That’s the first thought that went through my mind when Chris Raines offered to take me on a behind-the-scenes tour of The Penn State Meats Laboratory. The 16,000-square-foot lab is across from Beaver Stadium on Porter Road, inside what might be the ugliest building on the University Park campus.
Inside, Raines, an extension meat specialist and assistant professor in Penn State’s department of dairy and animal science, spends his days researching, processing, tasting and tweeting meat. (Nearly 3,000 people follow him on Twitter at @iTweetMeat.)
I contacted Raines because I wanted to learn more about the Friday meat sale that has customers lining up even in 10-degree weather.
The sale is the last step in a self-contained food system that exists to educate Penn State students and various members of the agriculture community, from farmers to butchers.
Lucky for the general consumer, that food system happens to yield plenty of high-quality, USDA-inspected meat, including beef, pork and lamb.
I first heard of the meat sale from a friend. He’s endured long lines, unpredictable availability (this isn’t a grocery store), and dirty looks from customers who also wanted that last steak. The “meat sale,” he says, simply has the best food to serve at a Penn State tailgate.
If you ask me, those stories make the steak fajitas taste even better.
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