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New Burke Sriracha Sausage taking cravings by firestorm.


It’s the distinctive flavor that is blazing through every daypart and menu part. Sriracha blends chili peppers, garlic, sugar, vinegar and salt into a complex, spicy flavor consumers crave.

Burke has captured sriracha’s zippy, tangy heat in a delicious NEW sausage topping. Operators can use this bold new Sriracha Sausage to create tempting pizzas, sandwiches, even breakfast offerings. Marketing and R&D departments can now develop products with the sought-after taste that has become a phenom everywhere.

Sriracha Sausage Avocado Breakfast Pizza

Sriracha, sometimes called the “Hipster’s Ketchup” because of its popularity and cool (hot) factor, is a current way to satisfy customers, while promising an adventure into flavor. Fifty-four percent of consumers prefer very spicy foods and sauces, compared to just 48 percent in 2011. Kalsec, Inc.’s U.S. HeatSync Index with Mintel International report a strong increase in pepper use, with an index up 38 percent over the previous six months.  

Pizzas are showing a trend toward bolder flavors. Operators are using and consumers are ordering spicy sauce 300 percent more often.

Asian flavors are among the top 20 “hot” food trends, according to, and Asian-inspired breakfast items are getting lots of attention. It’s no secret that sriracha contributes this Asian flavor deliciously to the first meal of the day.

Recently debuted and sampled at the International Pizza Expo and the Research Chefs Association Annual Conference and Culinology® Expo, Sriracha Sausage was met with excitement and acclaim.                   

 “Burke’s new Sriracha Sausage is giving our customers a mouthwatering  way to grab onto the consumer cravings for sriracha flavor from eye-opening breakfasts to late-night pizza,” said Scott Miller, Burke National Sales Manager.

“The response has been great, not only to the big idea of capturing a powerful trend in such a useable way,” said Mike Dougherty, Burke National Sales Manager, “but also to the exceptional flavor and appearance Burke has developed in this delicious Sriracha Sausage.”

There’s no denying the flavor is on trend. Burke’s new Sriracha Sausage is high-end quality as well. Burke’s HAND-PINCHED STYLE® gives this sausage a signature look. It’s available in Avg. 30/oz. size, perfect for prepared foods in the freezer case or from the back of house---pizza, sandwiches pasta dishes, casseroles and more.

Burke’s Sriracha Sausage is IQF so it’s easy to handle in the kitchen and runs smoothly through any manufacturing line. And, of course, as a Burke product, it’s always consistent for predictable performance and flavor.

We’d love to share more with you. If you’d like to find out if you qualify for a sample of our new Sriracha Sausage, please visit


McCormick Lists Top Flavors, 2014 Trends


McCormick & Co. Inc. has released its 2014 Trends Flavor Forecast 2014.

The 2014 trends report highlights five top food trends and more than a dozen emerging flavors predicted to impact the way we eat in the coming years. One such trend is the growing obsession with chilies. “Everywhere we looked, people have a growing fascination with the delicious range of flavors and heat chile peppers deliver,” said Kevan Vetter, McCormick’s Executive Chef.
McCormick Flavor Forecast 2014 offer a taste of what’s next on the global menu:

Five Top Flavors:

  • Aja Amarillo: A hot Peruvian yellow chile with bold, fruity flavor.

  • Kashmiri Masala: An often homemade blend of spices from northern India featuring cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, cloves, and ginger.

  • Tea: Not just for sipping anymore, this natural ingredient is making its way into rubs, broths, and marinades.

  • Chamoy Sauce: A unique Mexican condiment—made from apricot, lime, chilies, and spices—just beginning to gain a following in the United States.

  • Cassava Flour: Also known as manioc or tapioca flour, this gluten-free alternative is a Brazilian staple prized for its versatility.

5 Top Trends:

  • Chilies Obsession: Food lovers everywhere are seeking out their next big chile thrill.

  • Modern Masala: Indian food is finally having its moment, breaking free of its traditional confines with modern interpretations.

  • Clever Compact Cooking: Proving that big flavorsVaquero Beef Pizza can come from small spaces, cooks in urban kitchens are making the most of what’s available.

