Christopher and Andrea Archambeault’s relationship is built on barbecue. When they met in 2018, they shared their food-related interests with each other. She was into cake pops, he had a nacho restaurant dream, and they both loved going out for barbecue. When things got serious and Andrea moved in with Christopher, she was unhappy with his grill situation, so she bought herself a combination smoker and grill. She did the grilling and encouraged Christopher to learn how to run the smoker. “Some of the stuff that came off of there was questionable, but he just kept going,” Andrea said. A few months ago, their work paid off, and they made their restaurant goal—minus the cake pops and nachos—a reality when Beault’s (pronounced like Bo’s) Backyard BBQ opened in Sherman.

Christopher grew up in the DFW area, and has fond memories of sharing barbecue with his dad at the Bar-B-Q Barn and Colter’s Bar-B-Q in Plano. After having been scarred by the options in Boston, Andrea had a different attitude about barbecue when she moved to Texas eleven years ago. “I hated barbecue,” she said, having known it only as scorched meat covered in sauce. Then she went to Hutchins BBQ in McKinney. It was difficult to comprehend the bounty on her plate—it didn’t look like any barbecue she’d had before. “This is like magic melting in my mouth,” Andrea remembers thinking during that meal. She was hooked.

Earlier this year, the couple decided it was time to test the waters of running their own business, and they leaned toward catering, which allowed them to continue their day jobs. (Christopher is a car mechanic and Andrea designs probe cards for laser testing.) They talked with Jimmy and Chrissy Clover at Fine BBQ in Sherman about their operation, and asked them about local commissary kitchens. There weren’t any in the area, but the Archambeaults didn’t need one after all. A month later, Fine BBQ went up for sale, and the Archambeaults saw their chance. The Clovers “literally gave us the keys with almost no money,” Andrea said. They’re making payments as they go on the building and the pit room next to it, along with the smoker inside. Jimmy gave Christopher some pointers, and three weeks later, Beault’s Backyard BBQ was ready for service.

The structure, which looks like a portable classroom, sits on the edge of a shopping center parking lot. No seating is available, so you’ll need to travel with your takeout order or eat it on your trunk like I did. The baby back ribs are a good place to start. Customers overwhelmingly chose the smaller ribs when Beault’s offered them alongside the spare ribs, so the couple dropped the spares from the menu. These ribs are tender with a good bark and a savory rub—no sweet glaze here. Dunk them in the barbecue sauce, which gets its sugary kick from Dr Pepper syrup, if you must.

The brisket showed promise but needed more time in the smoker. The fatty slices had too much unrendered fat, so I preferred the lean side, which was on the verge of tender with a peppery fat cap. As the couple developed the menu, Christopher tried several seasoning variations. They settled on a slather of mustard, a layer of salt, and a layer of their own salt-free seasoning blend with a black pepper base. If anything, they could be more generous with the salt. Even the brined half chicken needed more, but it was still incredibly juicy, and the rub, which was heavy on the ginger, was a nice change of pace.

Beault's Backyard BBQ
Half chicken, brisket, and ribs. Photograph by Daniel Vaughn
Beault's Backyard BBQ
Mint chocolate chip cake. Photograph by Daniel Vaughn

Christopher uses his beef trimmings for house-made sausage links. They’re a work in progress when it comes to texture, but the seasonings are spot on, and I enjoyed the subtle heat of the jalapeño cheese version. Christopher adds some extra pecan and oak smoke flavor by cold smoking the cheddar before adding it in. The sausage comes with brisket and ribs on the well-priced Trinity Plate, which has two sides as well for just $18.

I didn’t try any of the hot sides such as the pinto beans or the mac and cheese that Christopher swears by. It was hot outside, so the trio of cold sides (all vegan) sounded like a better fit. The rainbow slaw, which features an oil-and-vinegar dressing, gets its color from the bell peppers, red cabbage, and parsley. In the potato salad, smashed, skin-on spuds are tumbled with olive oil, herbs, and red onion for one of the most refreshing iterations I’ve tried. The simple cucumber and tomato salad was also a winner. And don’t skip the garlicky house-made pickles.

Beault’s is a family-run business, and there’s more to it than Andrea and Christopher. His sister, Adrian Haney, keeps the books in order and makes some of desserts, including sheet cake, strawberry cake, and peach cobbler cake (two options are available every day). Their mother, Shirley Archambeault, is also a baker, and it was her mint chocolate chip cake that had me giggling with joy in my driver’s seat. I had left it on dashboard while enjoying the barbecue, so the Andes mints on top were nearly melted over the bright-green icing. The incredibly moist chocolate cake underneath had a hint of mint in it too. It seems like an obvious combination of flavors for cake given the popularity of the ice cream, but I don’t ever remember trying it before. In this case, I’ll never forget my first.

Beault’s is located right in the heart of brown gravy sauce territory, and Fine BBQ had a very good version, so customers have been relentlessly requesting it. Neither Christopher nor Andrea were familiar with it, so they tried to mimic the version from Fine BBQ, though it requires a whole lot of brisket drippings. Christopher said his brisket cooking method doesn’t capture juices in the same quantity, but he is now making small batches of brown gravy sauce. It’s not on the menu, and when it’s gone it’s gone, so get there early if that’s what you crave.

The Archambeaults have limited their hours to just Thursday through Saturday to allow for their regular jobs and family time on Sunday. Beault’s will make a good stop for Dallasites headed to Lake Texoma, and for locals looking for a complete barbecue meal, with or without the gravy.

Beault’s Backyard BBQ
1743 Texoma Parkway, Sherman
Phone: 903-328-6116
Hours: Thursday–Saturday 11–6
Pitmaster: Christopher Archambeault
Method: Oak and pecan in an offset smoker
Year opened: 2022