According to the National Restaurant Association, about 86 percent of family dining restaurants do not have enough staff to support existing customer demand. This means chefs have to strategically plan out menu items in a way that ensures their team—sometimes inexperienced, often short-staffed—can consistently execute them.
At the same time, pent-up demand for a great eating experience remains sky-high—the same National Restaurant Association report found that 75 percent of consumers were craving dining experiences they couldn’t recreate at home. In many ways, AUSTIN BLUES® Pit Smoked Meats were created for this moment: a line of authentic, pit smoked brisket and pulled pork that require little labor yet deliver on that quintessential, authentic eating experience that can’t be easily replicated at home.
“The demand for wonderful food hasn’t changed—and diners still have high expectations,” says Blake Flores, innovation team leader at Hormel Foodservice. “The AUSTIN BLUES® product line is designed to give diners an incredible eating experience of real, Texas pit smoked barbecue all across the country. Now, if you’re an operator in Seattle or Chicago, you can give diners a real, authentic pit smoked barbecue experience without having to pay somebody to stay up all night monitoring a smoker.”
AUSTIN BLUES® Pit Smoked Meats are cooked over a unique blend of oak, hickory and pecan whole logs to give them a distinct and quality flavor profile. The line includes six different products: Whole Beef Brisket, Sliced Beef Brisket, Chopped Beef Brisket, Pulled Beef Brisket, Beef Brisket Burnt Ends, and Pulled Pork. This slideshow outlines what AUSTIN BLUES® Pit Smoked Meats can help achieve for a variety of foodservice operations.
Chefs might be wary of products that come pre-smoked, but AUSTIN BLUES® Pit Smoked Meats are cooked under the watchful eye of a pitmaster with decades of experience. Simply put, with AUSTIN BLUES® Pit Smoked Meats, Hormel Foodservice does the heavy lifting so that a restaurant’s staff doesn’t have to do it. Lamar Moore, executive chef and television personality, is one of many operators who endorses AUSTIN BLUES® Pit Smoked Meats for this very reason.
“AUSTIN BLUES® Pit Smoked Brisket makes everyone’s lives a lot better,” Moore says. “When I see the AUSTIN BLUES® product, that takes a lot of pressure off of me [and my team]. Because I’m not worried about getting up at 3 o’clock in the morning, going to the smoker, rotating meat, checking meat, allowing it to rest… I'm now trusting what this pitmaster has done.”
The team at Hormel Foodservice is the first to admit that it’s hard work creating a line of pit smoked, fully cooked meats that feel authentic to chefs and diners alike. But years and years of expertise went into selecting things like the right woods to smoke the meats on, and knowing what temperature to smoke them over, and how long it takes.
“What sets us apart from our competitors is the wonderfully unique smoke that’s delivered,” Flores says. “We don’t cut any corners. We take the time to do this right because we’ve learned that’s what matters to our operators: Delivering an authentic pit smoked Texas barbecue experience for their patrons.”
One thing chefs like Moore love about AUSTIN BLUES® Pit Smoked Meats is that the line opens up a world of innovation. While the products are perfect for a pulled pork, or brisket sandwich, Moore ticks off a list of other trendy menu ideas he’s created with AUSTIN BLUES® Pit Smoked Meats: Brisket hash, featuring pit smoked chopped brisket, sauteed with peppers, onions, chipotle, potatoes and eggs. Or a brisket breakfast sandwich, featuring a buttermilk biscuit, chipotle mayo, a runny egg and roasted red peppers. Brisket nachos, too—the possibilities are truly endless.
Isabel Arreola, assistant brand manager at Hormel Foodservice, lists some other trendy menu items enabled by the products’ versatility: a pulled pork gordita, stuffed with pulled pork and cheese, and topped with pico de gallo for a standout Mexican-American fusion dish. Or she recommends throwing burnt ends onto a cobb salad, or serving sliced brisket as an appetizer with a simple Asian glaze, topped with sesame seeds.
The point is this: AUSTIN BLUES® Pit Smoked Meats allow operators to get creative and experiment with different flavor profiles and sauces to add their own signature flair to a dish.
“One of the reasons we intentionally did not add sauces to these products is because it opens them up to that versatility,” Arreola says. “Wonderfully smoked meat can go on any part of the menu—pulled pork goes on more than just sandwiches, and chopped brisket goes on more than just a barbecue platter.”
In, Moore looks over a whole AUSTIN BLUES® Pit Smoked Beef Brisket and breaks down what he’s seeing in the product. The moment perfectly captures a chef geeking out to a favorite product—it’s obvious that there’s a science behind AUSTIN BLUES® Pit Smoked Meats that chefs like Moore deeply appreciate and respect.
“I’m looking at a nice amber color, you can tell it’s been smoked really nicely,” Moore says, surveying the brisket. “I can tell just by pressing down on it, that it’s cooked really, really nicely.”
Moore cuts into the meat.
“Cutting down into the middle—I can tell, just by hearing it, it’s like music to my ears,” he says.
For more on AUSTIN BLUES® Pit Smoked Meats, visit the AUSTIN BLUES® website.