  • Mexican World Tour: Mexican flavors are making their way around the globe, with people everywhere discovering new aspects of this bright, casual cuisine.

  • Charmed by Brazil: The world’s attraction to Brazilian cuisine is heating up, thanks to its seductive mix of global and native influences.

Let Burke’s R&D Team develop a custom topping that fits your flavor goals for the new year!

The True Cost of Ground Beef


With today’s high beef market costs, it’s good to review the true costs of ground beef. Below is an illustration that compares cooking yield loss with product costs of 80-percent lean ground beef.

In today’s beef markets, wholesale 80-percent lean, uncooked ground beef sells for about $2.25/lb. Based on various cooking methods, the USDA (USDA Handbook 8 Series) rates the following cooking yields and thus its consequential true costs are as follows:

Cooking Method Cooking Yield True Cost
Baked, medium 74.07% $3.04/lb
Baked, well 57.98 3.88
Broiled, medium 70.99 3.17
Broiled, well 61.95 3.63
Pan-fried, medium 72.09 3.12
Pan-fried, well 63.05 3.57

Cooking Yield based on USDA Handbook 8 Series.

True Cost is based on all other costs such as labor for cooking, utilities, handling and waste control are not included.

As demonstrated, the product loss due to cooking and cooking method adds substantial costs to raw meat, aside from other costs that are harder to identify such as labor, handling, waste, etc. Not to mention product liability, quality and food safety integrity.

When considering meat toppings and fillings for your recipe development projects, select pre-cooked meat toppings and fillings. Their perceived costs are higher when compared to the costs of uncooked ground beef, but the reality is that if your operation is cooking, you are already paying for these cost, plus much, much more.

Contact your Burke representative today about the advantages of using pre-cooked meats.

IQF Provides Optimal Quality Products

Kelsey McCarty, guest writer

At Burke we strive relentlessly to produce and deliver the highest quality food possible. Many factors throughout our processes play into the quality of our products. One of these factors is the freezing process that we use at our facility.

We make products utilizing a process called Individually Quick Frozen (IQF). With this process, our products go from proper cooked meat temperatures to below 0°F in a matter of minutes. This is opposed to a slow freezing process that could take up to three hours. We obtain these temperatures via mechanical and cryogenic freezing systemBurkes IQF Diced Hams.

When meat goes through a freezing process, water molecules in the product bind together and form ice crystals. With a fast freezing process, these molecules aren’t allowed much time to organize, like they would a slow freezing process, so small ice crystals are formed. Large ice crystals disrupt proteins and decrease the water binding capacity of these proteins. When
water binding capacity is decreased, there is an increase in drip loss from products when thawed. Excess purge is undesirable because it creates a watery, lower quality product.

Other advantages of IQF products include microbial control and optimal conversion of flavor, nutrition and texture. With a fast freezing process, less flavor and nutrition content will be lost after the product goes through the freeze-thaw cycle. This is because components would be leached out with the excess drip loss that a slow freezing processing brings. Texture, too, is conserved because of the minimal ice crystal formation which is a detriment to product texture. The texture of Burke products are stable from before and after it has been IQF.

The IQF freezing process is just one process that Burke employs to deliver to our customers the best quality products that we can make. We are continuously finding and developing new technology that will enhance our products from the beginning to when it reaches our valued customers.

Editor’s note: Kelsey McCarty is a student intern in Burke’s R&D Department. Currently a junior in food science and technology at Iowa State University, Kelsey is a frequent member of the ISU Dean’s List. She is the current president of ISU’s Colleges Against Cancer, the ISU Undergraduate IFT Representative, and vice president of the ISU Food Science Club. Upon graduation, Kelsey is planning on employment in the food industry or continuing her professional growth by perusing her graduate degree in either food or meat science.

Pizza Expo 2014 is Right Around the Corner


It’s not too early to make your plans for theBurke Team Pizza Expo 2013 International Pizza Expo, 2014! The expo is slated for March 25-27 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The three day show is packed with demonstrations, workshops, seminars and contests. And, lots of good fun!

