Browning Beef is a local grass-fed/finished beef ranch that came from very humble beginnings. Starting with a dozen head of cattle and a fifth wheel, the business has bloomed into an immensely popular ranch to table beef producer.
Browning Beef, established in 2017, provides beef to consumers and restaurants alike. Customers can sample Browning Beef at several locations around Spokane or order it themselves on the website. Some of the Spokane restaurants who use the grass-fed/finished Longhorn cross beef are Billie’s Diner, and Masselow’s Steakhouse in Airway Heights, The Grain Shed, Black Diamond, and the Main Market Co-Op in Spokane.
The owner of Browning Beef, Frankie Browning, is a Spokane native and a former schoolteacher. Frankie and her husband Billy are first generation ranchers. “We didn’t come from ranching families, but we always wanted to own a ranch,” said Frankie. The couple currently operate two ranches in Spangle and Clarkston.
Inspired by the desire to be a self-sufficient stay at home mom, Browning decided to get creative after her career as a schoolteacher. She has lived in California and other parts of Washington, spent some time in Europe and taught middle school English in Japan. In Japan, the produce that is available to purchase for consumption is only in season. “You can feel the difference when you are eating produce that doesn’t travel very far and is only eaten in season “she said.
While teaching at Freeman, Browning began selling her grass-fed/finished beef out of her pickup truck. She said people who bought it said that she should start a business so everyone could eat it. Browning had a child on the way and her husband had a successful construction business, so she decided to take the leap and is very happy she did.
The cattle on Browning Ranch are meticulously cared for throughout their whole life cycle from birth to slaughter. They are a closed herd meaning all their stock is raised from birth on their ranch. They graze freely in green pastures during spring and summer. In the fall, the herd is hauled down to Clarkston where they winter in the more temperate climate. Here the cattle pasture on grass for an additional four months. They are fed a diet of grass hay and alfalfa from February to early April during calving season.
“All Browning Beef is harvested on site at the Clarkston ranch and processed by 4 Frendz and the boxed beef is transported in a refrigerated truck to Spangle and a locker storage in Spokane,” said Browning.
The Browning’s believe in using as much of the animal as they can, and grass-fed/finished beef is in high demand by both consumers and retailers. “We use every single piece of the animal, so we pull as many steaks, prime cuts, bones and organs from the animal as we possibly can,” said Browning. Grass fed/finished organs are in high demand and hard to find.
She also said they sell some of the organs to a Montana health supplement company who dehydrates them for use in capsules. These are for people who want the nutrients from organ meat but cannot bring themselves to eat it. Grass fed/finished beef has very high vitamin B levels, which is important to some consumers.
According to scientific research, grass fed/finished beef, filled with omega 3’s is more in harmony with human physiology than grain fed beef. Human cells function at optimal levels when eating grass fed beef. Grass finished beef is full of other nutrients like CLA, which reduces the risk of cancer, diabetes, obesity, and many autoimmune disorders.
“It is what is best for animals and people. “We have consumers who can only eat our beef because of our practices,” said Frankie. She said there are no additives like nitrates, hormones, antibiotics, no grain, soy or corn in the diet and no inhumane practices. “No sick cows and no need for antibiotics because they are free roaming” she said.
“Our main income is from direct-to-consumer sales, we sell all meat cuts by the pound year-round, we have an online store at www.browningbeef.com and you can buy our beef at local farmer’s markets in Washington and Idaho.” She said they will be selling beef at the markets in person during the months of May through October. During this time, customers buy on site or they can pre-order and pick up at the farmer’s markets. Some of the markets you will see Browning beef being sold are the Fairwood Farmers market in North Spokane every Tuesday, Kootenai County Farmers market in downtown Coeur d’Alene on Wednesdays, and the Liberty Lake Farmers market on Saturdays.
The business accepts several forms of payment, including EBT during market season, and it is sold by the pound and in bulk. “We offer quarters, halves, and wholes, custom packaged and wrapped” she said. Browning warns that although it is more cost effective to buy in bulk, one must have the freezer space for storage.
Browning’s future includes growing the herd and keeping local consumers satisfied. She said due to their land and animal practices, they are also making a difference when it comes to climate change. Moving away from conventional feedlot ranching practices to more sustainable ones is good for the earth, animal, and customer. “ With our rotational grazing practices, our animals are mirroring what a wild herd of elk or buffalo would do” she said.
People and restaurants all over Spokane are talking about how delicious Browning Beef is “Our customers absolutely love it, they say that is the first burger that they can actually taste the meat and not the grease” said McKinzie DonTigny of Billie’s Diner.
“When we first opened, we weren’t using Browning beef and we weren’t getting a lot of feedback on our beef. Our feedback has increased since we started using Browning Beef. The burger is one of the most popular items here at Kismet” said Dan Gonzalez, owner of Kismet.
“We are a bakery so we don’t use much beef, but the only beef we will use is Browning Beef” said Shawn Duffy, owner of The Grain Shed.
While working on the ranch, Frankie and Billie feel that it really isn’t work when you enjoy what you are doing. “When you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life” Billy said. “Not only are we living the dream we had for ourselves, but we are also doing good things for people, animals, and the earth,” Frankie pointed out.