Story, photo and recipes by Cynthia Nobles
If you like to buy beef that’s been raised in Louisiana, you have no doubt heard of Coastal Plains Meat Company. Chip Perrin and his business partner, David Billings, are the Eunice-based processing plant’s owners. The two military veterans’ dream of promoting local, sustainably-raised cattle came to life in 2021, when they bought the old Eunice Superette Slaughterhouse on Highway 91. In the short time since, Coastal Plains has become our state’s largest beef processor.
On a recent visit to the 22,000-foot facility, Perrin told me that his company’s vision is to “give pride in Louisiana beef. We want to strengthen the Louisiana cattle industry,” he says. “And we’re doing that by sourcing premium local products.”
Perrin and Billings are both cattle ranchers. “We know how important it is to properly manage rangeland,” Perrin says. “We focus on cattle genetics, as well as healthcare, All those things combined make good beef. It’s good for the land and the cattle. Today, a lot of Louisiana ranchers try to follow those standards.”
Because of their extensive ranching experience, the duo has also suffered through the typical headaches of processing cattle, including limited slaughter dates, capacity, and cold storage. “One of our aims is to eliminate those problems for ranchers,” Perrin says. “If you call with a calf ready for processing, chances are we can take you right away.”
Their slaughterhouse can process up to 130 head a week. Meat is stored in over 8,000 square feet of refrigeration space and in 2,000 square feet of freezers.
Part of Coastal Plains’ sales is wholesale to grocery stores, restaurants, and institutions. A big portion of their business, however, is for single-customer custom processing.
“Today,” Perrin says, “a lot of home cooks want to know where their food comes from.” Following the popular ‘pasture to plate’ philosophy, Coastal Plains sources about 95 percent of their cattle from local ranchers and sale barns. As a bonus to the health conscious, they package their meat without preservatives. “Many consumers want that level of quality,” he says, “and not many national grocery store chains provide it.”
The employees at Coastal Plains will gladly help you find exactly the kind of animal you want. For example, if you’d like to buy a prime, hormone-free, grain-fed Black Angus calf, Coastal Plains will search one out for you and process it.
To eliminate accidental swapping, the company color codes animals throughout the slaughtering process. Butchers also custom cut one calf at a time, including the labelling and packaging.
I know firsthand that they process carcasses according to customer requests. This past summer I had the pleasure of working with Coastal Plains when my sister Kay and I went halves on a grass-fed calf raised by a local rancher. Coastal Plains slaughtered the animal, aged it, and helped us decide how they should slice up our cuts. Their butchers worked on our time schedule, and they sent us home with labeled, space-saving vacuum-packed portions. Kay and I are already planning our next purchase.
Aside from fresh cuts of beef, Coastal Plains also produces boudin. They make smoked, sausage, bacon, and an award-winning andouille that are produced in two smokehouses. The charcuterie section of the company comes under the purview of plant manager, Dan Robert, who worked for the USDA for 30 years, and who purchases slaughtered pork for his specialties.
“Dan excels in meat science,” Perrin says. “We use his recipes. And we count on his know-how throughout the plant.”
A big part of Coastal Plains’ business is done through mail order. Partnering with UPS, the company can ship boxes of beef to all Louisiana parishes. Orders can conveniently be placed online.
All meats are inspected in-house and by the Louisiana Department of Agriculture, and in a few months, the slaughterhouse plans to have passed USDA certification. “That means we’ll be able to ship across state lines,” Perrin says. That also means enormous growth potential for Coastal Plains Meat Company, which is committed to advancing Louisiana cattle.
You can find Coastal Plains meat in grocery stores and restaurants throughout Louisiana. To place slaughter or packaged meat orders, visit the processing plant at 1044 Highway 91, Eunice, Louisiana, 70535, or phone them at 337-466-7341. Email and website for ordering online: coastalplainsmeatcompany.com.
Do you have a Louisiana agriculture story or a recipe you’d like to share? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cynthia Nobles is the cookbook editor for LSU Press and the author/co-author of several historical cookbooks, including A Confederacy of Dunces Cookbook, The Delta Queen Cookbook, and The Fonville Winans Cookbook.
A smashburger is a hamburger made with two thin beef patties that have super-crispy crusts, and that have tons of flavor.
1 soft hamburger bun, toasted
Mayonnaise, mustard, onion slices, lettuce, pickles, etc. (whatever you want to dress your burger with)
4 ounces (¼ pound) ground beef chuck
Salt and black pepper
1 slice American cheese
1. Spread the toasted bun with your favorite condiments and set aside. Have the toppings all ready.
2. Heat a large, ungreased stainless steel or cast-iron skillet over high heat for 2 minutes. While skillet is heating, divide beef into 2 (2-ounce) balls. Place beef balls in hot pan and smash down with a stiff metal spatula, or use the bottom of a pot. Smashed patties should be a little larger than the bun size.
