As a native Texan, born and raised, I can tell you with absolute certainty, there are five rites of passage for a Texas boy to become a Texas man: 1.) Drink his first cold beer.
2.) Shoot his first gun.
3.) Catch his first fish.
4.) Buy his first pair of boots.
5.) Have the tools and know-how to make a kickass BBQ. On January 13th, 2019, at the age of 28 years young, I was finally able to complete my journey into Texas manhood by crossing off #5: a journey I wouldn’t have been able to complete without the assistance and tutelage of the unrivaled staff at BBQ Outfitters in Southlake. I’ll never forget the first day I stepped foot into BBQ Outfitters. It was a cold, gloomy Saturday afternoon in Highland Village, as I was making my way from store to store, searching for the perfect pellet smoker. Just as I was about to call it quits and succumb to the simple, mundane flavors of Dickies BBQ for the rest of my life, I was lifted by my nostrils by way of the most mouthwatering aroma I’ve ever had the pleasure of smelling. Like Toucan Sam, I felt compelled to follow my nose to the source of this intoxicating fragrance. For miles I traveled, first through Flower Mound, then through Grapevine. Then, like some sort of unparalleled sorcery, the smell had intensified beyond my wildest comprehension — I knew I was almost there. As I pulled into the parking lot of BBQ Outfitters, butterflies began to multiply in the depths of my stomach, and I felt the child within me become giddy as can be. This was it. I was not just about to become the proud owner of A smoker, but THE smoker. One to rule them all. I walked through the door and was immediately floored by the presentation of their store. They had elegantly designed outdoor kitchens, a plethora of pristine smokers and grills, more BBQ accessories than I had even known existed, and more! Not long after I retrieved my jaw from the floor, I was greeted by Dean. Little did I know, this man was about to become my BBQ/pellet smoker sensei. Following an introduction and a firm handshake, we dove into a 45-minute conversation, covering the ins and outs of the Yoder pellet grills. Dean was knowledgable, passionate, and personable — all three traits exuded in every second of our interaction. His genuine excitement towards their product selection made me excited as a potential buyer, while his vast knowledge of the industry and competitors products provided me with the confidence to make what some would consider an exorbitant purchase in comparison to some of the popular, inexpensive alternatives. Dean was less of a salesman, and more like a good friend who wanted to make sure I got exactly what I wanted and needed. I didn’t realize customer service of this magnitude was even a thing anymore in 2019, but Dean single-handedly revived my faith in the retail experience in a single interaction. It goes without saying, I purchased a shiny, new Yoder YS640 pellet grill on a silver competition cart, alongside a ton of accessories (grill cover, two-piece diffuser, rubs, pellets, grill grate kit, etc.). They even threw in a free bag of pellets! After a couple of days, I hooked up a trailer and headed to pick up my new smoker. Dean was there to meet me and help me load everything up. He, along with another fantastic employee who’s name I didn’t catch, loaded the smoker, strapped it down, and even employed some bubble-wrap foil material to protect my new smoker from any kind of marring during transport. When I got my smoker home, I enlisted the help of my father-in-law to haul this heavy thing to my back patio. The moment he laid eyes on my smoker, he turned green with envy. I told him all about my experience at BBQ Outfitters, and there’s no doubt he will be a customer of the future, as will any and all of my friends and family who ask about any of the amazing fare I prepare for them on my Yoder! Thank you so much, Dean, and the rest of the family at BBQ Outfitters in Southlake. You have a customer for life!