How a Ranger Veteran Found His Calling in Cattle

August 6, 2023Katie McCarthy
kc cattle co

KC Cattle Co. offers a variety of premium meat products ranging from the finest cuts of wagyu beef to gourmet hot dogs and burger patties, shipped right to your door. Black Rifle Coffee Company photo

Kansas City may be known for its barbecue, but Patrick Montgomery — owner and CEO of KC Cattle Co. — is more interested in quality meat than the sauce. The former Army Ranger went full-time civilian seven years ago, ended up making the world's best hot dog, and used that success to launch a new kind of company that sells the best cuts of beef you can buy in the US.

The predominantly direct-to-consumer company offers a variety of premium meat products ranging from the finest cuts of wagyu beef (tomahawk steak, anyone?) to gourmet hot dogs and burger patties, shipped right to your door.

Running a premium beef business wasn’t the future Montgomery envisioned when he left the Army in 2014, however. After four years of service, including deployments with the 1st Ranger Battalion and setting up the pre-Ranger program at Fort Riley, he spent his last six months assisting in the veterinary office on post. Working with animals inspired him to go to vet school, which led to a business idea.

SHIRT CLUB: Check out BRCC’s latest shirt design, inspired by KC Cattle Co.

kc cattle co tomahawk steak

The wagyu tomahawk steak is among the many unique and common cuts of beef available on KC Cattle Co.'s website. Photo courtesy of KC Cattle Co.

“One of the things that I noticed while I was there [studying animal science] was just this huge disconnect between the people that produce the food in this country and the people that actually consume the food in this country,” Montgomery said on the Black Rifle Coffee Podcast in 2022. “I saw an opportunity there.”

After deciding veterinary medicine was not for him, but that he still wanted to work with animals somehow, Montgomery interned at Ranger Cattle in Austin, Texas, which is where he was introduced to wagyu beef. He bought his first heifer in 2016 and launched KC Cattle Co. in 2017.

patrick montgomery kc cattle co

Patrick Montgomery founded KC Cattle Co. in 2017 and started selling wagyu beef on the restaurant circuit before turning the company's attention to mail-order and direct-to-consumer sales. Photo courtesy of KC Cattle Co.

“I remember watching Black Rifle and Evan Hafer and Mat Best as that was all happening,” Montgomery said. “They were really blowing up while I was starting the company, and that was huge motivation for me.”

Just a couple of years later, KC Cattle Co. would start blowing up as well.

KC Cattle Co. and ‘The Hot Dog Extravaganza’

While the company saw some periodic sales spikes thanks to a feature in The New York Times and spots on Fox News and the Today show, when Food & Wine magazine claimed KC Cattle Co. sold the best hot dogs in the world in 2019, it lit a fuse.

Related: BRCC Launches New Initiative To Highlight Independent Veteran Artists

As Montgomery recounted on the BRC Podcast, he was helping a neighbor put up fencing when his phone starting blowing up with sales notifications. At the time, the company was used to fielding about 30 orders a week; in about five minutes, it had received more than 1,000.

After filling as many orders as it could (Montgomery said he had only about 30 packs of hot dogs in stock at the time — and 1.5 employees), KC Cattle Co. ended up with a lot of backorders and offered refunds to those unwilling to wait the extra time.

That event — which the company now refers to as The Hot Dog Extravaganza — set the tone for what was to come. Customers attracted to the website by the hot dogs ended up buying other cuts of meat, and KC Cattle Co. began to grow.

Related: One Marine Corps Veteran’s Struggle To Keep His Family’s Ranch Alive

Patrick Montgomery, far left, in Afghanistan in 2012. Photo courtesy of Patrick Montgomery.

Veterans Supporting Veterans

Like Black Rifle Coffee Company, Montgomery’s business is focused on hiring veterans and creating a work environment that mirrors the military ethos of teamwork, mission focus, and keeping cool under pressure. He sees it as a mutually beneficial endeavor for the growing company and transitioning vets.

“It’s a huge benefit for our company to hire veterans because they’re used to that team culture, and it’s just a lot different than what you normally see in the civilian world,” Montgomery told Coffee or Die. “So that’s a huge benefit to the employer, just as it is to the employee, to have that camaraderie and some of those things you miss from the military.”

Wagyu literally translates to “Japanese cow” in Japanese. Photo courtesy of KC Cattle Co.

“I’m a big proponent of veterans and entrepreneurship,” he continued. “I think a lot of the skills you learn in the military really do translate well to business and especially entrepreneurship and the difficulties that go into starting your own business.”

Montgomery is building on that model this year as KC Cattle Co.’s main objective is to revamp its marketing and rebuild the company “with specifically special operations veterans and the skills and assets they bring” in mind. 

The company will also be collaborating with a veteran-run co-op out of Montana, but details of that partnership have yet to be announced.

Read Next: Sua Sponte: The Fighting Spirit of the 75th Ranger Regiment

Katie McCarthy
Katie McCarthy

Katie McCarthy is the managing editor for Coffee or Die Magazine. Her career in journalism began at the Columbus (Georgia) Ledger-Enquirer in 2008, where she learned to navigate the newsroom as a features reporter, copy editor, page designer, and online producer; prior to joining Coffee or Die, she worked for Outdoor Sportsman Group as an editor for Guns & Ammo magazine and their Special Interest Publications division. Katie currently lives in Indiana with her husband and two daughters.

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