We found the best the West has to offer when it comes to specialty and mouth-watering cuts of meat.
All across the West, our editors asked for a cowboy's favorite food, meat. We sampled as much specialty mail-ordered meat from the West as was allowed. From Perini Ranch's Mesquite Smoked Peppered Beef Tenderloin to Colorado jerky we sampled them all and rounded up the best for you to order and ship to your home.
Buffalo Gap, TX
When we sent a short note to Tom and Lisa Perini’s team asking about that beef tenderloin, they knew just what we meant. Perini Ranch’s Mesquite Smoked Peppered Beef Tenderloin is fully cooked medium-rare, more tender than you could imagine, and shipped off to fervent fans all over the place to be thawed out and enjoyed. With little to no effort, you have your menu’s centerpiece — and all the glory bestowed upon you by guests. We had to ask the Perinis about the origin and evolution of their famous mail-order tenderloin. Read on for their thoughts.
When did you begin offering the tenderloin for mail order, and what inspired the decision to make it available that way? Perini Ranch’s Mesquite Smoked Peppered Beef Tenderloin was “discovered” in 1995 by The New York Times. Long story short, in conjunction with our first invitation to cook at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City, we sent a tenderloin (blindly) to The New York Times in hopes of receiving media attention. Funny, maybe we were the first ones to send media kits. About two months later, a research editor called and asked for another tenderloin. Unbeknownst to us, The New York Times was hosting a contest for the best mail-order gift of the year, and with good fortune, the Perini Ranch Beef Tenderloin was entered into the contest. A few weeks later, we received a call fact-checking the product and requesting an 800 number for our small cookshack located on the ranch, but they couldn’t tell us why. The next day, the story appeared naming our Mesquite Smoked Peppered Beef Tenderloin as the mail-order gift of the year. The real catch is we didn’t have a mail-order company — but we started one real quick!
What have been some of the highlights over the years regarding the dish? More accolades and honors than we could have ever dreamed, but what we really love is when a family calls from somewhere in the U.S. and tells our team, “It just wouldn’t be a holiday without Perini Ranch’s Beef Tenderloin.” That really makes the day! We want to be a part of our customers’ family traditions and memories.
Has having the tenderloin offered on Goldbelly increased the demand? How has its popularity changed the trajectory of Perini’s business? We first met with Goldbelly during a trip to New York pre-pandemic lockdown. We appreciate their efforts to increase the voices of other fellow hospitality owners. They were a great partner during the pandemic, offering a new platform for discovery to new Perini Ranch fans. Perini Ranch fans are loyal, and our hope is that our new fans who found us through Goldbelly continue to come back for holidays to come.
What are some other items that can be paired with it for the ultimate Perini spread? Fan favorites include a few of our signature dishes, including Green Chile Hominy, and Sourdough Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce never disappoints. We have enjoyed reaching new tables when people couldn’t travel. We do not see that trend changing, so more to come soon on additional mail-order items.
Hot and Cheesy Links
Missouri’s Circle B Ranch and Marina’s Kitchen tout clean, simple, humanely sourced ingredients, and the model has worked well for owners John and Marina Backes for more than a decade. We’d recommend tasting the difference by trying their popular pork sausage with jalapeño and cheddar. circlebranchpork.com
Kinikin Processing selects and prepares meats raised in Colorado’s pastures and mountains. Through their commerce site, they offer beef, pork, elk, bison, and poultry. One of their best sellers is the black-pepper elk jerky — packed with protein and flavor fit for any outdoor adventure. kinikin.com/products
The Larder Meat Co. sources from California farms to curate both gift and subscription boxes packed with choice cuts. Its Steak & Chops Box is 10 pounds of entrees, including different varieties of Hearst Ranch steaks and Rancho Llano Seco pork chops. lardermeatco.cratejoy.com
A Taste of the Exotic
A good activity when family or friends are over? Sit around and sample jerkies. Seriously. You’ll find out whether you and your loved ones prefer wild boar to alligator, yak to duck. Luckily, Denver outlet Mountain America Jerky offers those and many more. mountainamericajerky.com
Bundle & Give Back
Pederson’s Natural Farms — out of Hamilton, Texas — specializes in affordable, packed boxes of fresh pork items. Nosugar- added folks should try the “Hottest Seller Starter Pack,” which contains bacon, a variety of sausages, and recipes. There’s also a donation to Feeding America made with each order. pedersonsfarms.com
From the October 2021 issue
Photography: (All images) courtesy vendors