A Los Angeles lawyer with small-town Oklahoma roots returns to her ranching past.
Shelly Youree has ranching and cattle in her blood. Growing up in northeastern Oklahoma in the small town of Wagoner, she often visited family members’ farms and ranches across the state. Youree Ranch in Addington belongs to cousins Dale and Florence Youree, a National Cowgirl Hall of Famer. Shelly and her sisters now own land inherited from their parents in Cotton County.
“I grew up loving the land and working it with my family,” says Youree, cofounder of Rare Gourmet Meats, an online business offering family farm-raised, all-natural prime meats. Youree has been an attorney for Thompson & Knight for 26 years, spending most of that time in Dallas before moving to Los Angeles in 2010. It was in California where she met her future partner, Debbie Rocker of Rocker Bros. Meat & Provisions, a meatpacking company with a reputation for exceptional quality.
The new venture started simply enough, over conversation. “I met Debbie through a friend, and we began talking about meat,” Youree says. She mentioned to Rocker how she couldn’t find up-to-restaurant-snuff all-natural meat for home cooking. “So I told her, ‘I’ve got to try this meat. Please, can I buy some from you?’ And she said, ‘You don’t have any idea how many customers ask me if they can buy this meat. I’m a wholesaler, so I’ll get you some so you can try it. And, by the way, I’ve always wanted to do this on a retail level.’ That’s sort of where it all began. I went home and fired up some meat one day and ate it. It’s what I had been looking for!” She and Rocker call their meat “never-ever”: never been given hormones, never been given antibiotics.
“They’re very particular about what they’re going to put on their plate,” Youree says of Rare Gourmet Meats’ typical customer. “They may be frustrated with trying to find what they’re looking for, like I was. They have the money to spend on the products. They don’t mind going and spending $50 or $60 for a steak. I mean, that’s what it can cost — or more — depending on the kind of cut you want to buy.”
For the home consumer, Rare Gourmet Meats offers packages and small individual orders, from a selection of three 36-ounce dry-aged natural Angus prime rib chops to the “Rare Affaire” package, which includes two 1.5-pound dry-aged natural Angus prime porterhouse steaks, two 1.5-pound dry-aged natural Angus rib chops, two 8-ounce tenderloin chateaus, two 10-ounce natural Angus prime boneless New York strip steaks, two pounds of Wagyu ground burger, and more. The company also offers Jidori chicken and lamb, but it’s the steak that is its signature. Most of it is dry-aged from 14 days to 28 days. That’s not a steadfast rule, though. “If a customer wants a steak aged 10 days, that’s what they’ll get,” Youree says. While noting that the average order ranges from $300 to $500, she recounts a recent sale: “We got a call from a customer the other day. She ordered $900 worth of prime filet!”
Nevertheless, it’s not about the dollar amount. For Rare Gourmet Meats, it’s about good old-fashioned personal service — even in the age of the Internet.
Everyone has their preferred method of cooking meat. Rare Gourmet Meats cofounder Shelly Youree admits she’s a griller. “I just like there to be a crusty edge on the outside and have it be beautiful warm red in the center.” However you prefer, Youree likes to drizzle this chimichurri over her favorite steaks.
1 cup hot water
1 tablespoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon raw sugar
10 whole garlic cloves
1 cup fresh flat leaf parsley leaves
½ cup fresh oregano leaves
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
¼ cup red wine vinegar
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Dissolve the salt and sugar in the hot water and allow to cool. Finely mince the garlic, parsley, and oregano, and place in a medium bowl. Stir in the crushed red pepper, red wine vinegar, oil, and salted water. Mix, and drizzle over the steak.
To order featured packages or custom purchases, visit Rare Gourmet Meat’s website.
From the July 2016 issue.