Honoring the Veterans of the Iraq War

Outfitting a Commercial Kitchen for Prep and Packaging of Beef Jerky

I started a beef jerky business unintentionally. I messed around in the kitchen making messes that would make my wife a bit upset as I would always miss cleaning up something. I was focused on making the best beef jerky. I came up with a barbecue variety that was so savory the largest bathes I could make with the dehydrators was eaten up in less than a day. Now, a few months later, I have a commercial kitchen with electronic filling machines filling preprinted tube bags with my first beef jerky product to go to market.

I was selling it in zippered bags weighing it on a postal scale and adding a bit more to never sell it short. I sold enough to finance the leasing of a space to make it, and the commercial kitchen and packaging equipment was purchased for cash. I took a leave of absence from my day job to make this work. I hired some part time workers to make the jerky, and we learned a lot about making this work on the fly. I did learn to keep things sparkling clean to pass our health inspections and to never risk making anyone sick. I had to take courses at a local community college on food safety.

The electronic filling machines hum along about four hours out of an eight-hour day packaging the jerky to be shipped out to stores. The rest of the work day is spent making new batches for packaging later on. It is a nonstop process of getting in new supplies, making jerky and packaging it. The stores are clamoring for more inventory, but we are presently at capacity. It is time to add more dehydrators and electronic filling machines. I am working on a new spicy variety of jerky, and that takes a lot of time and sample preparation too.