WINDTHORST (KFDX/KJTL) — The meat market is taking a toll due to COVID-19 and panic buying. One group facing that meat shortage head-on are local BBQ businesses.
Prices are steep for the quality of meat Zeke’s BBQ in Windthorst and Jordan Craft BBQ in Wichita Falls prefer to prepare.
The owners saw it coming but said the hike came fast.
“The fact is our distributors have basically run out of their meat and they’re having trouble getting it, the prices they’re dealing with are going through the roof so it’s leading onto us,” Zeke’s BBQ owner Chris Pettyjohn said.
“We knew it was coming; we didn’t realize it was coming this quick,” Jordan Craft BBQ owner Caleb Jordan said.
Jordan said to add 100% to the typical highest price and you’ve got the current market.
“Ten days ago we were buying brisket at the absolute cheapest we’ve ever bought it, then we look up now and brisket is the highest it’s ever been,” Jordan said.
Chris Pettyjohn said distributors usually send a weekly price list, honoring the next seven days even if their own prices go up.
Now, the price list is gone and after a call to the supplier, he must be ready to make a swift decision.
“Their prices are changing every half hour or so,” Pettyjohn said.
Some meat prices aren’t seeing as much of an uptick, but Pettyjohn and Jordan have no intention of chopping quality.
“I’m not gonna sacrifice the yield that I’m gonna get with a prime or a choice brisket just so I can make brisket,” Pettyjohn said.
“We’re not gonna cook a product that we’re not happy with,” Jordan said.
As for big box stores offering lower prices, that may not last long.
“Their suppliers have a lot more stock that they’re getting from, so once that bleeds through that’s when you’ll see it at the grocery stores,” Pettyjohn said.
With prices at an all-time high, these owners hope the shortage leaves as quickly as it came.
Jordan and Pettyjohn said they don’t want to raise their own prices and start charging customers $20 or $30 a pound.
Jordan is considering taking brisket off the menu for a couple of weeks.
Pettyjohn limiting how much he makes and sells, encouraging customers to take advantage of other menu items.