The International Pizza Expo is celebrating its 30th anniversary. A long time staple of the Expo, Burke Corporation has participated in all but the Expo’s first year in 1984. Celebrity keynote speakers this year include Donatella Arpaia, judge on the Food Network’s “Iron Chef”, and cousins Sal Basile and Francis Garcia from the Cooking Channel’s “Pizza Cuz”.

While attending the Pizza Expo, plan spending some time at the Burke Team and Booth #927. Experience Burke’s premier toppings and friendly sales and marketing staff. From Burke’s new coarse-ground Italian Sausages to their new line of IQF diced ham and Canadian bacon, Burke meats are known throughout the country as having the finest, best tasting and preforming products available.

Among our popular meatball and topping offerings, the Swiss American Sausage Brand is going to be emphasized at our booth this year, highlighting their West-Coast Style Pepperoni and other dry sausages.

Are you following us on Facebook, Twitter or Google+? We will be giving live updates from our booth all three days

Go to to register and to learn more about this annual event.

Ring in the New Year with Flavorful Breakfast Trends


We've been hearing that "breakfast is the most important meal of the day" for as long as we can remember.  Numerous studies have given evidence that eating breakfast can result in many positive health consequences.  However, this vital meal is often difficult, if not impossible, to fit into our busy schedules.  In a survey conducted by Kellogg's in 2011, only 34% of adults eat breakfast every day.  In order for Americans to get the most from their mornings they need to eat!  Could the lack of breakfast participation be from bland breakfast options?  Don't let a boring bowl of oatmeal or soggy cereal keep you from eating breakfast!

The breakfast trends for the new year are anything but boring.  According to the National Restaurant Association (NRA) 2014 Culinary Forecast, ethnic-inspired breakfast items rank 16th on their Top 20 Trends list.  This means consumers will be seeing lots of bold and ethnic flavors on breakfast menus in the coming year. For example, the NRA mentioned chorizo scrambled eggs as an ethnic inspired breakfast dish.  The addition of this rich and flavorful protein intensifies this breakfast staple making it new and exciting. The National Restaurant Association report also included the trend of traditional ethnic breakfast items becoming more popular.  Items like huevos rancheros will be making a reappearance on menus in 2014.  Whether it's new ethnic creations or old standbys making a comeback, bold flavor is a big trend for breakfast in 2014. 

Also in the upcoming year, breakfast will not be confined to a particular day part.  Technomic reported that, "Consumers are less likely to eat according to a three-square-meals schedule."  This means breakfast can be eaten at any time of the day, not just in the morning.  Opening up the breakfast meal-part gives consumers more purchasing opportunities and restaurants and reBurke Turkey Scrambletailers more selling opportunities.  Creative breakfast sandwiches, flatbreads and burritos are a great way to incorporate this trend.  These options are familiar, portable and craveable. Late-night breakfast menus are also picking up steam, proving again that breakfast is delicious, no matter the time.

The trend of healthy eating has been a recurring trend for many years, and breakfast is no exception in the new year.  One way this is being incorporated into breakfast items is by using egg whites in omelets, hashes, and sandwiches just to name a few applications.  Replacing a whole egg with egg whites cuts calories, fat and cholesterol from breakfast favorites without sacrificing flavor or protein.  To boost the protein of your breakfast even more, add turkey breakfast sausage.  Turkey breakfast sausage is the perfect partner to an egg white omelet or breakfast burrito, and makes many delicious and healthy breakfast choices.

From bold ethnic flavors to healthy breakfast options, the new year is bringing fresh ideas to liven up the first meal of the day.  If you haven't yet chosen your new year's resolution, maybe eating a balanced breakfast every morning would be the perfect way to start 2014 off on the right foot.       

Menu Inspiration 

Turkey Scramble-Scrambled egg whites are combined with turkey breakfast sausage crumbles and chopped white onions, red and green bell peppers and seasonings, served overtop a bed of baked home fries, offering a delicious and filling breakfast or brunch.                                                                                                                                                                       

Enhance Your Menu with a Savory Pancake


When thinking of breakfast, one of the first foods that comes to mind is most likely pancakes.  The vision of a mouthwatering short stack dripping with syrup and a pat of melting butter is the traditional image, but why not expand the pancake horizon?  The simplicity of unadorned pancake batter is the perfect place to start when developing a delicious and contemporary new savory dish, featuring on-trend contrasts in flavor and texture.

