When people ask me what I do, and I tell them I make beef jerky for a living, I tend to get a quizzical look. The next question that follows is usually, “How did you get into that?”
Well it wasn’t just a decision we made, out of the blue one day. We have a combined 40 plus, years experience in the meat industry! Our backgrounds led us straight into this opportunity and we knew we would regret it, if we didn’t step out and take the chance to start our own business!
Where it Started
We both grew up in rural, small-town Texas. Jerkyman grew up in St. Hedwig, Texas and I grew up in New Braunfels, Texas. New Braunfels is a small German town about 30 miles north of San Antonio. St. Hedwig is a small Polish community about 25 east of San Antonio and it’s where we reside today.
Our families both farmed land in some fashion or another, and we enjoyed the great outdoors in any way we could.
The Early Years
Throughout middle school and high school, both of us were active in the County 4-H and FFA.
Stepping Up into the Real World
In college I decided to get involved with the judging programs and joined the meat judging team. After judging finished and graduation was nearing, I decided I wasn’t ready to leave college and stayed to get my master’s degree in Meat Science. I ended up coaching the judging team in 2005. This basically consists of driving around 15 college kids across the country to wake up at 4am and stand in a meat cooler, evaluating meat quality for 10 hours at a time!
After college I followed in my family’s footsteps, mainly because they helped me get me the job, and went to work for HEB. After a couple years in meat product development for them, I went to work for Kiolbassa Provision company and worked in Product development, again. Seriously, I can’t complain about any of my jobs, I mean, I got to formulate new products and taste them everyday! Dream, right?
Jerkyman started working in the local H-E-B Meat market when he was 16 and ended up putting over 20 years of service in with the company before the jerky business came along.
When Opportunity Arrives
In 2014 the stars aligned, and the opportunity arose, to take over a small jerky business that a local family friend had started and we spent time learning the specific formulas he developed over 30 years ago. We decided we could not pass the opportunity up and Jerkyman started full time.
Today, we were lucky to be able build the facility right on our property. It makes the commute short!
As a kid I never told anyone “I want to be the Jerkywoman” when I grow up. It was usually something like marine biologist, veterinarian, princess?? But somehow looking back it’s easy to see how every step along the way prepared us for this opportunity.