Outlaws adjust in face of adversity
Many people lost their jobs during the pandemic.
Some were lucky to find new ones, while others made the leap into something they had always wanted to do.
Nate Arrington and his father John Arrington used their layoffs from the telecom industry as an opportunity to continue a family legacy, barbecue. Many know their barbecue operation on U.S. 377 north of Dennard’s as Southern Outlaw BBQ.
Nate’s grandfather, William Arrington, had a successful barbecue catering venture off U.S. 380 from 1996 to 2014, when he retired.
“Everybody knew who he was,” Nate said.
Southern Outlaw BBQ’s Facebook page explains the origins of the recipes.
“My grandfather studied culinary arts in TDC during the 60’s. Rheumatoid arthritis retired him at the age of 32, allowing him to focus on two things he loved the most ... smoking meat and connecting with his community.”
Nate said after his and his father’s layoffs, he came back to the Dallas area from North Carolina while his father returned from Missouri.
“And I said, ‘Hey, let’s build a smoker and let’s get this going. There’s no better time,’” Nate said.
Once they got started, they used his grandfather’s original recipes that had been tried and true in his success.
“We knew we had a good product going into it because we had been witness to serving it for years. This is something my dad would help my grandfather with,” he said.
Nate said they drove up and down U.S. 377, and their location stood out to them because even vehicles as large as 18 wheelers would have enough room to turn around. Once he turned his home kitchen into a commercial one, became licensed as a catering company, and got the permissions and permitting from the Texas Department of Transportation, they began their venture.
They focus mainly on catering. With the catering side of the business, they attend events or produce preorders for personal events that people pick up from their location.
“We do a lot of car shows, biker rallies, stuff like that. A lot of those things,” Nate said.
Their focus on catering makes their appearance along U.S. 377 sporadic. Nate said they do not have a set schedule at the location.
He said the choice was a difficult one when it came to being consistently in one spot versus catering and attending events. He said they know that having a location be consistent is key; however, most of their profit is from catering.
“It takes our schedule and makes it kind of random, if you will,” he said. Their weekends continue to steadily be booked with events and catering now that more and more events are returning.
“There’s sometimes a Wednesday or Thursday that I’ll be off doing a company lunch, but that’s kind of rare,” he said.
Roadside they mainly sell meats, sandwiches and drinks.
They get the usual rushes for lunch and dinner. However, his dinner rush happens earlier because people stop to buy items on the way home.
Their most popular item is brisket.
“People in the north Dallas area, they love brisket,” he said.
The plan is to continue to keep on catering and serving from U.S. 377 and eventually having an actual store front.
“That post just kind of works for us,” Nate said. “The community has come out and connected with us out there.
“We’ll stay on 377 as long as the community keeps wanting us there.”