Brisket Shortage Causes Prices to Beef Up

Brisket Shortage Causes Prices to Beef Up

Stanley's BBQ is getting a menu makeover, but not the kind that customers are looking forward to. With prices so beefed up, it's remarkable that it hasn't happened sooner.

For owner Daron Stegall, every day is a test...

"It's been very challenging to keep your head above water. It's a daily challenge, we really have to watch our waste, watch our cost on everything else," he said.

Since Stegall took the reins at Stanley's a year and a half ago, brisket prices have risen from $2.20 per pound to $3.65 per pound. Price increases on brisket are particularly troublesome for restaurants. From the smoker to your plate, between fat reduction and trimming, about half of that meat is lost.

"So now you're at an almost 50 percent loss in product. So a $3.50 per pound brisket is now costing you $7 per pound," Stegall said.

The drought in the Lone Star State is the main contributor to the recent beef shortage. A number of local packing plants closing and an increase in beef exporting has also taken its toll.

And prospects for brisket don't look good. Experts estimate cattle will not get back to standard level until at least 2017.

"So we're not looking at any price decrease, if not more of an increase, for the next two years," Stegall said.

Up until now, Stegall hasn't touched the menu despite soaring beef prices. Instead, Stanley's has been offering lower cost items like pork and chicken to help curb costs, but he can't hold off any longer.

"We're trying to keep it as low as possible to keep it a favorable price point for our customer...but it is coming."

The Stanley's faithful, however, aren't having a cow over the upcoming menu markup.

"We've been coming here for years and years so no its not going to stop us from coming, no sir.," said patron Raymond Silva.

Those price changes will take effect within the next two weeks. A pound of both sliced and chopped brisket will go up by $1.50, and you'll also have to pay a few more quarters for Stanley's famous Beanie Burger.

In the same time that the price of brisket has gone up over 60 percent, ground beef is a close second. Stegall says the cost of beef has increased 30 to 40 percent since he took over.

Dave Caulfield, Newschannel 6