Schmidt Family Barbecue opened a Bee Cave site in October 2013.[/caption]
Chad Franks said he was working as an auditor with the Texas Department of Transportation when he decided it was time to turn his passion for barbecue into a business.
It did not hurt that Chad’s father had been a trophy-winning cook or that his wife, Susie, comes from barbecue royalty—the Schmidt/Kreuz families in Lockhart.
Chad, Susie and relative Keith Schmidt opened Schmidt Family Barbecue in October 2013. Located at the intersection of W. Hwy. 71 and Bee Caves Road, Schmidt serves up Texas-style barbecue seven days a week.
Soon after opening Schmidt Family Barbecue, Chad figured out that what worked in the Schmidt family’s Lockhart barbecue restaurants did not necessarily work in Bee Cave, he said.
For instance, shoulder clod—a mainstay in Lockhart—did not sell in Bee Cave, Chad said. Prime rib and pork chops did not sell either, he said.
“People out here like their meat extra lean,” Chad said.
Quickly adapting to the tastes of his Bee Cave-area customers, Chad added chicken and smoked turkey to the menu. He also added pork butt, sandwiches and plate specials which combine a choice of meat with two sides.
Except for the baby back ribs, the restaurant’s meat is prepared without sauce.
Not even 2 years old, Schmidt Family Barbecue has already received invitations to join the state’s most exclusive barbecue events, Chad said.
“We get invited to the festivals with the big boys,” he said of the upcoming Second Annual Red Dirt BBQ & Music Festival in Tyler with 18 invitees, the South by Southwest Barbecue Crash Course with six invitees and Smoked Dallas with 15 invitees.
Chad shares barbecue tips at monthly classes held at the Bee Cave restaurant and at Schmidt catering gigs at which he personally slices the meat and discusses barbecue with partygoers.
“There’s no secret recipes in barbecue,” he said. “You have to buy quality product, the best beef available, and have employees who care about it. I’m blessed to have a great team.”
Chad did, however, reveal a secret to masterful seasoning.
“Make it rain,” he said. “Hold [the seasoning shaker] up high. That way all your seasoning blends well.”
Chad said his personal vision of the perfect barbecue feast is a piece of butcher paper loaded with brisket, spare ribs and sausage, “with a slice of jalapeno and cheese, and no sauce.”
He readily admits that his passion for cooking begins and ends with barbecue.
“I don’t like to cook at home,” Chad said. “I eat pita chips and hummus if you can believe this big redneck.”