This Houston-area BBQ joint says it will cut profit to continue to serve customers during the meat shortage

2 Guys 1 Pit BBQ located in Tomball (Courtesy of Google Maps)

HOUSTON – The nationwide meat shortage caused by the coronavirus pandemic is affecting local butcher shops and BBQ pits. Many of them had no choice but to increase prices on meat items.

Chris Clarabut and Richard Rodriguez owns Tomball-based 2 Guys 1 Pit BBQ and Catering, where they announced via Facebook the price increase of their brisket meat after prices have tripled in the past two weeks, they said. The increase went in effect Tuesday.

Clarabut said he and Rodriguez wanted to be as transparent as possible with their customers through social media and by posting signs around the restaurant.

“By now I’m sure you have seen all the stories about beef shortages and price increases from distributors,” the Facebook post said, "and I can confirm that it’s happening.”

Alrighty friends and family (because to us you are our extended family) it’s time for some transparency with you guys...

Posted by 2 Guys 1 Pit BBQ and Catering on Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Purchasing difficulties

Both Clarabut and Rodriguez used to buy meat from a single distributor, but now they’re turning to multiple. At one point, no one had any brisket meat, and the staff had to jump from one place to another to fill their queue for customers, Clarabut said.

Before the shortage, brisket meat was purchased at around $2.60 a pound. Now they’re paying $6.80 a pound, and Clarabut says many people do not realize that the meat becomes 30% to 50% smaller after trimming the fat and smoking it.

“It ends up being $20 a pound for us,” he added.

He also said that chicken and pork prices could rise.

How the restaurant is taking care of their customers

The restaurant raised brisket prices by $2. For combo plates, customers have the option to alleviate the cost by substituting another meat item to avoid the price hike.

Profits had to be cut, but Clarabut says this was a way to avoid passing “astronomical pricing” onto their customers, as some had said they will continue to purchase brisket from them even as prices increase.

About the Author:

A graduate of the University of Houston-Downtown, Ana moved to H-Town from sunny southern California in 2015. In 2020, she joined the KPRC 2 digital team as an intern. Ana is a self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur, a catmom of 2, and an aquarium enthusiast. In her spare time, she's an avid video gamer and loves to travel.