Q&A with the Hardcore Carnivore
Jess Pryles of Hardcore Carnivore is a communications professional from Melbourne, Australia, an urban area with a population of 5 million people. Pryles is currently a student in the Meat Science graduate certificate program at Iowa State University. She grew up loving food, however she didn’t feel like she was confident in cooking meat properly.
On a trip to the United States, she discovered that brisket in America and Australia were very different. This led her to start researching meat cuts and how meat differs from various cattle breeds. The more research she did, the more fascinated she become with learning about meat science. “The agriculture industry is so welcoming to those that want to learn,” Pryles said.
Pryles moved to Texas in 2015 and experimented with cooking meats on live fire, such as grilling and smoking. She knew how she wanted the meat to taste and quickly gained traction and popularity by sharing her recipes online and many people resonated with her information. This is how the Hardcore Carnivore brand was born.
Her understanding of meat science has grown along with her brand. She now creates her own seasoning, tools, knives, butcher paper, and more.
Meat Science graduate certificate program at Iowa State University
Pryles wanted to expand her formal education in the meat science industry and researched meat science programs through the American Meat Science Association. She settled on the one-of-a-kind meat science graduate program at Iowa State University since it allowed her to work on the program remotely alongside her job.
The online Graduate Certificate in Meat Science at Iowa State focuses on formal and in-depth training on the scientific principles of fresh and processed meats, including microbiology and food safety. It is targeted primarily to meat and food industry personnel who desire training in meat science or who wish to expand and update their basic meat science knowledge. This 12-credit online program provides students with up-to-date knowledge and skills that will enable them to add more value to their organizations and further their career growth.
Through this program, she has built a relationship with faculty members and mentors in the industry. Specifically, she connected with Professor Elisabeth Lonergan on being a female in the industry and how to navigate that since it is such different industry than the path Pryles was on before with her communications degree.
This program has helped Pryles’ business in many ways. In addition to busting meat myths, she learned so much on processed meats and fresh meats. This allows her to add more value for the clients that she partners with, and it has broadened the opportunities and partnerships. Additionally, her degree helps provide formal validation of her knowledge on the meat industry.
She is so thankful for what she has learned through this meat science program. A lot of people are creating content and trying to find fast fame online, however Pryles is cautious in how she promotes this program to preserve the integrity of the higher education program.
Pryles is in her final semester and is working to make her final project something that can be applicable to her work or can be presented at a conference such as the Reciprocal Meats Conference to help educate others.
Using social media to promote the meat industry
Since we live in a time where there is a lot of internet research and self-proclaimed experts, Pryles wanted to be seen as a trusted expert and to ensure that she was sharing factual, accurate and reliable information.
“People are always sending me videos and posts and asking if the information is real or accurate,” Pryles said.
Although Pryles is not directly employed by the meat industry, she has become an online meat ambassador. Pryles creates videos and other online content to promote accurate information and dispel rumors and fear tactics.
Through her research and new connections in the agriculture industry, she has gained answers to many questions on food safety and the welfare of animals. She feels she is doing very important work by becoming a champion for these consumer concerns across the social media world.
“There is a lot of distrust from the public in regards to the meat industry, and often it is easier for the industry to change (i.e. food labeling) for consumer misinformation rather than accurately inform the consumers,” Pryles said.
Advice for students trying to find their place in the meat industry
“There is a wide variety of jobs available from genetics to meat science and everything in between. It is a very important industry as it is vital to nutrition and health for people. If it is something that you are interested, ask questions and find mentors to explore different areas of the meat industry.”
For more information on the Meat Science graduate certificate program at Iowa State University, please visit: https://www.agonline.iastate.edu/programs/meat-science-graduate-certificate