What a gem of a restaurant. FM Smokehouse is located in an odd little spot that does extremely well during the week, but draws to a slower pace on weekends when the business crowd flies home. This is actually the case for any of the restaurants in that corridor off 114. What makes FM Smokehouse so particularly wonderful is that, and to my surprise, it is not a BBQ restaurant. Do not get me wrong, I am a fan of very good BBQ. But FM is so much more than brisket and pulled pork, both of which they do very well. Think of FM as indigenous Texas Cuisine, much like you might find at Smoke in West Dallas, or Tim Love’s Smokehouse in Fort Worth.
At FM smoking is a technique that is implemented as necessary. There is a bodacious plate filled with pulled pork, brisket and house-made sausages, called the BBQ Trinity Plate. It will satisfy your needs when you have that hankering for smoke-soaked comfort, and is served with a different sauce blend for each protein. But you will also find solace in the Cabrito Street Tacos, or the Wild Boar Empanadas. Both of these plates jettison any thought of a cafeteria-style house of smoke where you carry your lunch not only on your tie for the rest of the day, but also as your own personal eau de perfume.
The true testament that FM Smokehouse was far removed from the genre of BBQ is the fact that they serve a mean bowl of red. The recipe is definitely in the true vein of Texas cookery as the chili is bereft of tomato and beans. What you are left with is chili in every sense of the word. There are actually two bowls to choose from. The first is a meaty brisket chili that is graced with the pleasantries that might be expected. Look for a fine grating of cheese and a dash of sour cream to warm your spirit and fend of the chill of the day. But for those wanting a brave combination of flavor, please choose the version with ghost chile. You will not suffer through a crying bowl of steaming hot peppers that will cause regret, instead, the chiles have been tempered, and the heat beaten into submission. There is not a cloying sweetness, but instead a happy layer of spice that stays amiable on your palate for a brief visit before making its way down your belly to warm your soul.
With posse in tow, we sampled further down the menu and tasted the pork chop with its sweet glaze and tender inside. The true star of day was the Brisket Chile Relleno. A harbinger of flavors that are familiar, but unique at the same time. All these dishes are complex in a way that they are house made from the start. The cabrito begins by breaking down and smoking a goat. Same treatment for the pork and so forth. The pleasure was all mine, and I soon found out why when I spotted the owners, Brian and Christi Rudolph. These folks also own the Holy Grail in Plano. I have always appreciated the Holy Grail for its clever cookery and insane beer and whiskey collection. The Holy Grail is also home to the very bst Monte Cristo in Dallas. There are many of the same elements at FM, like the great beer and the excellent innovative food.
I will be back for an evening repast where I can enjoy the house cocktails and sample through the many local beers on tap.