Barbecue means something a little different to every region across the United States, but there is one thing everyone can agree on — it never goes out of style.

At the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association (IDDBA) show in Anaheim, Calif., June 4-6, many brands showcased ways they are working to continue supporting retailers with quality and efficiency in the barbecue category.

Start with the meats

Austin, Minn.-based Hormel Foods staged several creative and intricate lifestyle scenes to show how the company’s products are “made for more togethertaining” at its IDDBA show booth.

While browsing the displays, show attendees had the opportunity to sample Hormel’s Sadler’s Smokehouse Beef Burnt Ends that were tossed in South Carolina mustard barbecue sauce, served over a sweet potato waffle fry, and topped with whiskey-soaked pickled leeks, crispy onion, and microgreens.

This recipe was just one example of how prepared foods departments can utilize Hormel’s barbecue meats in meals that are sure to grab a consumer’s attention.

Megan Ward, senior brand manager at Hormel, said that the Austin Blues Pecanwood Smoked Sliced Rib Tips are the company’s fastest growing prepared foods item and go perfectly in a variety of meal kits and entertainment kits.

According to Hormel, the brand’s rib tips offer the following benefits:

  • All-natural (minimally processed, no artificial ingredients)
  • Fully cooked with a savory BBQ rub and slow-smoked over 100% Pecanwood chips for a deep-smoked flavor and rich mahogany color
  • Prepared the same way a Pitmaster would do it in the BOH, allowing any operator to menu competition-quality ribs
  • An un-sauced product provides flexibility to add signature sauce or dry rub
  • Quick and easy to prepare; saves time and labor

Ward shared that an easy kit for instore delis to put together quickly is a slider kit using Hormel’s rib tips.

Add the bread

For slider kits, many retailers are using Los Angeles-based King’s Hawaiian buns and rolls because the sweet bread nicely complements smoked meats.

In addition to smoky and sweet, sweet heat continues to be a top flavor trend, said Greg Stockdale, King’s Hawaiian’s corporate executive chef.

“Spice pairs well with King’s Hawaiian’s irresistible, sweet cloud-like dough,” Stockdale said.

He added that the company is encouraging consumers to celebrate “Slider Sundays” with King’s Hawaiian buns and rolls à la Taco Tuesdays.

“Slider Sunday is a weekly ritual where your friends and family get together and share tasty, easy-to-make sliders,” the company said. “No matter which delicious recipe you choose, we’re sure you and your Ohana will agree: Everything’s Better Between King’s Hawaiian Bread.”

Consumers can find a variety of Slider Sunday recipes online and are encouraged to share their cooking creations with the brand using the hashtag #SliderSunday on social media.

Round up the sides

When families and friends gather around barbecue, they typically want to avoid showing up empty handed. For the busy consumer, finding convenient and high-quality options at their local supermarket’s instore deli is key.

According to Nathan Roe, senior marketing manager at Beaverton, Ore.-based Reser’s Fine Foods, macaroni and cheese is an obvious complement to barbecue. He added that coleslaw is also an easy pairing with barbecue meat because it is lighter after the heavy stuff, along with roasted sweet corn and pasta salads.

“Anything that isn’t a protein salad goes well with barbecue,” Roe said. “Bringing a salad to an event that looks fresh and home-prepared makes someone feel like they are contributing in a meaningful way.”

For shoppers looking for complete barbecue meals for an individual or a small family, Roe said that Reser’s helps retailers build barbecue meal kits with everything in one package. Reser’s would supply the side dish, and the retailer would add their own ribs, brisket or chicken to it.

“What we do is inspire and help retailers make that happen,” Roe said.

This article is an excerpt from Supermarket Perimeter's July 2023 issue. You can read the entire Barbecue feature and more in the digital edition here.