3. Season well with salt and pepper. Cook until meat begins to turn pinkish-gray on top, about 2 minutes. Use a stiff metal spatula to carefully scrape patties and any browned bits from the pan. Flip patties, quickly sprinkle with salt and pepper, and immediately place the cheese on top of 1 patty. Cook until cheese starts to melt, 10-15 seconds. Stack the other patty on top. Remove from the pan and transfer to the bun. Dress with toppings and serve.
1 tablespoon butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 pound ground beef
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup tomato sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
2 cups canned enchilada sauce, or Enchilada Sauce recipe that follows
¼ cup canola oil
12 corn tortillas
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar Cheese
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Melt butter in a skillet over medium-high and sauté onion until soft, about 5 minutes. Add beef and garlic and sauté until beef is thoroughly browned. Stir in tomato sauce, salt, cumin, and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook 2 minutes. Stir in cilantro, then remove from heat.
2. Coat the inside of a 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spread ¼ cup enchilada sauce on the bottom of the dish.
3. Heat the canola oil over medium heat in a skillet. Use tongs to lay a tortilla into the hot oil and cook 10 seconds. Flip and cook the other side 10 more seconds. Repeat with remaining tortillas, stacking them on a plate as you go along.
4. Once all tortillas have been fried, dip one into the enchilada sauce or spread a little sauce on both sides and lay the tortilla on a plate. Add a heaping tablespoon of beef filling down the middle. Top with a tablespoon of shredded cheese. Roll the tortilla tightly and lay it in the prepared baking dish. Continue until the dish is filled.
5. Pour remaining sauce over the enchiladas and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake until heated through and the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes. Serve warm.
½ stick butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups beef stock
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon salt
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and stir constantly 2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Set aside while you make the beef filling.
Beef Tips and Mushroom Gravy
Makes 4 servings
Beef tips is cubed meat cut from anything, from the tip of a tenderloin to stew meat. Tender beef tips are good for grilling, while chewier cuts are good for braising.
1½ pounds sirloin or rump roast, cut into large chunks
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
6 tablespoons butter, divided
1 medium onion, chopped
½ bell pepper, chopped
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced thick
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup red wine
1 cup beef broth
1 tablespoon cornstarch
For serving: rice or mashed potatoes
1. Pat beef dry with a paper towel. In a shallow bowl, combine flour, salt, and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat in a large, heavy-bottomed pot.
2. Dredge beef in seasoned flour and sauté in the butter until all sides are brown. Remove beef, add another tablespoon butter to the pot, and sauté onion and bell pepper 5 minutes. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons butter and the mushrooms and garlic, and cook until the mushrooms just turn brown, about 3 minutes.
3. Add wine and cook until reduced by half, about 2 minutes, scraping up the bits that cling to the bottom of the pot. Stir in broth and browned beef and bring to a boil. Lower to a bare simmer. Cook, covered and stirring occasionally, until fork tender, about 1-1½ hours, depending on your cut of beef.
4. If necessary, thicken the gravy by mixing the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water and stirring into the simmering liquid. Cook a few minutes, then taste for seasoning. Serve over hot rice or mashed potatoes.
Make Ahead Chuck Roast
Makes 8-10 servings
This special occasion roast and its silky gravy taste best made the day before and reheated.
1 (4 to 6-pound) boneless beef chuck roast, tied with a string
Salt and black pepper
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 carrots, trimmed and coarsely chopped
2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 large bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1½ cups red wine
2 cups beef broth
1 (14.5-ounce) can pureed or diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon softened butter
For serving: rice or mashed potatoes
1. The day before serving, preheat oven to 325°F. Season the garlic with salt and pepper. Make deep slits throughout the roast and insert garlic. Season the outside of the roast well with salt and pepper. Dredge the whole roast in flour. In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Sear the roast until deep brown all over, about 15 minutes. Remove the roast from the pot.
2. To the same pot, add the carrots, onions, celery, bell pepper, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add the wine, bring to a boil, and scrape up any bits from the bottom. Add the broth, tomatoes, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¾ teaspoon black pepper. Put the roast back into the pot and bring to a boil. Cover and bake1 hour.
3. Lower oven temperature to 275°F and continue baking until the meat is fork tender, 160°F internally, about 2-3 hours more hours, depending on the size of your roast. (If you want the meat tender enough to shred, bake another hour or so.)
4. Remove the roast to a cutting board. Transfer half the sauce and vegetables to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Strain the remaining half of liquid and discard the solids. Pour the puree and strained juices back into the pot and bring to a simmer. Mix together 2 tablespoons flour and the butter. Add to the gravy and whisk until thick, about 2 minutes. Taste for seasoning. (It will probably need more salt.)
5. Slice the roast and add the meat back to the gravy. Refrigerate overnight. Reheat the roast and gravy slowly in a covered pot on the stove, or preheat oven to 275°F and bake, covered, until it’s hot, about 1½ hours. Serve roast and gravy hot with rice or mashed potatoes.