What’s Normal These Days?
After some 15 months of confusion, I’m expecting normalcy back in our lives soon, as I try to be positive about everything. To a number of us, normalcy means everything is back to what it was a year and a half ago. Lately, I’m beginning to realize this may not ever happen.
One of the biggest changes we have seen is how the labor force is so different. A good number of people realized they liked working from home in sweats and decided they wanted a house in the suburbs or wanted to live in a rural setting while working from home. We found this out big time in the Mountain States.
We hope the new normal will not be high unemployment. First, the country can’t afford to keep paying the unemployed an equivalent of $17 an hour and second, America needs to get back to manufacturing products so we are not as independent on other countries for goods.
We like to see the label “Product of the USA” and other broad U.S. origin labeling claims for meat products. If it has to be source verified, so be it. Across America, we are proud of the meat products we produce. Why should hamburger from Uganda be mixed with U.S. beef fat and called “Product of the USA?” Foreign beef, or any type of meat, should not have the USA label on it.
The U.S. had an all-time record of beef exports this past May, and this tells us consumers in other countries like U.S. beef. Why shouldn’t they? It is the best in the world, and the same goes for lamb.
A beef product that is gaining popularity is a hot dog that tastes like a steak. Reading an article from Drovers, the product is quite a success story.
In 2016, Patrick Montgomery started raising wagyu cattle in Missouri. He was developing a market for his prime steaks and realized there were a lot of trimmings left.
Montgomery thought about marketing the trimmings as high-end hamburgers, but instead started using them in hot dogs. At first, the hot dogs didn’t go over too well. Then, he started sending the hot dogs out to food publications for review and everyone really liked them.
Food and Wine Magazine gave the KC Cattle Company’s hot dogs a great review. They wrote it was basically like eating a steak in a bun, or an elevated “tube steak,” if you will. The flavor had real depth and smoky undertones, and the texture and color – darker and more brown than red – was different than most hot dogs, in a good way.
The hot dogs caught on so quickly it took some time to meet demand, but both steaks and hot dogs are doing great. Now, they are mixing in some bacon ends and selling them as brats.
This story parallels the success of the beef processing plant in Cody where they also started with high-end steaks and now their big market for all the trimmings is beef jerky. It is another successful beef story and we hope there are more.
The U.S. lamb and beef industry are not going back to the normal way. There are some exciting happenings out there that we hope will be the new normal.