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Montana Ag Network: Made In Montana Memorial Day BBQ

Posted at 10:00 AM, May 29, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-29 12:01:55-04

GREAT FALLS - Each Memorial Day many people host a barbecue to spend time with friends and loved ones.

It's a holiday we use to celebrate fallen service members.

Despite the deeper meaning of the holiday, celebrating our skills at the grill and in the kitchen remain a highlight.

We set out around Cascade County and Great Falls to find out what it would cost to host a made-in-Montana barbecue.

Our figures came into play by serving eight guests.

Hamburgers, cake, huckleberry lemonade, beer, and a quality bun.

We began at Central Avenue Meats in Great Falls, offering three options of ground beef.

  • Pre-made smoked brisket patty - $9.99 per lb.
  • Regular Ground Beef - 8.99 per lb. - 3 or more pounds - $7.99

We went with two pounds of regular ground beef, looking for ¼ pound patties for each guest.
All of the beef at Central Avenue Meats is locally sourced from McCafferty Ranch in Belt.

A few doors down, we stopped at the Mighty Mo Brewery where a growler glass costs $10 and depending on the brew, $13 to fill up.

Each growler holds 64 fluid ounces or 4 pints, we needed two.

With our locally sourced beer and beef, we needed a quality bun.

Great Harvest Bread Co. sells packages of eight buns for $6.50. All are locally milled and made in-house. Each bun cost $0.81.

We hit the road to Vaughn to the Big Sky Deli which is home to a number of huckleberry products. Did you know it's our state fruit?

For a package of a half gallon of huckleberry lemonade mix, we stuck with the 8-ounce glass rule which a half gall would give us just enough.

Each glass would equate to $1.19 and the entire half-gallon packet cost $9.59.

The last stop we made was at Hempl's Bakery, where we had to try the Champagne Cake.

A $29.00 value and slicing the cake into eight slices, each piece cost $3.62.

When we did the math after adding up the entire total cost it summed up to $109.07.

To feed each guest it would cost $13.62.

We understand that may the cake could be cut into smaller pieces, but these are a base ballpark prices.

When I think back to the last barbecue I held, for fewer items for about the same amount of people hosted, it cost me upwards of $70 at a big box grocery store.

Buying locally is nearly the same price as buying from a large corporation, what you're paying for is knowing where your food comes from.