About Smokeshow BBQ & Matt Gfroerer
Hi, my name is Matt Gfroerer and simply put Smokeshow Barbeque is the result of 14 years of studying, learning, and mostly eating the best barbeque in Texas.
It all started when my wife, Heather, and I moved to Austin in the fall of 2000. In the first week of living there I stopped by this place called Rudy's that was down the street from our apartment. I was instantly hooked. The smoky flavors, the hunks of meat, and the sauce....I couldn't get enough of it!
Fast forward two years and 20 pounds. I was selling software for this good company, but I was so bored. I needed a change. My heart and my bank account said barbeque was where I needed to be. So I wrote a letter to all of the local places around Austin asking them to take a chance on a guy with no experience and to also to teach me all of the tricks of the trade so that I can take Texas barbeque to New England someday.
The first place to offer me a management job was a local chain called Pokejo's. The place was an old auto shop converted into a restaurant right in downtown Austin. Although it was a little run down, the place was awesome! Dan and Doug, the owners, took me in and taught me the ropes. Before long I was running the place. Besides having some killer food, we also had an outdoor barn area that was home to a South by Southwest venue and the annual Cabrito Fest (roasted goat) put on by some UT alums. Unfortunately, the growth of Austin caught up with that location and the place was torn down and a high rise was put up.
Fortunately for me, I was playing hockey (yes there is ice hockey in Texas) with one of the owners of a statewide chain of BBQ restaurants called Rudy's Country Store and Bar-B-Que. Chad, the owner, asked me if I would like to come and work for them, and I accepted. These guys are major players in the Southwest barbeque network and can sling some awesome barbeque and in high volumes. Rudy's, in my opinion, has the best barbeque 'sauce' and rub anywhere. I opened a location for them in Corpus Christi, Texas and then moved to their flagship location in New Braunfels (right in between San Antonio and Austin). That place rocked! Being right next two rivers and Gruene Hall made for some pretty interesting summers. Their counter service style made for a lot of interaction between the cutter and the customer which I adopted for Smokeshow. It doesn't get much better than sipping a cold beer on a hot summer day while having your perfectly 'qued meat cut to order right in front of you. What a great place to work!
After almost five years with Rudy's, some northern boys from Maryland came knockin' on my door looking for some help to open a new concept in the mid-Atlantic region. Now with two boys in the household, Heather and I decided that being closer to NH would be a good place to be, so the boys could be closer to Nana, GG, and Grampy as well as most of our other siblings. So, off to Baltimore we went to open a new brand called Mission BBQ. Good concept and some good people, but it just didn't feel like home to us, so after getting them up and running, we moved back home to Concord.
As luck would have it, the biggest player in the New England BBQ circuit was looking for a new GM and guess who they hired? ME!!! So KC's Rib Shack was my new home. Kevin and Greg were awesome to me and after 4 years with them and 14 years in the business, it was finally time for me to go out on my own.
So there you have it, Smokeshow Barbeque, a little bit of the south with a lot of New England attitude. I hope that you enjoy your food and service, and if you ever want to talk shop feel free to drop me a line.