Wayne Schafer

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Wayne Schafer
Born (1963-08-28) August 28, 1963 (age 52)
Baltimore, Maryland
Occupation Barbecue Pitmaster
Employer Big Fat Daddy's
Known for Baltimore Pit Beef and Dry Rub Seasoning
Spouse(s) Cindy Fahnestock-Schafer
Website bigfatdaddys.com

Wayne Mark Schafer (born August 28, 1963) is an East Coast barbecue pitmaster and owner of Big Fat Daddy's concession stands and catering.

Schafer is a lifetime member of the Kansas City Barbeque Society. He and his business have been featured in more than 40 publications online and in print, as well as national TV appearances. Rachael Ray Magazine[1] featured Big Fat Daddy's for beef in Maryland. Schafer is considered an authority on dry rub seasoning and Baltimore Pit Beef.[2] Schafer has also gained publicity for his Maryland Crab Dip in a Bread Boule appearing on Season One of Food Network's Carnival Eats. For 2015, York, Pennsylvania Convention and Visitor's Bureau cited Big Fat Daddy's facility a "Made in America Factory Tour Stop"[3] in conjunction with induction of Big Fat Daddy's into the Southern Food and Beverage Museum.[4]

Big Fat Daddy's[edit]

Schafer learned the festival business from his stepfather in the late 1970s while working for food concessionaire, Roban Foods. Soon after high school he started J&W Foods while working in Baltimore restaurants. Schafer's earliest print article in the Baltimore Sun Archives Maryland Section, circa 1984, shows him as selling primarily carnival type food such as Italian sausage, pizza, and onion rings. The menu later expanded to include gyros, various meat sandwiches, souvlaki, lamb sausage, cheesesteak, hot dogs, hamburgers, and soft drinks.[citation needed] J&W Foods was located in Overlea, Maryland and later moved to Fawn Grove, Pennsylvania. Schafer wanted an alternative to the greasy sandwich steak being sold at fairs and festivals, and began experimenting with various cuts of beef.

Wayne used his concessions knowledge to reinvent the business, and chose the name Big Fat Daddy's. The business still primarily worked concessions at fairs and festivals but featured beef and barbecue as the main attraction, even on the Cheesesteaks. The Schafer brothers became partners in a pit beef restaurant out of a small roadside shack on Route 40 in Baltimore, a stretch of roadway known as "Pit Beef Row"[5] and considered a part of Baltimore history. It is reported that the stand closed sometime in 2003, but the building still remains[citation needed] and has since been operational as a pit beef stand under many different names.

The Schafer brothers were the subject of many articles and books, particularly for their origination of a dry rub seasoning and the way in which the pit beef was grilled at high heat over hardwood. Feature articles about the style of beef appeared in Saveur Magazine[6] suggesting it was considered Baltimore's version of barbecue. Soon to follow came Baltimore-born author Steven Raichlen whose featured article in the New York Times gave away the base recipe for the dry rub seasoning.[7] Raichlen featured Big Fat Daddy's recipes many times thereafter, reprinting them in his Barbecue Bible series of cookbooks.[8]

The Schafer brothers continued to operate at fairs, festivals, and catering events. Both operated separately and individually as Big Fat Daddy's and Brian's Big Fat Daddy's but problems ensued due to Brian's failing health and business disagreements.[citation needed] Court transcripts show Wayne Schafer gained full ownership of Big Fat Daddy's in 2005 after a lengthy legal battle.[citation needed] Brian's company was then renamed "Big Boy Foods" and operated at fairs and festivals until Brian's passing in 2014.[9]

Schafer has spoken out against beef company monopolies and the use of artificial growth hormones,[10] and has encouraged food vendors to "go greener". He has a large Twitter following and blogs about barbecue.[citation needed]

After nearly three decades serving the Baltimore (Rosedale) community, Big Fat Daddy's moved its operations base to Manchester, Pennsylvania in 2012,[11] according to sources in York, Pennsylvania.[12] Schafer does catering events and concessions operations in seven states, teaches cooking classes and does special appearances.

