Originally from California, Stephen “Smokey” Schwartz came to Kansas City in the early 1980’s where he began training as a BBQ PitMaster at Joe’s Kansas City BBQ, owned by Tom Gault. After a short tour in the military, he returned to Kansas City in 1990 as the Executive Chef/Pitmaster at the renowned Fiorella’s Jack Stack BBQ where he assisted in their expansion.
After several years at Jack Stack, he took the Executive Chef position at the famous Golden Ox owned by Stephen Greer. Schwartz there revamped their menu that had been relatively unchanged since the 1960’s, adding several new barbeque dishes.
In 2005, Paul Khoury, Owner of PB&J Restaurant Group, named Smokey the Executive Chef of Yahooz. In 2009, working with PB&J’s Corporate Chef Mark Valiani, he helped found the new “The Coyote Grill” with Southwestern fare.
In 2010, Smokey began working on a Barbecue concept for PB&J and together they introduced their new concept “Burnt End BBQ” with Smokey taking the lead as the Executive Pitmaster and General Manager. Smokey also competes in many cooking and BBQ competitions. He is the only chef to have won Three Grand Champion titles in Chicago at the Food Arts Magazine/ Share Our Strength National Championships — taking home first place in 2006, 2012, and 2015. Smokey has also taken first place at the American Royal Barbecue Championships with his Sweet Chipotle Glaze BBQ Sauce in 2012 and his Sweet Honey Glaze Sauce in 2015.
In January 2018, Smokey and the Burnt End BBQ were featured on The Food Network’s new series “The Grill Dads” and in June 2019, Burnt End BBQ’s Denver location was on “Burgers, Brews & Que”.