One Year In, FM Smoke House in Las Colinas is worth a visit
Who doesn’t like to root for the little guy, the one breaking his back every day to build a business, take care of his people, cook with passion. Brian Rudolph strikes me as that kind of guy.
Brian and his wife Christi opened FM Smoke House in Las Colinas a year ago, reimagining an abandoned Bennigan’s as a Hill Country roadhouse serving the kind of comfort foods you might find in little towns across our Stuckey State.
Brian is a whoosh of movement as he seats guests, clears tables, refills drinks. “Would you like a fresh glass of tea or water to take with you?” I heard him ask. Scrappy. Passionate. Amiable.
So why did it take me a year to get back to FM Smoke House?
On two early visits, I didn’t find much to like. Overcooked brisket, tasteless pulled pork, clueless service.
“We had a few missteps when we first opened,” Brian Rudolph admits.”Our smokers weren’t calibrated correctly and people thought we were just a barbecue place, which we weren’t.”
I’m happy to report much of that has changed.
Rudolph has updated the menu, throwing out bacon-injected briskets and an attempt at sous vide barbecue. In their place: smokey, tender brisket (lean and moist), a damn good chicken fried rib-eye steak with peppery gravy and crispy crust, and pulled pork enlivened by a tangy mustard-based sauce that packed a whallop of flavor. “The only thing we don’t make from scratch right now is our buns, and I’m working to change that.”
FM Smoke House also features 42 beers on tap and a bar stocked with nearly 100 whiskeys, which comes as little surprise considering that the Rudolphs also own Holy Grail Pub in Plano.
I’m not going to tell you that FM Smoke House’s barbecue is as good as what you’ll find at Pecan Lodge, Work, Lockhart Smokehouse or Slow Bone. FM’s brisket and pork still don’t strike me as fresh-from-the-smoker. But Rudolph says he doesn’t think of FM Smoke House to be a bbq temple.
“I don’t want to be known just as a barbecue place,” says Rudolph told me, adding that his mission is to serve the same kind of roadhouse food you’d find at Smoke or Stampede 66.
FM Smoke House, 660 Walnut Ridge Drive, Irving, 972-751-6633