Creekstone Beef Served in Top Restaurants Around America Is Halal

What if I told you that the high-quality beef served top restaurants across America was actually Halal? Impossible, right? Well, guess what? It’s actually true.

Creekstone Farms, one of the top choices of beef for restaurants across America, just so happens to be a fully Halal beef processing company. As in Zabihah Halal.

That means you can walk into any restaurant that serves items with Creekstone Farms beef, ensure it’s cooked and prepared without cross-contamination with other meats or alcohol, and enjoy some of the best meat in the country.

And what’s more is this is not run-of-the-mill average stuff. These are some of the top rated restaurants in major cities and even across the country.

And it’s all Halal. Hand slaughtered zabihah Halal. Unbelievable, huh? It is. Which is why I’ve done my research and have presented how it works.

How I Found Out

40-day dry aged Creekstone Farms ribeye steak [Photo: Serious Eats]

40-day dry aged Creekstone Farms ribeye steak [Photo: Serious Eats]

A good friend of mine sent me an email with a list of high-end restaurants in downtown Chicago that serve dishes made with Creekstone Farms beef with the words, “LET’S GO!”

I was confused. I knew her and her family only eat Halal meat so why was she linking me to restaurants with meat from that company. But that’s when the thought came to mind. “Is Creekstone Halal?” I wondered.

A quick Google search for “Creekstone + Halal” found me at Creekstone’s website which states that their premium Angus beef is Halal certified through the Halal Transactions of Omaha.

Apparently, this is known for those familiar with Creekstone. In fact, my friend found out from another mutual friend who follows the scholarly opinion that conventional meat in America is Halal. While he was dining at one of the top steak restaurants in New York, Minetta Tavern, he met with the head chef at the time, Nasr Ahmed, a Muslim. Chef Nasr informed him the steaks and burgers he had been eating that he thought were from cattle conventionally slaughtered were actually made form Halal slaughtered beef.

That means all of those high-end restaurants from the Chicago list sent to me also had beef dishes that were made with Halal meat. And the same goes for cities all across the country that carry Creekstone.

My mind was blown.

Why Creekstone being Halal is a big deal

Angus cows grazing at one of the farms in Creekstone’s program. [Photo: Creekstone Farms]

Angus cows grazing at one of the farms in Creekstone’s program. [Photo: Creekstone Farms]

The crazy thing about this? Creekstone Farms’ is considered some of the best beef in America. It’s not standard stuff that gets sourced to fast food joints. It’s the real deal and a few Google results showed me why.

  • It is extremely high quality beef. According to Creekstone’s website, they produce all Angus beef. The cattle are all-American from the Midwest. No antibiotics or hormones, so effectively the same as organic. According to other sources online, the cattle are given a special proprietary feed to make them extra fatty and flavorful unlike any other cattle in the nation.
  • Its touted by top food authorities
    • The New York Times wrote a huge article praising Creekstone Farms beef
    • Pat LaFreida, the famous meat purveyor of New York, sources a lot of Creekstone
    • Josh Ozersky, the James Beard award winning food writer, produced a video of his visit to Creekstone because of the high quality of the beef
    • Famous chefs say they prefer to use it when they cook at home
    • The list goes on
  • The name is such a big deal it’s printed on menus. Top steakhouses order Creekstone Farms’ beef for their menus. In fact, many of them even list the name “Creekstone” next to their respective dishes, as in “24 oz. dry aged Creekstone Farms ribeye steak,” because it’s a big deal.
  • The cattle are humanely raised. Dr. Temple Grandin, one the premiere names in humane treatment of animals, helped the company design its method of shuttling the cattle into the slaughterhouse. Even the color of the paint on the walls was considered to keep the cattle as calm as possible.

All this means that not only is Creekstone Farms beef Halal, it’s also Tayyib. Just wow.

Confirming with Creekstone

Creekstone Premium Black Angus beef available at Green Hills Market in Central New York and at Shop N Save in Bridgeview, IL. (Photograph: Green Hills Market Blog)

Creekstone Premium Black Angus beef available at Green Hills Market in Central New York and at Shop N Save in Bridgeview, IL. [Photograph: Green Hills Market Blog]

This seemed way too good to be true. There had to be some catch. That’s why I decided I need do more research.

