Smokey & the Bean

Chef Chris Schobel's homestyle recipes make his Kihei restaurant smokin' hot.


Story by Becky Speere | Photography by Nina Kuna

maui bbq
Chris Schobel is a happy-go-lucky chef who once worked as a screaming, gyrating commodities-floor trader at the New York Mercantile Exchange. He says, “I love to be in the kitchen. And when I make a mistake, I just do it over. But on the trading floor, if you screw up a trade with someone else’s $25,000. . . .” In 2004, Schobel traded hand and body gestures for a whisk, and graduated with honors from the Culinary Institute of America. He went on to complete a bachelor’s degree in business at Le Cordon Bleu Adelaide in South Australia, then boomeranged back to Hula Grill in Ka‘anapali, where he had externed as a Culinary Institute student. A year later, he was promoted to executive chef at Hula Grill.

Maui bbq restaurant
Any barbecue joint worth its rub knows that the secret is in the sides. At Fat Daddy’s Smokehouse, Chef Chris Schobel has that covered with his brisket dry rub and chili garlic beans.

Schobel is a founding member of Growing Future Farmers, a program that provides grants to young people entering that field. Localicious is one of the ways the program raises funds; participating restaurants designate a “Grown on Maui” salad on their menus, and contribute $1 to Future Farmers every time someone orders it. Schobel says, “I love Localicious. Supporting the upcoming generation of farmers is important to our economy and Maui’s sustainability.” In 2013 — the same year he opened Fat Daddy’s Smokehouse — Schobel received the Maui County Farm Bureau’s Friend of Agriculture award.

I arrive at Fat Daddy’s just as two guests are leaving. One sated diner tells Schobel, “I am a serious [meat] smoker myself, and I can tell that you know what you’re doing. We’ll be back.” As they exit, Schobel turns to me with a big smile and says, “Some visitors come in three times during their stay on Maui!” It’s no wonder that his workhorse smoker is going twenty hours a day, loaded with up to 200 pounds of spicy tri-tips, briskets, pork butts (for pulled pork sandwiches), whole fat chickens, and St. Louis-style ribs. This is a barbecue lover’s paradise.


Fat Daddy’s Brisket Dry Rub Chili Garlic Beans

bbq food maui

I am so hungry, I almost order The Sampler, a half-pound each of four different meats, but I restrain myself and make a mental note for my family’s next beach outing. I order a beef brisket that’s been double smoked over kiawe wood for fourteen hours. The tender burnt ends fill the room with a smoky aroma. For sides, I’ve chosen fried and crunchy hot jalapeno hush puppies, home-style chunky potato salad, and bleu-cheese-spiked Kula cabbage and green apple coleslaw. A Maui Brewing Company Lorenzini Double IPA, with hints of tangerine and blood orange, waits on the sideline in an icy, frozen glass to wash it all down.

As I dig in, I smile to think what a wise move Schobel made in exchanging the trading floor for a smokehouse.

Fat Daddy’s Smokehouse
1913 South Kihei Road, Kihei
879-8711 •
Open daily 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. | Fat & Happy Hour: 3–5 p.m.


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