Meat+Poultry - June 2020 - 39

never been," said Randy Sadler, the proud son
of the company's founder.
Sadler's continued processing for
foodservice customers and was the behind the
scenes producer of "13-hour" brisket served by
chains like Subway and Arby's.
"We moved backyard barbecue to the
QSR drive-thru and put it on menus across
restaurant platforms nationwide," he said.

LET'S MAKE A DEAL
Eventually, Harold Sadler's expertise and
success made his company an appealing
acquisition target of one of its longtime
customers, Austin, Minn.-based Hormel
Foods Corp. This past February, Hormel
announced the purchase of Sadler's for $270
million, more than 20 years after becoming a
satisfied customer.
The business Hormel invested in was
the product of Sadler's decades-long
transformation from a foodservice-based
maker of premium smoked meats with a
cult-like following in its region to a wholesale
processor for other eateries. In 1968, the
company moved its production out of the
restaurants and into its first commercial plant.
"This acquisition perfectly aligns with
our strategic initiative of strengthening our
position in foodservice and gives us another
highly differentiated branded product line,"
said Jim Snee, chairman, president and chief
executive officer of Hormel, at the time of the
deal. "We also see a unique opportunity to
further extend the Sadler's product line into
the retail and deli channels."
Owner Harold Sadler said, "Hormel Foods
has an excellent reputation as one of the best
food companies in the world. We are excited
for our employees and family knowing Hormel
Foods will continue the Sadler family legacy."
Sadler's first began working with Hormel's
R&D officials who were tasked with developing
brisket for foodservice customers under its
Austin Blues brand.
"Hormel Foods was referred to Sadler's
by chefs and barbecue lovers as the best beef
brisket in the industry," said Randy Sadler,
who now holds the title of executive vice
president of strategic alliance. "Since that first
product ideation, our partnership has launched
a progress trend of positive growth for over
two decades."

GENERATIONAL GROWTH
"Four generations of our family have been able
to help expand that first restaurant into an over
40-acre, 220,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art
processing plant," Randy said.
Part of that expansion included improving
on its manufacturing process. Like a successful
competitive barbecue team, Sadler's constantly
worked to improve its techniques and utilized
technology and equipment that ensured the
company's growth never came at the expense
of its smoky, savory products. For Sadler's, one
of the key ingredients is patience. Randy said
his father believes perfection cannot be rushed
and when it comes to slow-smoked flavor,
there is no substitute for time. Utilizing proven
techniques and teaching the art of smoking
is also a key to the company's success. The
long-term goal is to preserve Harold Sadler's
time-tested tradition of producing high-quality
products consistently. That starts before the
fire starts or the smoke billows.
"What we do to keep his tradition of
perfection is select our hardwoods from over
an acre of hand-cut mesquite, hickory, oak, and
pecan," Randy said.
"We train our production professionals to
hand-trim each beef brisket," he added, and
once those briskets begin cooking the pit
bosses take over.
In 2019, Subway even spotlighted one of
those brisket caretakers, Pitmaster Ramone, in

In 1948, Harold Sadler's
career in the food business
started in drive-in style
eateries where car hops
served slow-smoked brisket.

www.meatpoultry.com | 06.20 | MEAT+ POULTRY

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Meat+Poultry - June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meat+Poultry - June 2020

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