Gridley meats

MADE IN ILLINOISThis month Made in Illinois has a tasty feature. There has been a growing trend throughout the United States putting an emphasis on farm-to-table, all-natural foods. Gridley Meats in McLean County is playing its part in establishing the trend right here in Illinois.

It is a family-owned business that literally has its meat making down to a science. Iyad Abbed, who is one of the cofounders, is one of six brothers and one of two who work at the company. A third brother is currently in school studying meat science so he can contribute to helping pair unique flavors.

It’s the simplicity of their product, however, that leads to the complexity. Their brats are a simple mixture of spices and Black Angus beef. Unlike other similar products, they don’t add water to them, which can cause brats to shrink during cooking. In other words, what you get is what you get.  

From the local farm to the local market Gridley Meats has a new approach to keeping it fresh.

Read the story below straight from Iyad Abbed himself.  

ILI: How did you get your start and how has your business grown since the beginning?

Abbed: We are a family of six boys, my mom and my dad. When I was a kid my dad owned a grocery store in Gridley and he would always order high-quality meat. So we always had a knack for the meat industry.  When my brothers and I went off to college, we all worked for a meat locker while we were in school to get through college.

After college, we went out and pursued our professions. I was an educator. Then in 2011 the Gridley Meat Locker came up for sale, so we bought it.  Now we pride ourselves on the high quality of beef we produce.

ILI: How do you think you have had such success?

Abbed: I think we are at the start of success. We have gone through some struggle, and we are going through some growing pains, but this is something new and different. I think what we are doing is unique and we are hitting a local market, so we try to keep it local.

Gridley Meat SteakWe know who is raising our meat and where it comes from. Our product is just meat and spices. That is what someone is looking for. Consumers are more conscious and people are aware of what they are eating and putting in their bodies. We know what is going through this product. We also work with meat scientists and people who help us develop our products. My younger brother is actually studying meat science now.

Where we are in Gridley is the prime Black Angus area. We are becoming the quality Black Angus beef location in the country.

ILI: How does being in Illinois contribute to the success of your business?

Abbed: Being located here gives us access to quality Black Angus beef. We also hope we can gain access to the bigger market in Chicago and Bloomington. Chicago is known for its meat industry and for people knowing meat. So hopefully that will be a good market for us.

ILI: What effect does your business have in your local community?

Abbed: We are a small business and we are hoping to keep our local families and people busy. We want to get other small businesses to grow with us and bring more interest into the town. If we can help local farms grow, then that is helping the local economy grow. Also, if we grow more, people will look here for jobs as well.

ILI: Do your materials come from Illinois or elsewhere?

Abbed: All of our materials are from local farms here in Gridley.

ILI: What is the mission of your business?

gridley meats steak cookedAbbed: It’s always to just get a safe, high-quality product that you want to feed your family.

We hope that our product will be able to cross state borders and people will start associating this with Illinois, and as a good quality product. We designed our product so that the foodie will like it and the people who have never had a sausage or brat will be able to enjoy it as well. We don’t use pork in our sausages; just high quality Black Angus beef. So this is a new experience for someone who will appreciate high quality food.

ILI: What do you love about Illinois?

Abbed: The people.  One thing that is really cool where we are sitting is that there are a lot of little industries here.  People who are hands-on farmers, they are a still working people. A lot of stuff came out of the Midwest, and Illinois has always been a part of that.

ILI: Is there anything else you would like to tell us about Gridley Meats?

Abbed: We try to satisfy the customer. We have always promised ourselves that as we grow, we will not jeopardize quantity over quality. We will keep improving our products at a natural state.

For more information be sure to visit the company’s website: