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2:08 AM Wed, Sept. 26th

'Meating' demand: Prescott declared steak, barbecue capital of Arizona

Max Efrein/The Daily Courier<br>A rack of ribs that was smoked for about four hours at Sally’s B.B.Q., 334 S. Montezuma, Prescott.

Max Efrein/The Daily Courier<br>A rack of ribs that was smoked for about four hours at Sally’s B.B.Q., 334 S. Montezuma, Prescott.

Prescott has been ordained the meat mecca of Arizona by a study conducted by FindTheHome and FindTheCompany, two research engines.

Basing their report on statistics provided by Dun & Bradstreet, an American public company that provides commercial data to businesses, Prescott has the highest density of steak and barbecue restaurants in the state.

For every 10,000 people, there are 3.2 steak and barbecue joints, according to the findings. Prescott has about 41,000 people, according to a 2014 estimate from the U.S. Census Bureau. Therefore, Dun & Bradstreet is saying there are about 13 steak and barbecue places in Prescott.

This puts Prescott as having the seventh highest steak and barbecue density in the country, according to the report. Those cities leading Prescott in this category are as follows:

6) Jackson, Tennessee

5) Decatur, Alabama

4) Greenville, South Carolina

3) Meridian, Mississippi

2) Hickory, North Carolina

1) Ocala, Florida

Apparently, Ocala beats out the bunch by a long shot, boasting about 6.5 steak and barbecue restaurants per 10,000 people, translating to 36 steak and barbecue restaurants for its approximately 57,586 residents.

Now, the report isn't necessarily saying that Prescott has the best steak and barbecue in the state, it's simply saying it has the most for the number of people in the area. However, could this really be true?

First of all, how does one classify a restaurant as either a steak or barbecue joint?

To some, barbecue is throwing some hamburgers on the hibachi. Others say no, that's grilling, not barbecue.

Some believe barbecue only includes pork, whereas others say it can include beef or even chicken. The Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS), which sanctions hundreds of competitions, says all three count.

In North Carolina, on the other hand, barbecue is strictly in reference to pork - there are even bills and laws that relate to the subject in that state.

To Mike Sally, owner of Sally's BBQ and Tastebuds Pizza in downtown Prescott, barbecue is pretty much any meat, as long as it's smoked and abides by the golden rule of barbecue: low and slow (low heat and long cook times).

"How can you call yourself a barbecue place if you don't have a smoker?" Sally asked.

In addition to Sally's, another restaurant in Prescott that prides itself on its smoked meats is Montana Bar-BQ Co., which recently relocated from Prescott Valley to Prescott.

Aside from those two, there doesn't appear to be any other true barbecue restaurants in Prescott's city limits.

"The only other places I can think of are Lucky's in Dewey and Big Daddy E's in Chino Valley," said Mike Jeffrey, who owns and operates Montana Bar-BQ Co. with his wife, Lynn.

As for steak joints, there is quite a bit more variety, but whether there are 11 to bring the total number of steak and barbecue restaurants in Prescott to 13 - as the report indicates -might be pushing it.

On a simple Google search of steak restaurants in Prescott, these are the places that pop up: Dry Gulch Steakhouse, Texas Roadhouse, Cattleman's Bar and Grill, Murphy's, Willow Creek Restaurant, Palace Restaurant & Saloon.

In addition to those, other places that serve steak are Iron Springs Café, Bin 239, Red Lobster and Applebee's.

Whether all of these can be considered "steak restaurants" may be up to the beholder, but there is no denying many people in Prescott take their animal protein pretty seriously and that there are some tasty places to "meat" the demand.

Follow Max Efrein on Twitter @mefrein. Reach him at 928-445-3333 ext. 1105, or 928-642-7864.