|By DEBORAH BEHRENDS
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Illinois Beef Assoc. recently presented Inboden Meats, DeKalb, with the 2006 Innovative Beef Product Award at the annual meeting of the Illinois Meat Processors Assoc.
Inboden’s winning entry was a marinated, vacuum packed, Savory Sirloin. Convenient and mostly fool-proof, this beefy entrée is tasty as a grilled steak or wonderfully tender when heated in the oven. It even works well sliced and served over a salad.
Cimeron Frost, Illinois Beef Assoc., was lucky enough to judge this contest which featured 18 entries. “The Savory Sirloin had an excellent flavor and was tender and easy to prepare. It was just an all around great product,” Frost said.
Since 1962, Imboden Meats has served the DeKalb area. It remains a small, family owned business, which has felt the pressure of the competition over the years. According to Tom Inboden, you have to differentiate yourself from the competition. Located only a half-mile from a 60,000 square foot Jewel Food Store, Tom feels he has set himself apart by specializing in high quality meat.
“Fifty percent of our customers come into our store 14 times per year,” he says. “Major holidays and other special events such as bar mitzvahs, birthdays and anniversaries throughout the year are when people celebrate by purchasing a special cut of meat to cook for friends and family.”
“We buy high-quality beef and then enhance it by aging it for 30 days, which allows for natural tenderizing and increased flavor. This is something that large retailers are unwilling to do.”
Inboden credits the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and the research that has been done through the $1 per head checkoff program to introduce retailers to different ways to market beef cuts. Inboden uses the Flat iron steak as an example of a beef cut, which was sold years ago as boneless shortribs.
“When slow-cooked, this product was very tender. Checkoff research taught us that this could be cooked as a steak and that has added value to an underutilized cut of meat. Checkoff research has taught us to think differently and help channel consumers to the right cut of meat.”
Inboden’s has grown from a one-man butcher shop to a business which not only offers fresh meat retail, but which also supplies food service companies located on the western edge of the Chicago suburbs. Their commercial customers vary from white tablecloth establishments which demand prime beef to commercial retailers specializing in value oriented dishes.
Fine dining establishments are serving the award winning Savory Sirloin, which was developed and packaged by Inboden’s Meats because it is good, and because it is a flexible product that is fool-proof in preparation. It is also available at Inboden’s Meats in DeKalb. “You know you have a good product when customers feel comfortable buying it and serving it to company,” says Tom.
This is the goal of the Innovative Beef Product competition - encouraging the development of convenient, delicious beef entrees, which in-turn brings beef to the center of the plate more often.
This farm news was published in the June 14, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.