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Home > Blog > Made in Mesquite: A look at Homegrown Texas Products

Made in Mesquite: A look at Homegrown Texas Products

Mesquite, Texas. Population 144,000. An unpretentious town 15 minutes east of downtown Dallas, that’s probably best known as the “Rodeo Capital of Texas.” It’s not all about roping and bulls, though. Upon a closer look, you’ll find that many local companies that have left their mark, proudly representing Texas on the world stage are proud to call Mesquite home.

J&R Manufacturing

If there is one thing that Texans know, it’s how to cook food over a fire. Where would the world be without Texas BBQ or smoked brisket? Mesquite-based J&R Manufacturing is proud to contribute to the state’s already stellar culinary offerings.

Two friends, H. E. Finley, who knew metal fabrication, and inventor Herbert Oyler decided to go into the pit barbeque business. Oyler was tragically killed in an accident just 15 minutes after their initial meeting. A few months later, Finley and new partner Mike Higgins bought the patents from Mrs. Oyler, and J&R was formed in 1974. Their first product? The Oyler Pit, a 100 percent wood-fired barbecue pit, named in honor of the late Herbert.

Since then, through relentless innovation, meticulous attention to detail, and the steadfast philosophy that taste is the #1 priority, J&R smokers, broilers, and rotisseries appear in kitchens the world over. You can find them at SeaWorld, the Hilton Tokyo Bay Hotel, and in Gordan Ramsey’s Las Vegas Restaurant in Caeser’s Palace. From hole-in-the-wall BBQ joints to Micheline-starred, fine-dining establishments, J&R is there.

Culinary professionals that know their food turn to J&R because of its worldwide reputation for durability, customer service, and above all, the ability of its products to impart exquisite flavor and texture in any meat. J&R can customize any of its products to meet any kitchen need from open-design grillers to back-of-the-house ovens. And size requirements mean nothing, the largest Oyler can turn 1,800 pounds of raw meat into the moistest, most flavorful delight in the world.

They’re so efficient that they can run unattended for 14 hours while maintaining precise temperature control, thanks to their unique airflow control system. And, the coals in the firebox last a whopping 72 hours. The combination of precise air, smoke, and humidity controls allow grillmasters to get just the flavor they’re looking for every time. When serious BBQ chefs want the best food for their customers, they cook on the finest barbeque pits in the world, an Oyler. And don’t you dare ask about propane.

The Pickle Juice Company

Another thing Texans know about is heat. While it gets hot in the state, Texans are not going to hide indoors in the safety of AC—they lean into the heat. Take a look at the Hotter’n Hell 100 as an example. It’s one of the oldest and largest cycling events in the U.S. More than 13,000 cyclists ride 100 miles across sunbaked asphalt. In August. In Texas.

Perhaps that what this Mesquite-proud company had in mind when they came up with the idea of pickle juice as an electrolyte replacement drink for endurance athletes. The Pickle Juice Company has been around since 2001 with the goal of getting athletes to the finish line faster, and more importantly, cramp-free.

Pickle Juice, the beverage, has about 10 times the amount of electrolytes than typical sports drinks. This high dosage, coupled with the addition of antioxidants like potassium, zinc, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E, helps the body by removing lactic acid from the working muscles to help prevent cramping. It’s important to note that Pickle Juice, the beverage, is not the same as the brine leftover from a jar of pickles. Pickle Juice is formulated from dual filtered water, organic vinegar, salt, organic dill oil, and the aforementioned electrolytes. The vinegar and dill give it the distinctive pickle flavor.

The vinegar acts as a neural inhibitor, making it a powerful weapon against cramping. The science backs it up. A study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise proved that pickle juice is more effective than plain water at reducing muscle cramps. Another study from the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology showed it could lower blood sugar spikes.

And athletes have taken note. Amateurs and pros alike from a huge range of sports across the globe, from marathoners to triathletes, even to professional football and basketball players swear by it. It satisfies that salt craving athletes get after hard workouts, keeps them hydrated, and prevents cramping.

Both of these companies were born and bred in Mesquite. They both saw a void and had an idea that would fill it with a quality product. Who knows, maybe the next million-dollar company is already here?

Written by Shaine Smith for Matcha in partnership with Mesquite CVB.

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