I began by reaching out to Creekstone Farms themselves, asking if they indeed do perform Halal slaughter. I also wanted to know if all of their beef is processed Halal or just a portion of it. I assumed, at first, that they must have a Halal program that slaughters just a portion of their beef according to Islamic law.

Turns out that not only was Creekstone able to confirm that they perform Halal slaughter, their entire operation was actually Halal.

“All Creekstone Farms cattle are processed in a manner that meets the religious qualifications of Halal,” Courtney Every, Marketing Coordinator for Creekstone Farms, responded via email. “However, we only certify it as Halal if it is requested by the customer.”

So every one of the cattle at Creekstone Farms was being slaughtered in a Halal manner. But not every supplier ordering from the company would know that since they were ordering the beef because of its quality, not its Halal status. This means that there are probably a ton of restaurants all over America with Halal meat and they don’t even know it.


Creekstone’s Halal certification

Dr. Alabsy (middle) with the HTO crew at the 2014 Natural Products Expo West. [Photograph: Halal Transactions of Omaha Blog]

Dr. Alabsy (middle) with the HTO crew at a food expo. [Photograph: Halal Transactions of Omaha Blog]

While my head was spinning from all this, I needed some more grounding. As anyone familiar with Halal knows, there are different standards by which Halal is considered valid. Directly contacting the Halal certifier, Halal Transactions of Omaha, was the only way to know exactly how the cattle at Creekstone are slaughtered.

“We do certify the Halal beef of Creekstone Farms and all their beef is hand slaughtered,” wrote Dr. Ahmad Alabsy, director of HTO, in an email. “All the beef that we certify is hand slaughtered by trained Muslim slaughtermen. The Muslim slaughterman pronounces the Tasmiah, Bismillah Allahu Akbar, and the knife is used by hand to perform the slaughtering of animals.”

Holy cow. So the beef at Creekstone is slaughtered in a fully Halal manner: hand slaughtered (zabihah), by a Muslim, in God’s name.


Additionally, Dr. Alabsy mentioned that they train Muslim slaughtermen to perform slaughter in a Halal manner. While I was skeptical about how they can get a Muslim there at all times, it turns out that this is standard practice at many slaughterhouses that operate Halal. It just so happens that while researching all this I found a job posting from Creekstone Farms directly asking for Muslim slaughtermen to perform Halal slaughter. It also helped that when I spoke to Creekstone again, they confirmed that only Muslim employees perform the slaughter at their plant.

Last on the Halal issues, Dr. Alabsy addressed a misspeak in a New York Times article that states Creekstone’s stunning process instantly kills its cattle. “Actually, stunning by this method does not kill the animal instantly,” he explains. “(It) just becomes immobilized and less sensitive to pain while the heart still pumping for about 5 minutes, during which the animal is slaughtered – bled with a sharp knife.” While the cattle are stunned, they are not dead before slaughter, and thus, Halal.

Why would a company like Creekstone be Halal?

[Photograph: Larry W. Smith, New York Times]

[Photograph: Larry W. Smith, New York Times]

At this point, I was convinced. The company affirmed they operate Halal slaughter the the Halal certifier explained the standards by which they certify beef which they implemented at Creekstone.

The next question I then had was why? What would drive a company like Creekstone to convert to a fully Halal process?

According to to Rich Swearingen, head of international sales for Creekstone that Dr. Alabsy routed me to, the answer lies in the Middle East.

Apparently, within the past decade or so, the company decided to expand their business to the Middle East by getting into the meat export business. Restaurants in rich Gulf countries like the UAE or metropolitan cities like Cairo would probably pay top dollar for high quality fatty juicy American Angus beef which is in abundance over the leaner, scarcer local grass-fed stuff. Dr. Alabsy proposed the idea himself, the company went for it, and the rest is, as they say, history.

I’m convinced, how and where can I eat some Creekstone beef?

Epic Burger, Chicago [Photograph: Ali Fiaz]

Epic Burger, Chicago, click here for a review [Photograph: Ali Fiaz]

We’ve got all the info you need to get some Creekstone in a Halal manner. Just take a look at the following guides and additional material.

On Halal
Additional Reading

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