The barbecue scene in Arlington just got stronger last Saturday with the grand opening of Hurtado Barbecue.
Pitmaster Brandon Hurtado has set up shop outside of Division Brewing, located on Main Street just north of the UT-Arlington campus. They will be open on Saturdays from 11am until the meat is gone for now, though Brandon says they may expand to Sundays or Fridays in the near future.
The barbecue trailer operation is the culmination of a dream for Brandon, who owns and runs a digital marketing agency, ANKR Marketing, in his day job.
We asked Brandon how his background in marketing and advertising has helped him in the BBQ journey.
“The margins in marketing and BBQ are vastly different. Having owned my company for nearly five years, I have clients and employees to take care of, which is why I can't go full time in BBQ right now. The marketing experience has absolutely helped in the BBQ journey and I consider it a competitive edge to get the word out about our food to people who otherwise may have never known about us. I just want to feed people great food.”
The Posse’s Michael Ainsworth first put Hurtado on our radar as he tried them several times earlier this year during popups at his favorite brewery. He called their brisket as good as he’s had in Dallas, obviously others agree as Brandon has gained a strong following in a relatively short length of time.
He learned to cook from his parents and grandparents, but no one in the family had worked in a restaurant. He says, “we've always just had a passion for food. Lots of trial and error has led to what Hurtado Barbecue is today.”
As Posse readers know, our favorite food group these days is Texican-style BBQ, hands down. We think it's incredible to see the recent growth in DFW between Zavala's in Grand Prairie, Flores BBQ re-opening in Fort Worth in April, and now Hurtado Barbecue.
Brandon says, “I absolutely consider our food Texican or Tex-Mex. I'm really big on being different from everyone else, hence the smoked quail and other items. We'll have beef belly burnt ends on the menu soon as well. I love Flores and Zavala's food, Michael (Wyont of Flores) and Joe (Zavala) are great guys who I look up to.”
Besides serving the Texas BBQ staples of brisket, sausage, beef and pork ribs on Saturday, Brandon served smoked quail and pork belly burnt ends. Sides were smoked elotes, hatch chile mac and cheese, serrano lime slaw and charro beans, along with fresh tortillas, of course.
Between 250 and 300 hungry BBQ fans lined up for the grand opening, Brandon was excited for what the future holds for the young BBQ joint.
“Saturday was great - we learned a lot. This entire journey is a learning process. I'm looking at ways to increase our capacity, speed up the line and serve more people, more quickly.”
He sums up his BBQ dream like this, “Barbecue has been a blessing in my life, and one that I didn't expect to grow so quickly. I have such a passion for food and hope that shines through each time someone eats at Hurtado Barbecue. I named the company after our last name because my grandpa Robert who was the patriarch of our family, took such pride in our name and heritage. He passed in 2005 but his legacy lives on through this journey. I think he would be really proud and I know my parents are.”
Hurtado Barbecue, 506 E Main St., Arlington, 682-401-7888. Open Sat. 11am-until the meat runs out. You can pre-order online for pick up Saturday.