Jared Polis is governor of Colorado. He is an interesting fellow.

We called him to the attention of readers of Food Safety News when he was serving in Congress because of his association with the Food Freedom movement.

Turn the clock back to 2015 when then-Congressman Polis, D-CO, was a proud member of the Food Freedom Caucus led by Rep. Thomas Massie, R-KY. They campaigned for national raw milk bills and the Processing Revival and Interstate Meat Exemption (PRIME) Act. It would have allowed states to permit the intrastate distribution of custom-slaughtered beef, pork, or lamb to individual consumers and restaurants and retail outlets directly serving the public.

Polis and Massie even rolled through Denver and found a restaurant to serve them on the edge of the law the very meat and raw milk they were attempting to make legal in Congress.

U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-CO, and U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, R-KY, shared some “forbidden food” at a Denver restaurant in 2015.

Polis and Massie had fun pushing the Food Freedom bills, but they did not get any passed. His “food freedom” warrior days seemed over when Polis was elected governor.

He became Colorado’s chief executive just in time to take over management of the coronavirus pandemic. He gets almost all the blame or credit for what’s happened to Colorado during the past year.

That’s because 40 years ago, a Republican Legislature decided to invest all power in the governor during such an emergency. His grade for COVID-19 is in the B-range. From what he knew at the time, he did okay. There were some bumps in the vaccine distribution, but overall the numbers are pretty good.

But that does not mean there were not some ugly moments, like pulling state licenses from restaurants to force them to comply with this or that order.

But Polis stepped in it when he signed this year’s “Meatout” proclamation, calling for Coloradans to go meatless on tomorrow’s big national vegan day.

But a meatless Saturday is not going to help Colorado’s struggling restaurants, which are finally back open with enough capacity to start a recovery. And Colorado’s farm and ranch country couldn’t believe their governor had turned against them.

The mistake Polis likely made was to sign the meat-out proclamation as it was provided with provisions that blame meat consumption for all kinds of offenses. It was no wonder producers were pissed.

Before things became too acidic, however, came the idea to turn lemons into lemonade. As pushback, “Colorado Meat Producers Day” or “Meat-In” Day was also declared for tomorrow, Saturday, March 20.

Rural counties in Colorado made it official with a long list of proclamations on their own. They cited facts and figures like the $40 billion economic impact of the state’s meat industry, representing 10 percent of the state’s total export sales.

And on Saturday, meat celebrations are being held all across the state. Many are free BBQs. (Just search the internet for “meat-in” events.)

And guess what? Polis is coming to the party.

In an op-ed, entitled “Food freedom a core part of Colorado and America,” the governor said he is an “enormous booster of all Colorado products and our state as a whole.”

Polis then did what Coloradans always do when talking about meat; he brought up his own experience. “Personally, I order beef for our family directly from Colorado ranchers,” he wrote. “Our kids are rather conveniently fond of popular cuts, including chuck, round steak, and brisket.”

He went on to share his brisket rub “for the first time in public.” And he confessed that his favorite snack is beef jerky.

“As a strong and avid supporter of our ag community, I’ve always felt that supporting Colorado’s agriculture industry is about more than economic opportunity and jobs; it’s about our values and our way of life,” he added.

Polis said he was proud that Colorado was one of only a few states to hold a state fair in 2020. He said that showed “our Colorado grit.”

Polis said “Food Freedom” is the “right to eat whatever we want.”

He said that dinner with Massie he had in Denver in 2015  included hemp biscuits, raw milk, kombucha, farm eggs, and two cuts of beef his Republican friend contributed to the meal.

The governor said federal regulations that govern food are too archaic and nonsensical. He said the two congressmen avoided breaking the law in 2015 because there were no charges. He says a sale would have made their meal a crime.

Finally, here’s the Governor’s Famed Brisket Rub:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground mustard
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary (crumbled)
  • Rub the brisket and refrigerate for 12-24 hours before cooking. How long to cook it depends on how large a brisket you’ve got, but it’s usually around six hours at 250 in the oven.
  • About halfway through cooking, open the oven, flip over the brisket, and pour some Worcestershire sauce and/or ketchup on the brisket after flipping it over. Then cook it for the remaining time.

His parting words: “Colorado ranchers are tough. They certainly aren’t threatened by the dietary choices some Coloradans make to be vegetarian or vegan.”

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)