Jeff Senger, Sangudo Custom Meats

Kevin Meier and Jeff Senger bought the Sangudo processing plant two years ago with the help of a community investment cooperative, a group of investors who were looking to invest locally. The former owner was looking to retire and, if he couldn’t find a buyer, would close the business — a too familiar story in rural Alberta.

“I got chatting with Kevin at one of the meetings. Turns out he had a retail meat cutting ticket but had been working as a plumber in the oil patch. I had a science and accounting background and was working as an accountant who made bacon in his backyard as a hobby.

“We both wanted something different. My wife Heather and I had moved to a farm near Sangudo a few years back. Now, we have a milk cow, geese, ducks and chickens, goats, pigs and a vegetable garden. I had always wanted to own something and this fits.

“We do custom cutting — 90 per cent are local farmers who come in with one animal and leave with it in boxes. Or resellers such as Nature’s Green Acres who will bring three or four animals at a time. We’re building a food service business. This is the area that’s really taken off. It‘s not the highest margin, but it’s the steadiest business, year-round. We started with Culina Mill Creek, now we sell to six to eight restaurants in Edmonton. We just took our biggest delivery load into Edmonton, 1500 pounds. I deliver every Thursday, other than that we’re at the plant every day.

“We’re provincially inspected. A federal plant is a multi-million dollar entity.

“We buy animals and package. Our standard aging is 28 days dry-age on grass fed organic (OCIA) beef. We’re processing smokies, sausage, jerky. The biggest growth is in smoked meats. We injected a ham with Bristol Cream Sherry then smoked it over cherry wood. We make a dry-rub bacon and will do a nitrite-free custom bacon on request.”

Sangudo Meats are on the menu at several restaurants including Three Boars, Corso 32 and the Culina restaurants. Find them at the Sangudo stand at the 124 Street Grand Market. Careit Urban Deli recently bought two whole beef and Jeff is in talks with the Pangea Market downtown.



Years in meat business?

Two years.

Where would you like to live?

Southern Alberta — it’s so beautiful with the mountains. Actually, if I could live anywhere/anytime? The 1860s in a prairie sod house, taming the west with a calculator and a gun.

Your favourite food and drink

Lasagna with cheese from our own cow and meat from our own beef, and I am loving Belgium Tripel beer. It’s a meal in the bottle — fruity and savoury, sweet and spicy.

What would you be doing if you weren’t cutting up meat?

Demolitions expert — it seems I have a talent for dismantling things.

What do you most appreciate in your friends?

Willingness to try new things, to explore.

Your favourite quality in a dish?


A cook/chef?

I like the ones who haven’t lost their passion for food; who get all excited when I bring them something, like lamb lips.

Who would be at your dream dinner table (dead or alive)?

Ray Kurzweil, John Taylor Gatto, Brad Lazarenko.

Who would cook?

Christine Sandford and the rest of the Staff Meal Collective.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Pain don’t hurt.

Current culinary obsession/exploration?

Offal and all the secondary cuts — we have huge demand for bones, cheeks and tongues, liver, kidney and spleen.

Meaningful/crazy meat cutting experience?

The time a steer got out. It jumped the fence and took off into the bush. We had to hunt it, kill it and dress it in the field.

Best (cooking) thing that ever happened to you?

Being asked by the chefs to help plate at the Roots and Shoots Slow Food National Conference Gala.


Timothy Farris, the four-hour work week guy — he puts a different spin on life.

Favourite casual cheap and cheerful/afterwork food?

Jerky, right out of the smoker, hot and sweaty with fat. We call it meat cookies.


Someone asked me once if I was an environmentalist, nowhere near that shallow — that’s somebody who works in an office and reuses a cup. I’m starting to understand the balance between plants and animals and people. The sound of the frogs, and what it means when there is no sound; the number of bugs when there’s a heavy mosquito hatch, what happens to hay when we have a dry year like last year. We’re becoming children of the land.

What’s next?

Doing things like introducing the idea of at home butchering; helping kids from the city learn about agriculture. Getting the meat shop firing on all cylinders.