The addition of unique and flavorful savory ingredients is a great way to enhance the traditional pancake. One example of an ingredient that can transform a regular pancake into a tasty and interesting breakfast is...bacon.  Adding bacon pieces into a standard pancake batter incorporates just the right amount of saltiness and texture making them even more delicious.  Pancakes can also transition onto your lunch menu.  Consider replacing a traditional ham and cheese sandwich with a ham and cheese pancake made with aged white cheddar cheese, diced ham, and caramelized onions. 

Another technique for transporting pancakes into other day and menu parts is to experiment with different types of flours and grains in the batter.  Using flours such as whole wheat, potato, rye, almond or rice is a simple way to create variation.  If health is important consider adding the extremely popular quinoa; when added to pancakes it adds an extra dose of protein and a filling heartiness to the dish.

Although maple syrup on pancakes is delicious, consumers are looking for an innovation and creativity in their food that is equally tempting.  One way to kick-up your pancakes a notch is to add a touch of the unexpected by incorporating a savory and tasty sauce or topping, such as chili on a cornmeal based pancake.

Nontraditional variations such as potato pancakes are another creative option.  Not only are potatoes inexpensive, but also they are a comfort food for many.  Using ingredients already on hand in an innovative application is a great way to keep food costs down while still delighting the customer. The mainstream appetizer, potato skins, are without a doubt delicious but lack inspiration.  With the same ingredients, make loaded potato pancakes using bacon, green onions, cheddar cheese and sour cream.  Simple changes can make a big impact on the appeal of a menu. 

A relative of pancakes, crepes are another traditionally sweet dish that transitions wonderfully with the addition of savory flavors.  Using crepes as an alternative to pancakes is a great way to incorporate different proteins into a menu.  Stuffing crepes with meats such as chicken or chorizo, flavorful cheeses like Fontina or gouda and fresh vegetables like asparagus and leeks make a great enhancement to a menu.

Whichever pancake variation or spin-off is incorporated into a menu, there is no doubt that customers will appreciate the addition of current culinary trends.  Savory pancakes may be your next signature dish, and your ticket to a more successful business.

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Menu Inspiration

Sausage Pancake Benedict- A mini buttermilk pancake topped with turkey sausage, a velvety hollandaise sauce, and garnished with fresh chives.

Hearty Ham and Gruyere Crepe- A savory crepe filled with diced ham, shredded gruyere cheese, sauteed mushrooms and topped with a creamy mornay sauce.

Burke Corporation names Beuter Product Development Manager

Brad Beuter

NEVADA, IA---Burke Corporation, leader in fully cooked meat products and pizza toppings, has named Brad Beuter Product Development Manager.

In his new position, Beuter will lead a team developing precooked meat toppings for customers, matching and customizing flavor, texture and cost profiles. Beuter was previously Production Supervisor, overseeing day-to-day operations on the Burke production line.

“Brad’s experience with Burke’s production capabilities will continue Burke’s dedication to efficiency,” said Casey Frye, Vice President of Research and Development. “His knowledge of the process is critical to assuring customers that our product will always work for their applications.”

“I’m looking forward to understanding market demands and anticipate building great partnerships as we bring our customers’ ideas to fruition,” said Beuter.

A graduate of Iowa State University, Beuter received a degree in agricultural science. He has been a member of the Burke team for six years and brought more than sixteen years of food industry experience to the organization.

For more information about Burke fully cooked meat products, visit

Dip into New Uses for Hummus


Once an unusual and mostly unheard of food item, hummus is now widely popular and eaten frequently throughout America.  According to Information Resources Inc. (IRI) in 2012 hummus sales were up to $530 million, a 25% increase from 2010.  With statistics like this it's no secret that hummus is a hot trend right now.  

The recent demand for hummus is generating creative variations and uses for this popular blend of chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans), tahini (sesame seed butter), olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. Hummus is being infused with ingredients like garlic, roasted red pepper, avocado, cilantro, jalapeno, and basil just to name a few variations. 

