Beef Bootcamp 101….

Bootcamp 1As my last few weeks are winding down at Texas Beef Council, time seems to be going by even faster! Thankfully, I have been involved in so many wonderful events over this semester that I will be able to write about new events and reminisce over the next month.

Texas Beef Council and H-E-B have a great relationship. Quite a few times over this semester I have been able to participate in the H-E-B Bootcamp which is sponsored by the Texas Beef Council. This is an amazing program and every time I was involved I learned something new!

Bootcamp 2Different H-E-B’s Stores from across the State of Texas will bring in close to 20 different managers from their stores to spend a day at the Texas Beef Council. They arrive early in the morning and walk into the joy of breakfast pizza. I will never forget the first event I worked and walking into the office to the smell of the breakfast pizza. It makes my mouth water just thinking about it. If you have never made a breakfast pizza before, you should definitely try it! On our pizza we included hamburger meat, black beans, corn, pico de gallo, eggs, and lots of cheese!

After breakfast, they are given an introduction to what the Texas Beef Council is and what it is that we do. Next, our amazing Chef Tiffany comes in and does some cooking demonstrations. This part is really fun because I learn something new every time. Chef Tiffany does a pan broil, a pan fry, a stir-fry, a Mexican pot roast, and an oven finished demonstration. All of these are done with different cuts of meat and all cooked differently. Let us just say that my family is very thankful for these demonstrations as I am cooking a lot more at home now.

Bootcamp 4The participants are split up into separate groups and each group has their own work station set up. They each have different recipes on their stations and have to work together to cook it and have everyone sample it! This is also a lot of fun, as you get to watch how the members interact with each other and even get to taste and see how their final product came out.

After this, the groups are moved outside and given a Grilling 101 lesson. I promise I will write a blog about the famous Grilling 101, but our Grill Master Jerry McPherson does a phenomenal job with this, so first I have to make sure I have all the steps down perfectly! While the groups are letting their grills burn down, Chef Tiffany sits down with them and talks to them about marinade and rubs. There is a really awesome test that she does with jelly beans. The jelly bean test shows them how you can taste something first and then when you smell it, you can actually smell what it is you are tasting. For example, you can taste a sweet jelly bean, and after holding your nose, you can breathe in and know that it is a cherry flavored jelly bean! It is really neat how it works out!

After their Grilling 101, the participants go back to their groups and work stations. They have another recipe to make, which is normally a salad with Beef of course! This recipe is also for a contest, so the groups must make sure that their presentation looks amazing as well as being able to explain it really well. They are then able to eat the goodies for lunch. After the amazing lunches, they are introduced to the nutrition aspect of the program. Normally after this section, the day is over. Every participant has a full belly and definitely full of more knowledge about Beef.

Bootcamp 3Some may ask why we do this program with managers who are not in the meat department? Well, every person that we interact with can impact a potential customer. There could be times when someone who works in the floral department sees a particular cut of meat in a customer’s basket and they can offer a recommendation on how to cook that particular cut of meat.

I feel that the more promotion of beef the better. At the end of the day, it all comes back to supporting the producers that we represent. Without them, we would not be able to have the fine beef products that we currently have.

2 Corinthians 5:7 – ” For we live by faith, not by sight”


“The Rarest of Them All”

If you have never been to Austin Food & Wine Festival, I highly recommend making the trip and trying it out. I was able to attend this year with the Texas Beef Council and it was quite an eye-opening experience. There were so many different types of food and so many things that tasted so GOOD! One of my favorites had to be the pork and waffles. Yes! You read that right…… it was delicious! My reason for being at the Festival was even better.

IMG_2848This event is a brand-new event that the Texas Beef Council sponsored and we were looking for the “Best of the Best” Butcher in Texas. Not only were we able to showcase butchers and their amazing talent, we were also able to shed some light on the industry. All of the activities help consumers become aware that butchers are still out there and they are a very important part of the meat business.

IMG_2846This contest started back in March where we had three regional semifinal rounds. These rounds took place in Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio. At each of the rounds, there were four to five contestants competing. For the competition, the contestants were first given a whole shoulder clod and a top sirloin with a time amount of thirty minutes to break the meat down with cuts that they would merchandise in their store. These were cuts that would fall into the full service and self-service case. This was very interesting to watch as each competitor did different cuts because of the different types of cuts their clientele ask for. For the second part of the competition, they were given a wide range of cuts that had been laid out and then they had to properly identify the cuts. For the last part of the regional, they were given a whole strip loin and had a small amount of time to cut out ten 12oz strips that were cut to order. The contestants had a scale that they could use to weigh them if needed, but the ones that were weighed could not be counted. This was remarkable to see how many actually hit 12 oz. exactly.

IMG_2845The top winners of each regional moved on to compete in the finals. The finals were a two-day competition and took place here in Austin at the Texas Beef Council office and at the Austin Food & Wine Festival. The top three contestants were; Michael Majkszak from Majkszak Meat Market, Shawn Knowles from Old Town Market, and Bryan Butler from Salt & Time Butcher Shop. These contestants had already won $2,500 at the regional events but they were competing for $5,000 and the title of Best Butcher in Texas.

IMG_2844For the final competition, the contestants were given a full loin and had an hour to break this down to cuts that they would merchandise to their customers. This part was done at the Texas Beef Council office, where they also had to have an interview done as well. At the Austin Food & Wine Festival, the contestants were given a 103 Rib or a bone-in ribeye and they also had to break this down into cuts that they would sell to their customers. Each time this was done they had to explain to the judges exactly why they used those particular cuts versus other cuts. Once again, the contestants did a wide variety of different cuts all based on their clientele. It is pretty amazing to watch them in action and if you have never seen it before, I suggest finding some way to watch. It truly is a work of art!

IMG_2849One of the best things that came out of this contest was all the beef that was donated! After ever regional and the final, all of the beef that was broken down into cuts was then donated to the local community. Not only was the contest fun and enjoyable but we were also able to give back to the local community.

So, who won you may ask? Well, while all of the contestants are winners in my book, the best butcher is Texas is Bryan Butler from Salt & Time Butcher Shop. If you are in the area of any of these butcher shops, I suggest you stop by and meet these gentlemen, they are truly great at what they do! In the meantime, support your local butcher shop!

Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”