2019 Houston Rising Stars Community Roaster Patrick Feges and Chef Erin Smith of Feges BBQ

2019 Houston Rising Stars Community Roaster Patrick Feges and Chef Erin Smith of Feges BBQ

Although husband and wife team Patrick Feges and Erin Smith now own and operate their own fast-casual barbecue concept, the duo was not always toting a flame for smoke. Smith, a Houstonian, began her career in fine dining, graduating from California Culinary Academy in 2007. She moved to New York to work for Thomas Keller and Jonathan Benno at Per Se, followed by positions at Italian Wine Merchants and Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca. In 2010, Smith returned to Houston and became executive chef of Plonk! Beer and Wine Bistro. She then designed the menu for Blacksmith coffee shop before signing on as culinary director for Bobby Heugel’s former restaurant group, Clumsy Butcher, overseeing the kitchens of Houston staples like Anvil Bar & Refuge, The Hay Merchant, and Underbelly. While at Underbelly, Smith was introduced to then line cook Feges.

While recovering from injuries sustained during the Iraq War (earning him a Purple Heart), Feges began experimenting with a worn out Brinkmann smoker. He chased his newfound barbecue passion to the Texas Culinary Academy in Austin. He returned to his Houston home and in 2012, equipped with his very own smoking rig, launched Feges BBQ as a catering company and pop-up. Meanwhile. Feges trained at Brennan’s, Killen’s Barbecue, Southern Goods, and Underbelly.

Before joining Feges BBQ, in 2014, Smith became executive chef of Houston’s JW Marriott Downtown, followed by a temporary break from the kitchen as a sommelier at wine bar Camerata. In 2018, Smith and Feges gave Feges BBQ a permanent home at Houston’s Greenway Plaza food court. Erin Smith is one of the founding members of I’ll Have What She’s Having, a foundation that raises awareness and funds in support of women’s health.