Along with incorporating different flavors into traditional hummus, it's used for more than just a dip for vegetables and pita bread/chips.  Hummus is being used as a replacement for mayonnaise or mustard on sandwiches or burgers, an alternative to tomato sauce on pizza, and a new and interesting topping for pasta.

Hummus is commonly associated with vegetarian or vegan diets, but hummus is a great ingredient to use in dishes containing meat.  The creamy texture of hummus is a great compliment to many different animal proteins.  If you are looking for someting new and creative to add to your menu, keep hummus in mind.

Menu Ideas:

Grilled Vegatable and Chicken Wrap- Grilled bell peppers, onions, zucchini, and  chicken Hummusbreast strips fill a whole wheat wrap spread with a cilantro lime hummus.

Humble Hummus Pie-A thin layer of garlic-flavored hummus combined with all beef bias-sliced Italian-style links, black olives, green peppers and a combination of  feta and mozzarella cheeses.  

Request a Sample at

Photo credit

What's Your Angle on Fresh Prepared Food?


It's noon, you're starving, and of course you didn't have time to pack a lunch due to a particularly early morning at the office.  The restaurant across the street sounds good, but who has time to sit down for lunch in the middle of the week?  You know the nearest drugstore only has candy bars and chips, and the thought of another soggy sandwich from the vending machine is almost enough to make you skip lunch altogether.  You decide that having some questionably old chocolate from your desk drawer will have to do.  This completely wrecks your healthy eating plan, oh well, there's protein in chocolate...right?

This is one example of a lost opportunity during the lunch day-part.  Situations similar to the one above are happening every day.  Many consumers are more than willing to purchase pre-made meals from gas stations, drugstores, or supermarkets, but only if they meet their set of standards.  People eating on the go are not only looking for something fast and portable, they want food that is fresh, delicious, and healthy.

What exactly constitutes the freshness in fresh prepared food?  Retailers are throwing around words like fresh and wholesome, but what do those words really mean when they are describing our meals?  Unfortunately, there is not one set definition for fresh when it comes to food.  Each merchandiser has to choose how it wants to describe fresh to its own customers.  According to "Fresh Prepared Foods: A Growth Driver for Your Company", a white paper produced by ATKearney and Technomic, there are four ways to characterize fresh when it comes to prepared food. 

  • In-store preparation
  • In-store finish
  • Commissary model
  • Food processor model

In-store preparation (procuring the basic ingredients and assembling the product in store) is probably what most consumers expect when they picture their grab-n-go options being prepared.  Although this may be the most appealing method when making fresh prepared food, it is not always the most practical for the retailer from a management or a financial perspective. In-store preparation requires dedicated space, expertise and training. Additionally there are many costs associated with in-store preparation such as increased labor costs and increased waste from using raw ingredients. 

In-store finish operations are shipped frozen food and then complete the food Simply Artisan Pizza using fully cooked sausageprep in store.  The preparation typically involves thawing or reheating the food before sale to the customer.  There can also be some in-store assembly, adding ingredients to a basic platform. For example, the store could add pre-cooked sausage or fresh vegetables to a pre-prepared frozen cheese pizza. The option of using some or all frozen ingredients decreases the amount of waste and can be a great solution for merchandisers offering fresh prepared food. 

The commissary model uses centralized kitchens to make and deliver fresh prepared food to stores, or partners with a local fresh food provider.  Using the commissary model can help resolve inventory issues that arise when implementing the in-store preparation model.

The fourth option is the food processor model.  Retailers would connect with a major food processor that can produce fresh prepared meal options.  This can be a good option for those wanting consistency and are willing to create a relationship with a large food processor and distributor.

Implementing fresh prepared foods into any retail foodservice establishment takes some work and lots of planning.  The four methods mentioned above all have their strengths and weaknesses, but retailers must determine which strategy will work best in their own situation.  It may take time before a fresh prepared food segment runs smoothly, but there is no doubt that grab-n-go options are a hot foodservice trend.

Visit to request a sample of Burke's Fully Cooked Meats to incorporate into your fresh prepared food offerings!

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