In 1901, more than 300 million pounds of dressed beef crossed the Atlantic. In 1902 there was a Kosher meat riot – Women smashed shop windows, poured kerosene oil on meat and stomped customers beef purchases. Between the years 1874 and 1880, barbed wired fencing use went from 10,00o to 80 million pounds. And the Dawes Act led to a decline of Indian controlled land of almost 75%. Railroads, cattle ranchers, cowboys, horses, corporate greed, industrialization, military intervention, status, corruption, food safety, blizzards, the expropriation of American Indian lands and Porterhouse steaks for all; this is the story of modern beef.
From the rise of corporate ranching, its fall to independent ranchers and their submission to the control of the Big Four slaughterhouses, this is the story of how the West was won (or stolen.) And this is the story of how the beef industry industrialized food production, kept prices low, modernized food safety and succeeded in the grandest branding campaign in history. Pun intended.
Join, Ellie Newman, host of the thought-provoking podcast, That Got Me Thinking, and historian, Joshua Specht, author of Red Meat Republic: A Hoof to Table History of How Beef Changed American. Listen in as the conversation turns to how beef conquered America and gave rise to the modern industrial food complex. “By the late nineteenth century, Americans rich and poor had come to expect high quality, fresh beef with almost every meal.”