one of the worst floods Austin has ever seen and it raged throughout the city.

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After the waters receded, to save their building and their business, the Weigls were forced to cut out pieces of floorboard to scrape massive amounts of mud into the basement. Today in the dining room, you can see these same cutouts covered with Iron Works Business license plates along with the 7 foot flood scars marking the walls. They serve as an impressive reminder of the forces of nature and the words "Flood Stage, June 5, 1935" are written above them.

Mountains of fabulous barbecue! WooHOO!

Weigl and his sons made their name and fortune with their distinctive hand wrought ornamental iron works. Many significant Austin homes, the State Capitol and buildings in the State University proudly show his work, and his firm remained in operation until 1977.

 

Curious about the history, and hungry for dinner, from the moment we walked into Iron Works Barbecue restaurant, we were warmly greeted. We introduced ourselves, and got right to the point - We wanted to taste the best barbecue in town. Charlotte Finch, the owner of this establishment for 31 years, took it upon herself to personally direct the staff to fill our plates with one order of the Sampler Plate and one of the Smoked Pork Ribs.

Imposing portions and bold flavors took away any reservations. We were tasting the best of Texas barbecue. Billy had the sliced beef brisket, IWB’s own special sausage, a moist and meaty beef rib that would make Barney Rubble happy, accompanied by Italian green beans, and sweet corn on the cob. The smoked pork ribs given to me dominated my plate and were to die for. Every bite of the potato salad tasted of summer and it reminded me of my mother, my grandmother and home. Pickles and onions on the side are a BBQ tradition in this part of Texas, and we were here for the full experience.

Top of the line traditional barbecue

Two styles of barbecue sauce were placed on the table - their award winning spicy and the traditional style - along with our own roll of paper towels! Our mouths were already watering and there’s no rule here against using your fingers to hold the ribs. Before long we had wide grins and barbecue sauce on our faces from cheek to cheek.

A few minutes into our meal, Charlotte came by and asked how we were doing. We thought we’d died and gone to heaven and had to shake ourselves out of the reverie to respond with something more coherent than groans of satisfaction. Lest you think we are exaggerating, this stuff is so good that it might even be the path of agreement for our nation’s law makers. What do George W. Bush and Barack Obama have in Common? They both love the Iron Works Barbecue house in Austin, Texas.

Smoked ribs and the best potato salad ever!

MSN.com ranked Iron Works’ barbecue sauce as #1 out of a full competition of other restaurant and supermarket entries. A representative from Budget Living tasted their barbecue and claimed to have found religion. And Jay Leno enjoys Iron Works beef ribs so much that he orders them regularly via Federal Express. Even the current governor of Texas Rick Perry asserts that Iron Works Barbecue is his favorite place to eat. So, we were in good company and no doubt we were in the right place.

 

This is a down-home, self-serve operation. There’s a wood stove in the main dining room to chase the chill in winter. And it doesn’t matter if you sit inside close to the action of the line of customers moving to pick up their orders or outside overlooking the peaceful river and abundant ferns, the Texas hospitality abounds.

Peaceful open air view of the river below

Do yourself and your family a favor and visit their website: www.ironworksbbq.com. You can order your own slice of paradise from their website - sauces, spices, ribs, brisket, sausage and smoked turkey. And if you are ever in town, it would be a sin to miss this experience.

Texas is all about beef, and Austin is all about barbque.

Hours are 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Closed Sunday and all big holidays. 100 Red River, Austin Texas. Say hello to Charlotte and tell her we sent you.

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About the Authors

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their popular website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.

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