In November 2014, Big Fat Daddy's was inducted into the Southern Food and Beverage Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana, as part of its permanent exhibit of the "Trail of Smoke and Fire", based solely on Schafer's contribution to Maryland's culinary history.[4]

Food Network: Carnival Eats[edit]

Schafer's own 'Crab Dip in a Bread Boule' recipe was chosen to air on season one of the Cooking Channel's Carnival Eats television show. Schafer is seen showing host Noah Cappe how to make his famous Maryland recipe. The episode was filmed at Viva Vienna! festival in Virginia.[13]


Schafer's family dedicates Mother's Day to raising money for Bell Socialization's Shelter in York, Pennsylvania.[14]

Schafer ran several Hogging Up BBQ & Music Festivals,[15] the first of which was held in 2013 in Clear Brook, Virginia, to benefit four non-profit groups.[16] The festival is also a Kansas City Barbeque Society sanctioned event.[15][17]

Big Fat Daddy's was named a 2015 York, Pennsylvania Factory Tour Stop by the York Convention and Visitor's Bureau.[18] The mini tour of the Pitmaster Facility and view of his mini grilling collection features history and artifacts of Swift and Company and C.F. Sauer Company. Schafer announced that his 2015 tour would be donating a portion of each admission to support Bell Family Shelter.[19]

Personal life[edit]

Schafer began working for his parents' concessions company, Roban Foods. This training helped him start his own business soon after high school. Schafer attended Towson High School and grew up in the Towson and Rosedale areas of Baltimore County.[citation needed]

While working his first company, J&W Foods, Schafer also worked at many local restaurants in the Baltimore area, including Gibby's, Chiapparelli's, and Tully's. At one point in life, Schafer obtained his Commercial Driver's License and considered a change of career from the hectic concessions business, but disliked the long time away from his family during a stint with Schneider.[citation needed]

Schafer is a fan of the Baltimore Orioles and Baltimore Ravens. He cooks for enjoyment and although he is a member of the Kansas City Barbeque Society and Mid Atlantic Barbecue Association, he does not compete. He enjoys fishing and boating.[citation needed]

Schafer has three children from previous marriages.[citation needed] He resides in Baltimore, Maryland and Danforth, Maine with third wife Cindy Fahnestock-Schafer, also known as author Ira Mency.[20] Schafer's wife owns the trademark rights to the "Got beef?" logo on clothing items[21] as well as on housewares and novelty items.[22]


  1. ^ "Every Day with Rachael Ray" (Grilling Issue). June–July 2010: 61. 
  2. ^ "Complete Guide to Baltimore Dry Rub Seasoning". Big Fat Daddy's. Retrieved March 23, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Visit York". Retrieved November 29, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "SOFAB Announcement". November 2014. 
  5. ^ Tom Scocca (September 19, 2001). "Cow Palaces: Cruising Baltimore's Pit-Beef Row". Baltimore City Paper. Retrieved March 23, 2012. 
  6. ^ James Oseland (1999). "Baltimore's Barbecue". Saveur Magazine. Retrieved March 23, 2012. 
  7. ^ Steven Raichlen (June 28, 2000). "How to Say Barbeque in Baltimore". New York Times. Retrieved March 23, 2012. 
  8. ^ Steven Raichlen (2003). BBQ USA. Workman. pp. 171–173. ISBN 978-0761120155. Retrieved March 23, 2013. Here's the basic rub used by Baltimore's Big Fat Daddy's pit master (or as close as I can get to it). 
  9. ^ "Big Boy Foods". Manta Media. Retrieved May 18, 2012. 
  10. ^ Stephanie Shapiro (July 9, 2008). "Foods Of Our Own". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved March 23, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Restaurant inspections for 3/17/2012". York Dispatch. March 17, 2012. Retrieved March 23, 2012. 
  12. ^ "York County health inspections for March 16". York Daily Record. March 19, 2012. Retrieved March 23, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Food Network's Carnival Eats, Season One, Episode CCCAR-102H". 
  14. ^ "Bell Socialization at the Olde York Street Fair". 
  15. ^ a b Victoria Kidd (May–June 2013). "Places to Go Hogging Up BBQ Festival". Around the Panhandle. pp. 28–31. Retrieved May 31, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Hogging Up 3 Day Music & BBQ Festival Chooses Winchester, Virginia Will Benefit 4 Non Profits" (Press release). PR Buzz. April 29, 2013. Retrieved May 31, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Hogging Up BBQ & Music Festival". Retrieved May 31, 2013. 
  18. ^ "York PA Convention and Visitors Bureau Factory Tour Stop". Retrieved October 30, 2014. 
  19. ^ "Big Fat Daddy's Factory Tour". Retrieved October 30, 2014. 
  20. ^ Sunshine Daniels (May 24, 2010). "Ira Mency Interview: Art, Journalism and the Quest to Free Damien Echols of the West Memphis Three". Yahoo! Voices. Retrieved May 14, 2012. 
  21. ^ "Trademarkia, got beef?". Retrieved September 23, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Trademarkia, got beef?". Retrieved September 23, 2014.