Father-and-son duo John and Lee Holland have come a long way since leaving Arkansas and opening their Las Vegas barbecue restaurant.
The Hollands first started their business serving barbecue from the back of their truck. Today, Rollin Smoke Barbecue has become one of Vegas' most popular barbecue joints, and in 2013 was named one of Localeats.com's Top 20 Barbecue Restaurants of 2013.
“It tastes like good ole’ homemade food,” said Susan Laub who stopped off one day for lunch.
Lee says their Southern hospitality and home-cooked menu of ribs, chicken and sides caught on --and it didn't take long before they outgrew their meals-on-wheels business.
“We needed a bigger space,” Lee said.
So in 2012, they opened a brick and mortar shop just a few blocks off the Vegas strip, which now serves hundreds of customers a day who wait in line to get their fix.
Everything at Rollin Smoke is home made. Signature dishes include BBQ Parfait, Smoked Meatloaf and the mile-high Outlaw Burger—which John created himself.
“We start this burger off with a half-pound of brisket, half pound of ground beef,” John said. “Mix that all together, a lot of spices, onions, bell peppers in there. Top it off with onion strings and the bun.”
The restaurant sells up to 50 of the customer-favorite burgers a day.
We had a bite and can attest that the burger is as tasty as they claim. The onions add a little crunch, there’s a little sweetness to it with the slaw and you can taste a hint of that smoky flavor in the meat.
Rollin Smoke’s meats are all slow-cooked for at least 16 hours, and they use hickory wood instead of mesquite for a less-smokey flavor.
Platters range in price from $9 to $20 dollars and customers can get a lot of bang for their buck because the meals can feed two or three people.
The restaurant -- featured on Animal Planet's "Tanked," the Travel Channel's "Barbecue Paradise" and National Geographic's "None of the Above" -- has become a must-do stop for locals and tourists alike.
“It doesn’t taste like the standard Vegas buffet slap-some-sauce on,” said Jenny Guenther, who made sure to visit Rollin Smoke on her visit from Colorado.
John’s tip for creating the same quality at home is patience.
“It’s all about slow and low,” John said. “Getting the flavor into the meat.”
Lee says their unique flavor is important but insists it’s their customer service that’s the key to their business.
“Southern hospitality, Southern charm,” Lee said. “We want to put a little South in their mouth.”
“I can’t think of any other place in town that’s this great,” Laub said.