Jim’s Smokehouse moves north on RM 620

Jim’s Smokehouse moves from Marshall Ford Food Mart near Mansfield Dam to Rock House Trailer Park near the intersection of RM 620 and RM 2222.

Jim’s Smokehouse recently moved to the Rock House Trailer Park near the intersection of RM 620 and RM 2222. 

Owner and pitmaster Brad Yerkes is a longtime River Ridge resident and shared about how Jim’s Smokehouse got started and about its expansion this year in this Q&A.

1) How and when did Jim’s SmokeHouse get started? 

A true Austinite, I grew up in South Austin. Summers when I was a young boy, my brother and I used to go down to Rockport and visit my grandparents, “Papaw” (Jim Yerkes), and “Mimaw” (Mickey Yerkes). They owned a successful BBQ restaurant from 1970 to 1985, and my brother and I would often work there, helping wherever was needed. I was always most interested in how he managed to smoke the meats. Their restaurant, named after my Papaw, was called “Jim’s Smokehouse.” 

2) What is your career background?

Those summer memories stuck with me, and I ended up in the restaurant business after high school. I helped open Mezzaluna in the late 80’s before going to upstate New York to further my culinary knowledge. In 1993, I graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in upstate New York and returned to Austin. I was the chef at Siena for several years. Then I got out of the restaurant business for a while and raised a family. I have lived in the River Ridge neighborhood for about 17 years now, and over the years, I always enjoyed cooking and smoking meats for my family and friends. Now my kids are grown, and it’s time to follow my calling. I want to bring my version of Jim’s Smokehouse to Central Texas.

My trailer was at Marshall Ford Food Mart near Mansfield Dam for 4.5 years and just opened a Spicewood location at 21605 Hwy 71 about four months ago. Then about two weeks ago we got the opportunity to move our 620 location into the Mighty Fine spot next to the Rock House bar. We are super excited, not just about the location, but the opportunity to collaborate with another fantastic local owned business, Rock House!!

3)  What’s the most challenging part of running a food trailer?

The most challenging part is it is a small area and a lot going on, so you have to be very efficient and organized in order to get the quality and consistency that is expected from you. 

4) What’s the best part of owning a food trailer?  

One of the great parts of having a food truck is that you can get a food truck open with a lot less overhead than brick and mortar. But the best part for me is the face time with the customers. I take their orders, cook the food, and deliver the order all while interacting with the customers. I think that is one of the reasons people like us so much. It reminds them of those memories of sitting around with loved ones much like my brothers and I have of our grandparents. 

The most popular item is the De Leon Taco which has brisket, avocado, pico de gallo, tomatillo sauce and cotija cheese. The brisket and the baby back ribs are a close 2nd and the two-meat plate with sides is always a crowd pleaser. If you still managed to have room after all that, our key lime pie is fantastic.