Hurtado brings barbecue to familiar spot

April 7, 2024
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Hurtado Barbecue Mansfield

226 North Walnut Creek Drive


Open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. daily

By Amanda Rogers

Mansfield Record

A new restaurant in town is raising lots of smoke, but it’s also a familiar sight at a familiar site.

Opening March 4, Hurtado Barbecue brought the newest edition of its state and nationally recognized barbecue to the spot that had been Big D Barbeque for more than a decade.

Big D regulars will recognize a familiar face when they walk in the door, general manager Gary Giddings, who had been a limited partner at Big D.

But Hurtado’s is not traditional barbecue, Giddings explained.

“A lot of our items have a spicy Tex-Mex flair,” Giddings said. “It’s Mexicue.”

Area manager Creighton Barnhill shows off Old Hickory.

Hurtado’s combination of barbecue and Tex-Mex began with the original restaurant in Arlington, expanded to Fort Worth, then to the World Series champion Texas Rangers’ home base, Globe Life Field. Texas Monthly ranked Hurtado Barbecue as one of the top 50 in the Lone Star State, while Southern Living named it in the top 50 in the country.

The brisket is by far the favorite dish, Giddings said, but the chicken with a mesquite-smoked jalapeno glaze is winning fans.

“The skin has a really nice medium heat,” Giddings said.

The birria tacos are also a favorite, with a corn tortilla dipped in chili spice and fried on a flat top until it bubbles, then packed with mozzarella, brisket, chopped cilantro, onion and house salsa verde. The pork ribs, pulled pork and pork belly burnt ends that taste like “meat candy” are also fan favs. On weekends, the menu adds prime beef ribs.

“Everything we do is made in house with all fresh ingredients sourced by the best vendors,” Giddings said. And customers have noticed, raving about the Texas Twinkie (a jalapeno packed with house-made pimento cheese and tons of brisket wrapped in bacon and dusted with house pork run), Hatch mac & cheese made with roasted poblano peppers in a cream sauce and the Mexican street corn, elote.

Meat smokes in the Old Hickory pit.

Mansfield’s Hurtado also serves craft beer along with some national brands.

The Mansfield restaurant at 226 North Walnut Creek Drive looks familiar from the outside, but the inside has had a major renovation, with new wood booths and refinished wood tables. Only two things remain from Big D Barbecue: the bench near the entrance made from a Ford pickup tailgate and Old Hickory, the barbecue pit behind the counter.

Big D, which opened in April 2013, closed in November 2023 after being hit hard by the pandemic, Giddings said.

“We never recovered after COVID,” he said. “We weren’t able to pay people or find people.”

Former Big D customers were excited to see barbecue return to the spot, and even more people were excited to see Hurtado Barbecue come to town. The restaurant has drawn customers from South Arlington, Burleson, Midlothian, Waxahachie, Cedar Hill and Duncanville.

Crew member Austin Torres gets ready for business.

“We underestimated how many in South Arlington would come,” said Creighton Barnhill, Hurtado’s area general manager. “On the first Saturday, the line was almost down to Juany’s (the hair stylist shop down doors down from Hurtado). This location is awesome for us.”

Customer service is also important, Giddings said.

“I’ve made it important to make sure to tell my employees that customer service is the top priority,” he said. “If there’s ever an issue, we are going to make it right.”

Giddings said he is happy to be back in Mansfield, and to the restaurant’s customers.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity that Mansfield has afforded us, being so welcoming,” he said. “Mansfield has embraced us.”

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Mansfield, Texas, is a booming city, nestled between Fort Worth and Dallas, but with a personality all its own. The city’s 76,247 citizens enjoy an award-winning school district, vibrant economy, historic downtown, prize-winning park system and community focus spread across 37 square miles. The Mansfield Record is dedicated to reporting city and school news, community happenings, police and fire news, business, food and restaurants, parks and recreation, library, historical archives and special events. The city’s only online newspaper launched in September 2020 and will offer introductory advertising rates for the first three months at three different rates.

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