"The Butcher" a true story of love and tradition

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The Butcher

Dennis Powell of Butter Pat Industries finds inspiration in his grandmother’s meat market

Like many stories from the South, the birth of the world’s premier cast iron pan company, Butter Pat Industries, began with a grandmother. A butcher by trade, Estee Hilton Rudd, born in 1905, was a strong female entrepreneur at a time in the South when being a businesswoman was frowned upon. She traveled everyday from her family farm in Sandridge, SC, to operate her meat market, returning home in the afternoon to manage a large field crew back on the farm.

“Estee has always been an inspiration to me,” says Dennis Powell, founder of Butter Pat Industries. “Here was this strong independent women running a meat market at a time when being a female butcher was unheard of, all while acting as the matriarch of our large Southern family.”

When Powell set off for art school in the 1970s, his mother sent him with his grandmother Estee’s worn knife and cast iron skillet, symbols to remember her legacy of trailblazing entrepreneurship and hard work. So nearly four decades later, when her tired and true cast iron skillet dropped and cracked, Dennis was heartbroken.

“This artifact that had symbolized one of my biggest idols broke, and I felt it was my calling to make it right,” says Dennis. “I spent the next three years researching how those great American foundries made their cast iron pans in the late 1800s, the heyday of cast iron.”

Perfecting the smoothest and lightest cast iron pan on the market became Powell’s calling, and in 2016, Butter Pat Industries was born as a tribute to Estee Hilton Rudd’s uncompromising work ethic, independence, and innovative spirit. Butter Pat Industries has since become one of the leaders in cast iron worldwide, earning impressive accolades from Food & Wine to Garden & Gun and Martha Stewart Living.

When Dennis Powell caught wind of the World Butcher’s Challenge last year, he knew he had to find a way to be involved – it was a way to show respect to his grandmother’s legacy and inspiration. In 2018, Butter Pat Industries will proudly serve as a sponsor for Team USA at the World Butcher’s Challenge 2018, lead by the Butcher’s Guild.