Bridgerland Technical College has a unique program for people interested in cutting meat. The meat service program is the only one like it in the western United States. Instructors teach students with no meat cutting experience how to harvest meat and make the correct cuts for grocery stores.
The program attracts students from several surrounding states to Logan where they learn to prepare, cure, and smoke meat.
The meat program has open enrollment and the instruction is hands-on and individualized to meet the occupational goals of each student. Meat Services instructor Scott Elliot said it is a 900 hour program, and generally takes eight months to complete. Elliot has been cutting meat for 16 years, and continues to cut meat for a grocery store in Logan.
Jason Rindlisbacher, Meat Services department head, said they usually have four to 10 students full time. More female students are showing interest in retail. The Meat Services lab is located at the south end of the Logan Main Building on Campus. A variety of different meats are cut by the staff and students, including ground beef, ribs, steak, chicken, pork, lamb, and seafood.
Rindlisbacher’s been cutting meat for 20 years. He was student in the program and was placed with five different meat cutting operations, he felt like he got some great experience.
“The guys that taught me retired, so I was hired.”
Each student has a different reason for taking the course. Kurtis Pullan, from Salt Lake City, wants to be a taxidermist and thought it would be good if he knew how to cut up meat and do the taxidermy on the side. Johanna Brewington, from Hamer, Idaho, came from a sheep and cattle operation. She thought knowing how to cut meat would help the family business.
Her husband is a big game guide and she could also cut the meat for the successful hunters. Wade Johnson, from Tremonton, actually wants to open a restaurant. He wanted to know the best cuts of meat. He also wants to go through the Culinary Arts program at Bridgerland. Mackenzie Butikofer is from a town near Sidney, Montana and her family likes to hunt. She started cutting up the family’s game. She was involved with Future Farmers of America and entered the meat competition.
Rindlisbacher said, “Most of our job placement is in grocery stores, but there are custom meat shop owners trying to retire, so there is growth in area too.”