Continued demand for Texas barbecue fueling beef consumption

COLLEGE STATION – Continued strong demand for Texas barbecue will help fuel the need for steady supplies of beef in 2019, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service livestock economist.

“I definitely think barbecue demand is driving the demand for beef,” said Dr. David Anderson, who gave an outlook presentation on a variety of meats on barbecue restaurant menus at the Fifth Annual Texas Barbecue Town Hall Meeting recently at Texas A&M University in College Station.

The Fifth Annual Texas Barbecue Town Hall Meeting was held recently at Texas A&M University in College Station. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Blair Fannin)

Anderson said the overarching themes going into 2019 are increased consumer demand and growing beef supplies from an expanding cow herd.

“I think we will have more beef cow production next year with growing beef supplies, yet continued demand,” he said.

U.S. cow inventory was at 31.7 million head for 2018, up 1.6 percent for the year, he said. Steer dressed weights did not show increases as they have in years past.

“Animals aren’t staying in feedlots longer and getting heavier, they are being pulled on through,” he said. “What it means is demand for beef is there and those cattle are moving, not standing there adding more gain in the feedlot.”

Another trend Anderson said is fewer cattle grading USDA choice.

Pork chops along with beef steak were served to participants at the recent Texas Barbecue Town Hall meeting at Texas A&M University in College Station. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Blair Fannin)

“There were fewer graded choice in about the June period of this year,” he said. “Fewer are grading choice compared to this time a year ago. There’s a relationship between weights and grade.”

The faster they bring those animals through, the less time they have to put on weight, Anderson said.

“We’ve actually had larger supplies of prime meat than choice from a year ago. I think over the long term, we’ve got a lot of consumers wanting a higher quality product. Not only are we producing that, we are producing what people want at the same time.”

Daniel Vaughn, Texas Monthly magazine barbecue editor, discussed several ways for barbecue restaurant owners to market their menu items through social media. Vaughn has traveled extensively throughout Texas, visiting barbecue restaurants to compile the magazine’s annual top restaurants in the Lone Star State.

During those travels, he has sampled countless slices of barbecue brisket, ribs and side dishes. From serving barbecue sandwiches on Texas toast to offering customers a specialty line of in-house smoked sausage, Vaughn offered several suggestions to help restaurant owners make customers want to drive hundreds of miles to experience their food.

A beef grading and pork cutout demonstration was led by Dr. Davey Griffin, AgriLife Extension meat specialist, and Ray Riley, manager of the Rosenthal Meat Center at Texas A&M.

Dr. Jeff Savell, E.M. “Manny” Rosenthal Chair in the department of animal science at Texas A&M University, served as host of the Fifth Annual Texas Barbecue Town Hall Meeting at Texas A&M University in College Station. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Blair Fannin)

Russell Roegels, owner of Roegels Barbecue in Houston, slices beef steak at the Fifth Annual Texas Barbecue Town Hall Meeting at Texas A&M University in College Station.  (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Blair Fannin)

The meeting was sponsored by the E.M. “Manny” Rosenthal Chair in the department of animal science at Texas A&M University. Dr. Jeff Savell, Rosenthal Chair, served as host with assistance from students Brogan Horton, Eric Hamilton, Jason Shamburger, Ty Robertson, Devon King, Steven Mancillas, Holly Sanders, Kenna Turner and Wilsey Windler.

Lunch was cooked onsite by John Brotherton, Brotherton’s Black Iron Barbecue, and Russell and Misty Roegels, Roegels Barbecue. The group prepared beef steaks, pork chops, sides and dessert for the participants.

“We greatly appreciate everyone who helped prepare and serve the lunch for the town hall meeting,” Savell said. “We thank everyone who came to the town hall meeting, and we look forward to working with the great folks who prepare Texas barbecue.”

For more on Texas A&M barbecue educational programs, visit https://bbq.tamu.edu/ .

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