Robertson's ® History
If you've traveled Interstate 35 south near the Oklahoma - Texas border, you've probably seen the billboards touting Roberton's ham sandwiches and smoked meats. If you haven't heeded the signs, veered off I-35 and headed into Marietta for a Robertson's smoked ham and Swiss cheese sandwich on rye bread, you've missed a real Oklahoma tradition.
Robertson's has been in business since 1946, when V.B. "Tup" Robertson opened his first store in downtown Marietta. In the early days we had just one smokehouse that would hold about 15 hams. Since then, the family owned meat business has just evolved. During the 1950s we started to advertise our smoked meats on highway billboards.
When I-35 was built in the early '60's, life changed forever for our meat business. What had been a seasonal business during the summer and at Christmas, became consistent year-round when the interstate highway opened. This also opened the opportunities for expansion with our franchise stores.
The small frontier store on I-35 just north of the Oklahoma-Texas border has been a decades-long popular stopover for hungry travelers, but the heart of the trade - smoked hams, beef jerky, and other smoked meats - has not changed much since Robertson began smoking meats as his father had done in the early 1900s. "The ham is smoked the old-fashioned way. We don't hurry it - we just slow-smoke it."
Today, Robertson's gets beef from Texas and Kansas; turkeys from Arkansas and Missouri; and pork from Iowa and Oklahoma, all are smoked and sold with the Robertson's label. The key to keeping all the products top quality is buying lean, quality meats.
Today the smokehouse plant is 31,000 square foot facility that sits behind the highway store. There, meat cuts are seasoned and cured for a week, then sliced, smoked, and packaged. During the process, hams are hand rubbed with cure, removing as much water as possible, unlike many commercially processed hams that are heavy with moisture. As far as smoke goes, nothing beats hickory wood - it simply adds a better flavor.
In addition to the company store on I-35 in Marietta, there are six franchise stores in Oklahoma and Texas. They look like the company store, and they, too, feature the "old fashioned" ham, turkey, bacon, sausage, and pork loin along with the Robertson's famous "Real" Beef Jerky.
Our "Real" Beef Jerky has developed into a business all its own. Back in 1976 a representative from Love's Country Stores visited our facilities. After the visit, he requested a test market of our Beef Jerky in a few of their stores. The test was an overwhelming success. Now, years later, our Beef Jerky is still featured in all 300 Love's Country Stores under the Love's label. As a result of this experience we now sell to many other distributors in several states like Arizona, Ohio, North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida as well as Oklahoma and Texas. This has created a large mail order business for our "Real" Beef Jerky. We offer special prices to all who order.
In operation for more than six decades, many customers are no longer strangers. The tradition of personal contact goes back a long way but when customers can't visit in person, they keep in touch through Robertson's mail order business. And now with modern technology, you can join over 22,000 satisfied mail order customers with just a click of the mouse.