Petit Jean Meats
Petit Jean Meats. If you’re from Arkansas, you are probably familiar with the brand of meat. But did you know that one brand tucked away in Morrilton, Arkansas produces 72,000 hams every year and enough hot dogs to stretch from Arkansas to Dallas and back? That’s right, this 4th generation, 90 year-old meat company gets it done!
Morrilton Packing Co., better known as Petit Jean Meats, has been a family owned and operated since it was founded by Felix Schlosser in the 1920s when he came to Arkansas from Germany in search of a better life. Morrilton, Arkansas is located at the base of Petit Jean Mountain, which bears the inspiration for the brand name we know and adore.
Petit Jean serves 90-120 customers across the country, including Walmart, Kroger, other grocers and many university cafeterias and athletic stadiums. They have a large variety of product, mainly focusing on pork. In the past 90 years, Petit Jean Meats has experienced much change, but they have remained true to their heritage. Petit Jean Morrilton Packing Company is still owned by the same family, and in fact, is the only privately owned processor of red meats left in Arkansas. The bacon and hams are still smoked for 18 hours with real burning hickory sawdust from a mill right here in the Ozark Mountains. Even though Petit Jean ships its products across the country, most of its customers still come from 75 miles around Morrilton (Conway County). Their meat has truly become a taste of Arkansas and an adequate part of our community.
The company is solely a meat packing company. Today, and since 1995, the company doesn’t slaughter its own hogs. Instead, it purchases select, fresh pork cuts, trimmed to exacting specifications, from larger meat packers. The family is very pleased to run a sanitary, environmentally friendly operation that ensures both quality and safety in each product. From a food research standpoint, Petit Jean sticks to mostly the traditional, classic ingredients from the meat originally packed in the first plant.
“If we’re trying something new, we set a product out in the breakroom. If it’s gone by the end of the day, we know it’s a good one and we should probably mass produce,” said Charles Ruff, who helps oversee the plant.
Petit Jean is truly Arkansas Made. Learn more about Petit Jean and Morrilton Packing at www.pjmeats.com. You can also find and purchase your favorite Petit Jean products online as well.