You might not think Ethiopian and Texan cuisine would mix, but when couple Fasicka and Patrick Hicks combined their recipes, they created an international sensation.
Their restaurant, Smoke N Ash, is in a small strip mall in Arlington, Texas, and has everything that would be expected to be found in a barbecue place—like ribs and brisket.
The blend of Southwest U.S and East Africa is deliciously unique and represents their own roots.
Patrick Hicks is a born-and-bred Texan from Waco. Fasicka Hicks is from Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. They met in 1997 after she immigrated to Texas.
Both of them liked to cook, and Patrick’s barbecue became a favorite of Fasicka’s Ethiopian family. Seeing her family’s delight gave Fasicka an idea.
“And I was tellin’ him, ‘Hey, you know what? We can make money sellin’ this food.’ So we bought a trailer and made some extra money on the weekends. Before we know it, we start forming lines because people look forward to our cooking every weekend,” Fasicka recalled.
The idea soon blossomed into Smoke N Ash, but it remained traditional Texas BBQ until 2019 when Fasicka decided to add Ethiopian options to the menu — and they soon became popular items.
With customers enjoying the two tastes together, the couple decided just having the meal share the same plate wasn’t enough. They decided to combine the flavors in the same recipe.
To guarantee authenticity, Fasicka’s sister gathers Ethiopian spices in Addis Ababa and ships them to Texas—the result is perhaps the only Ethiopian-Texas barbecue on the planet.
The Texas-Ethiopian platter is the signature dish at Smoke N Ash. American barbecue staples like brisket to catfish to Texas toast, as well as Ethiopian dishes like chicken doro wat are on the menu.
The couple says the success behind their restaurant isn’t the food but what it means to them.
“When it comes to food for me, it’s just about togetherness. You work on it with love and care, and you make it to be the best thing on the plate, on the table,” Fasicka said.