A few years ago, I was reading an article about the nine most difficult restaurants to get into in America, one of them was a BBQ restaurant in Austin, TX. Having lived in downtown Chicago for twenty years and eating out five times a week, I knew about difficult restaurants to get into. Loving BBQ, I researched this place in Austin, TX, flew down there, waited in line for four hours like everyone else, and even met the owner (super nice guy.) The food was worth the wait and then some. I said to myself, I need to bring melt in your mouth Texas Smoked Brisket to Wisconsin.
Never having any experience running a restaurant though, I did not want to be a statistic and be one of the 90% of restaurants that fail in the first year. So, I took a more conservative approach and started with a fully equipped BBQ restaurant on wheels. I wanted to prove my concept first. I wanted to prove that people in Wisconsin would appreciate great Texas BBQ and if they would be willing to pay for great Texas BBQ.
First, I visited a lot of famous BBQ places, I read a lot of books, I attended paid BBQ seminars, and I talked to a lot of restaurant owners. Then, I developed a vision of what I wanted to bring to the marketplace and what I wanted people to think of Beef Butter BBQ. I wanted to blow people’s minds and exceed their expectations of what they were used to.
Next, once I decided on a trailer, I researched the heck out of trailers. I ended up picking a vendor in South Carolina that specializes in concession trailers. I drew out my workflow based on what I observed at successful BBQ lines. We did several iterations of the trailer. It originally was so big I would have needed a CDL to haul it. So, I paired it back to just the essentials for our great BBQ. It took all winter to build as I continued to test and smoke on my smokers.
As with any start up, time and money are always obstacles. If money was unlimited, you could buy your way out of a problem. But that is rarely an option for most start ups, and when it is an option, they still don’t get it right sometimes.
We think Beef Butter BBQ is so good because we start with Prime Beef, which is the most expensive. A lot of places think if you are going to smoke it anyways, then cover it in sauce, why buy the most expensive meats? We say, if we are going to invest twelve hours of smoking and all the other time and expense in preparing, then we are going to only work with the best meats.
Our customers favorite dish is our Brisket. Beef Butter BBQ Brisket is our specialty. Fatty or lean. It will change the way you think about BBQ. I have had people who spent twenty years in Texas and have eaten at over 300 BBQ joints, yet they tell us our Brisket is the best they have had. Customers also love our smoked pulled pork and smoked apple pie baked beans. We make an authentic Texas pinto bean, but up here people like sweeter beans. So, we made them REALLY sweet.
We think Beef Butter BBQ is so good because we start with Prime Beef, which is the most expensive. We source our meats from UW Provisions who brings in meats to our specifications. A lot of places think if you are going to smoke it anyways, then cover it in sauce, why buy the most expensive meats? We say, if we are going to invest twelve hours of smoking and all the other time and expense in preparing, then we are going to only work with the best meats.
To smoke our meats we use seasoned oak wood: 100% wood, no gas!
I catered a party recently, it was an exclusive house on the lake. We were also booked at an event that day so we had to just drop off the meats. When we went back to pick up the pans though, the host said the owner of another large BBQ restaurant was at the party and he wanted to know who made the brisket, it was the best brisket he had ever tasted. That compliment kept me motivated for another week of hard work.
A little backstory about me: I was born and raised in Madison and did my undergrad and MBA at the University of WI, Madison. I spent thirty years in marketing at Fortune 100 companies such as Oscar Mayer and Quaker Oats. I have always been a foodie but did not know it until recently. Now we have built the best BBQ Catering in Madison: Beef Butter BBQ. As people in Texas who know great smoked brisket say “That’s not fat, that’s Beef Butter.”