In an ideal world I would see a baseball game every day on my road trip. But, alas, team schedules along with time/space continuum linearity don’t always align. That leaves me with days off from my pilgrimage. So what does a Hot Dog Explorer do when not testing hot dogs in their natural habitat? I learn about how they are made, marketed, etc. That and share part of my lunch in Huntsville State Park with a squirrel I named Rocky. He loves almond butter if you happen to see him.
|Ken, Nichole, Chris of Nolan Ryan Beef|
The gods of processed meat blessed me on Wednesday. I was able to sit down with the movers and shakers at Nolan Ryan Beef. VP of Operations Ken Henk, Director of Foodservice Sales Chris Meighen and Marketing and Communications Director Nichole Francis were all kind enough to take time to discuss hot dogs, cattle and baseball.
If you don’t know who Nolan Ryan is you should, even if you care only a little about baseball. He will be remembered as one of the greatest pitchers in your lifetime.
How good was he? Most pitchers dream of throwing a no-hitter, a VERY, VERY small percentage actually do it during their career. Nolan threw SEVEN no-hitters during his time on the mound. He had a fastball that clocked in over 100 mph and holds the baseball record for most strikeouts. He pitched well into his 40s and is of course a Hall of Famer. He was the stuff baseball legends are made of.
Nolan is also a Texan. And a rancher. So it was only natural that after his baseball career he not only ran a major league team but became involved in the production of ultra-high quality beef. I didn’t even know he was in the meat business until I saw a pack of Nolan Ryan franks in a Kroger store a few days ago. And his franks are now the beef that adorns hot dogs in 4 ballparks: the Rangers and Astros MLB teams as well as the minor league teams in Round Rock (near Austin) and Corpus Christi. As such I have tested two dogs with Nolan’s product between the bun. Both scored high.
As a rancher, it isn’t just Nolan’s face on the packaging. He is involved in every aspect of the business and keeps all operations in Texas, mostly in the northern panhandle. His cattle are given no antibiotics for 100 days before harvesting and no hormones and 65% of his herd is graded as choice.
As it stands now Nolan’s beef products are available primarily in the Texas area. Franks can be found in Texas Kroger grocery stores and select others. If anyone can connect a quality beef frank and baseball fans it’s Nolan; he has cattle and baseball in his blood. Watch for Nolan’s product in a ballpark near you.