When Casey Weber opened his Tallgrass Meat Co. retail shop in Columbia, Tenn., two years ago, he brought along his meat-processing credentials and a knack for having fun with bacon.
His father had operated a meat locker and meat market in Kansas where Weber worked cutting meats from the age of 12. He earned a food science degree at Kansas State University, continued on to receive a master’s degree in food safety and topped it all off with a PhD in human nutrition.
A love for doing creative things with bacon shines through the windows of this 2,500-square-foot retail, custom and personal service meat station where customers are greeted with at least 13 varieties of bacon (never fewer than a dozen offered at any time).
Sure, there is the expected hickory smoked and an uncured version offered in thin or thick slices or the 10-mm slice as thick as your finger. Look around and you’ll come across an Arkansas-style bacon, which the shop humorously refers to as their “hillbilly bacon.” It is cut from the pork shoulder, a shorter and leaner version that is as much at home on a sandwich as it is next to a plate of eggs.
Among the bacon choices one can also find a Cajun, jalapeño and pepper flavor. But between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Tallgrass Meat Co. breaks the mold with its cinnamon roll bacon. This eye popper, derived from an internal competition aimed at developing the store’s youngest employees, is a bacon seasoned with maple syrup, sugar and cinnamon. It is well suited and just crazy enough to add to any savory confection, but first bake it right into your pancakes. And, did we mention that it comes in a rolled round shape that also makes it a standout?
Many of the salutes to bacon from Weber’s shop can be found on the company website, www.tallgrassmeat.com.
Yet it is not just the variety of bacons that he produces that is striking. He features them on items like bacon wrapped chicken, wrapped beef tenderloin, hot dogs and even in bacon beef patties. Man, does he love bacon.
Indeed, Casey Weber is not just a master of producing quality bacons, he has taken the extra step of adding humor, new flavors and excitement to his line-up.