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Glenn Valley Foods’ Quick Release Steak Stands Tall Against the Competition

Glenn Valley Foods will take its ‘Flat Steak Challenge’ directly to restaurant owners to demonstrate how its Quick Release Philly steak cooks faster therefore increasing profitability.

Plato is said to have observed “necessity is the mother of invention,” meaning a need or problem encourages creative efforts to meet the need or solve the problem. For Glenn Valley Foods founder Gary Rohwer, that problem was steak meat not cooking fast enough for his restaurant customers’ Philly cheesesteak sandwiches.

“We didn’t create our patented Quick Release steak with the intention of taking it to the market,” Rohwer says. “We created it because we needed a faster cooking steak for our made-to-order Philly cheesesteak restaurant.”

His innovative solution? Quick Release steak that is vertically sliced using a patented process to allow for faster cook speed, which he developed in the 1990s after working with Dr. Roger Mandigo at the University of Nebraska’s Meat Science Department. Rohwer created a quick-casual Philly cheesesteak restaurant concept called PepperJax Grill in 2002 that featured his Philly sandwich using the Quick Release steak to quickly serve made-to-order cheesesteak sandwiches.

It was this innovation and revolutionary new steak that drove PepperJax Grill to become a Technomic’s top 100 restaurant chain, Rohwer said. He wanted to share this breakthrough product, so Rohwer patented the steak and pioneered it across the United States, selling it to the foodservice industry.

Rohwer sold his processing plant in Spencer, Iowa, and his marketing company in Omaha to Advance Foods in Enid, Okla., before launching PepperJax Grill. He bought the original Quick Release steak, Steak-EZE, for his restaurant for eight years from Advance Foods until he decided it was time to go back to the innovation drawing board to see if he could make the original Quick Release product even better.

In the wake of this challenge, Rohwer started his own Omaha, Neb.-based meat processing company called Glenn Valley Foods in 2009. With the founding of Glenn Valley Foods came “Gary’s new and improved Quick Release steak that cooks up even faster than the original and is also available in chicken and corned beef.”

“The whole idea is it cooks very, very fast and the versatility of it in terms of the uses,” Rohwer says. “If you tempered the product down to about 33 degrees, I have cooked it in 45 seconds. The reason for the speed is how it’s made, which was the essence of my patent and what created a top 100 restaurant chain out of PepperJax Grill.” Rohwer sold PepperJax Grill in 2016.

The Flat Steak Challenge

Glenn Valley Foods created a Quick Release product line of beef, chicken and corned beef for the foodservice industry that cooks even faster than its original product. The secret to the Quick Release steak is that when it is laid out on the grill, it allows steam to rise up through the vertical slices versus getting caught underneath the flat steak’s flat slices, therefore allowing the steak to cook much faster. The pre-sliced and pre-portioned quick-release Philly meat is exposed to heat a lot quicker because the steam is coming up through the slices, therefore cooking much faster.

Glenn Valley Foods can use meat that is 88% lean, capturing more moisture and flavor instead of meat that is 93% lean that is used to cook flat steak. “A patent attorney called the process ‘unbelievable’ and an anomaly,” Rohwer notes. “The process is all about pressure, time and temperature. That’s why it cooks so much quicker.”

Glenn Valley Foods is on a mission to prove its Quick Release steak is superior to the traditional flat steak that has been used by many restaurants since the 1940s, according to Rohwer. Glenn Valley Foods has its sights set on converting restaurant chains that specialize in the Philly cheesesteak to its Quick Release through what it’s calling the Flat Steak Challenge.

The company will take its Quick Release product line to restaurant owners and demonstrate how its steak cooks 20 to 30 seconds faster than the flat steak. “Our Quick Release steak will create more profitability for the restaurants because they can sell more sandwiches in a period of time,” Rohwer explains.

“In the restaurant and foodservice business, no one can argue that time is money,” Rohwer says. “I believe value is the relationship between price and quality, and quality is a perception that goes beyond the product you sell. Think about the value of great execution relative to cook time and that is what we have to offer you. A revolutionary product of the highest quality that cooks faster, giving you back time and profits and a level of service that always puts you first.”