The meat and poultry industry has done well in developing value-added products that make preparing them so much easier.

This past week, I got a glimpse of just how much easier.

In my hometown, we put on a professional rodeo every July. It takes a tremendous amount of volunteer effort to make this go. Everyone involved has duties, and my wife’s duty is one of the more demanding ones. She runs the Cowboy Courtesy Corral, which is where all of the contestants, major sponsors and contract personnel such as clowns, bullfighters, specialty act performers, judges, livestock contractors, pickup men, the announcer, the timer and the sound man come each of the rodeo’s four nights for a hot, complimentary meal. Usually that amounts to nearly 200 people.

Each night featured a different main course. Sloppy joes are served on the first night, followed by turkey on the second night, pulled pork on the third night and brisket on the fourth.

It’s up to my wife to make sure all of the meat – donated by an area business – gets cooked and her crew makes sure everyone gets served with a smile.

During the 2018 edition of the rodeo, the only night when we ran out of food was the night turkey was served. So the generous business making the contribution made sure we had plenty of turkey.  

How much turkey? Approximately 100 pounds of it.

Luckily, the turkey came in the form of a Norbest value-added deboned turkey breast product. All we had to do is follow the instructions, and cook it in the bag at the recommended temperature and time, take it out of the oven, remove it from the bag and slice it up.

We both commented how thankful we were to have a product that was so simple to prepare. While I like all parts of the turkey, I can’t imagine how long it would have taken to get all that meat cooked they been whole turkeys.

And while the additional amount of turkey provided in 2019 did leave us with a little extra after the performance, I noticed that as volunteer committee members (including myself) continue with the arena cleanup and follow-up efforts since the last bull bucked and help themselves to the leftovers, the turkey is disappearing more quickly than any of the other meats.

I tip my hat to Norbest and the greater turkey industry for developing products that make projects like this so much easier.