Sourcing BBQ competition meats. It’s a mystery for some, and a flat out pain in the ass for most. Especially those who are only a few years into the sport of competitive BBQ. Sure, there are a few go to specialty sources for the higher end cuts of BBQ meat, specifically online retailers like Snake River Farms, for instance. However, for the value conscious BBQ Pitmaster who wants to up their game without burning through their wallets, locating consistent suppliers of BBQ competition meats is a real bear.
Sourcing Competition BBQ Meats – Quality, Reliable and Affordable Product a Challenge
Here in Central Florida, there area few basic locations for buying meats for competition BBQ. Most pitmasters working the Florida Bar-B-Que Association (FBA) contest circuit find whole packer briskets at places like Restaurant Depot or Mac’s Meats of Winter Haven. Some folks have been able to find packer briskets at Sam’s or Costco,and I’ve even seen them at Wal-Mart (rarely). Ribs are normally purchased from these spots as well, with IBP or Smithfield being the more popular choices.
The issue with these locations is that quality and selection vary widely, at least without much in the way of time to pre-0rder or plan. You get what’s there, and the options for sorting through a case are limited at best. And let’s face it… sometimes the money for a competition entry fee comes available in your BBQ budget pretty close to the deadline for signing up.
Why Master Purveyors of Tampa is Your BBQ Competition Meats Mecca
Last week, Doug Francis of Hogs Gone Wild BBQ and I traveled over to see Shawn McCranie, Vice President and 3rd generation operator of Master Purveyors of Florida.
Operating in Central Florida since 1966, Master Purveyors provides choice and prime meats to the finest restaurant and hotels in the area, while also selling direct to individuals looking for unsurpassed beef, pork, and chicken quality. (Note – they also specialize in lamb, veal, game meats, as well as banquet and high end party appetizers. Want to ‘cue some “strange?” … Shawn has you covered!)
From the company’s inception, Master Purveyors has operated with a basic philosophy: value their customers, and provide them with the best quality products and a superior level of service.
Doug and I spent at least an hour at the Master Purveyors location talking with Shawn and touring the facility. Honestly, we thought we’d get about 15 minutes of his time… maybe half an hour… but Shawn proved that his family’s mantra for service is no freaking joke.
We got the full dog and pony show, just the same as any major hotel or fine dining restaurant would receive. It was great, because with Shawn, no matter who you are or where you’re from – you get a completely honest, no BS, and funny as hell history of the company as well as a description of what Master Purveyors supplies in terms of BBQ competition meats.
The provider we found most interesting and one Doug will be using from now on for sure is Meyer Natural Angus. Based on Shawn’s description of the company, it was soon clear that Meyer Natural Angus is hands down one of the finest all natural and humanely managed Red Angus beef out there. 100% of their cattle can be genetically source and age-verified back to their ranch of origin, and all are born, raised, fed and processed solely in the USA.
Being the Meat Nerd that I am, I did a little research on Meyer Natural Meats. What I found absolutely confirmed and reinforced everything Shawn shared with us. A true sustainable operation.
You’ll notice the emphasis on sustainable ranching lending to amazing beef quality when John Enright, Corporate and Ranch Chef of Meyer Natural Foods speaks and demos in this video. I was impressed to learn that Meyer’s Natural Red Angus Beef grades out at more than 12% Prime beef. That’s something, and means that the care they put into raising their cattle means you can count on prime quality beef brisket being available to you from Meyer on a consistent basis.
Also recognize that though Chef Enright explains that Meyer Red Angus beef comes at a premium price, the massive volume of meat sold through Master Purveyors of Florida means that you are getting Prime Meyer All Natural Red Angus Briskets at an amazing value.
Here’s more from Chef Enright on what Meyer Red Angus Beef Means for delivering winning competition BBQ.
Check out Executive Chef John Enright speaking at the 2014 National Barbecue Association Conference and Trade Show in San Marcos, Texas.
This is some of the highest quality Red Angus Beef you can find anywhere, and easily rivals what you might get even from Snake River or Strube Ranch. Yes, I’m saying that based on what Shawn explained as far as BBQ competition teams using and winning with Meyer Natural Angus, it rivals the Waygu product for which many teams are paying dearly.
Here’s an added bonus for you…
When you arrive at the Master Purveyors facility to pick up your Meyer Angus Beef Brisket, you can select the packer cuts you want from a case or two of them that Shawn sets out for you. All of the briskets you see in front of you are already wet aged for at least 30 days. Yes, you read that right. Wet aged 30 days so that you can get it on a Thursday and cook perfectly aged brisket at a BBQ competition that weekend. BOOM.
Master Purveyors Pricing on BBQ Competition Meats
OK. Here’s where the rubber meet the road as far as what Master Purveyors of Florida charges for Prime Meyer All Natural Red Angus Beef. At the time of this posting, you can get Prime Meyer packer briskets for $3.95 per pound, wet aged for a minimum of 30 days upon order pick up. So what this means again, is that you can email Shawn to confirm the current price, order up your briskets, pick them up at the Tampa, Florida location, pay cash on site (it’s an all cash business for retail), and walk out with aged briskets ready for your weekend competition.
NOTE: Because Meyer knows you want the best yield possible for your brisket dollar – they use an XT trim to ensure you’re getting minimal extraneous fat per packer.
Wagyu Briskets Are Also Available If Desired
Master Purveyors of Florida also sells Australian Wagyu brisket, should you require it, at an amazing $6.00 per pound. Again, this product comes wet aged at a minimum of 30 days.
The question of Wagyu versus Prime comes down to personal taste, from what I’ve read. I mean, you’re getting amazing fat content either way.
Want to taste some of Meyer’s Prime Brisket in the Tampa, Florida BBQ scene? Check out my buddy Jay’s place over at Sho Gud Barbeque, located at 506 N Armenia Ave Tampa FL 33609.
Honestly, the flavor profile of the Wagyu has at times scored a bit lower in competitions than you might imagine. This may be due to judges not having a palette that is accustomed to Wagyu. Now, I’m theorizing here of course. And I do know that teams like Unknown BBQ and Whiskey Bent BBQ do well with Wagyu at comps.
— Daniel Vaughn (@BBQsnob) January 17, 2014
Daniel Vaughn Editor of Texas Monthly BBQ posted a really good article on the various grades of beef brisket you should head over and read for sure. As always, awesome information from The BBQ Snob.
Pork Butt and Rib Pricing from Master Purveyors of Florida
Master Purveyors of Florida doesn’t just have great pricing on BBQ Brisket, you can get awesome deals on pork and chicken as well.
As an example of what you can find pork wise – Shaw offers Seaboard’s All Natural Prairie St. Louis cut ribs priced at $2.99 per pound, freshly cut. You can also get Seaboard’s Prairie Fresh All Natural “bone in” pork butts 1/8” trim for $1.90 per pound, with boneless coming in at $2.09 per pound.
BBQ Competition Meats – Final Thoughts
If you live in the Central Florida area, are a competition BBQ pitmaster, and you want to up the quality of your protein, I’d definitely send Shawn at Master Purveyors of Florida an email. Seriously, from what I hear among Florida Bar-B-Que Association pitmasters, there’s a serious niche he’s filling in terms of value priced high quality beef and pork for sure.
Of course, when you contact him – please do mention this article and that Kevin from The BBQ Beat posted it. While I’m not being paid a red cent for this post by Master Purveyors, I do value relationship building and want to be sure he knows that I’m standing behind his work there.
Master Purveyors of Florida – Meat Suppliers
(813)253-0865 – main
(800)565-MEAT – toll free
(813) 253-0996 – fax