5 Reasons Why Artisan Beef Jerky is Better than Industrial Jerky
Single origin coffee. Small batch bourbon. Local microbrews. There’s no denying that most things are better when made in smaller batches. The attention to detail, handmade passion, and dedication to the craft translate into a better-quality, better-tasting, better-for-you product.
Jerky is no exception, and the difference between jerky handcrafted in small batches and jerky manufactured on an industrial scale is staggering.
For nearly a century our family has taken enormous pride in the way we make our jerky—no shortcuts, no bullshit, just beef basking in the spotlight. So we thought we’d outline five reasons why our jerky—artisanal jerky—will always beat out the industrial kind.
What is small batch?
There’s no textbook definition or official measure of small batch. This amount is different for a chocolatier, craft distiller, and yes, a jerky maker. Therefore, we like to define it more philosophically.
To qualify as small batch, a product should be made in a quantity that keeps the artisan physically connected to the product—allows them to maintain quality and make their personal mark.
When something is made as part of a small batch by an artisan who cares, that product’s got soul.
1. Small batches guarantee quality AND character.
Attention to detail is an important part of small batch processing. By making less of something, it’s much easier to keep an eye on quality.
Attention to detail is just the start, though. Attention to the right detail is much more important.
Industrial jerky producers are so focused on maximizing output and uniformity that they lose sight of what real jerky is all about: quality, character, and uniqueness. The result is something that looks like it was cooked up in a lab, not in a kitchen.
Artisan producers work hard to maintain quality without taking shortcuts.
We’ve maintained the handmade element in each step of our process. This may limit our total production, but it allows us to maintain the charm of authentic, old school jerky. Something our customers like to call “real” beef jerky.
2. Smaller batches mean fresher product for you.
Fresh jerky. It might sound counterintuitive, but it makes a big difference.
Large scale jerky companies process mind boggling amounts of jerky each day, and that takes time. The result? Jerky at less than its peak freshness arriving at your door.
Nobody wants stale jerky, so commercial producers rely on artificial preservatives and heavy processing to maintain the illusion of “freshness.” It’s one of the reasons commercial jerky tastes overly processed and artificial.
Hey, more power to them. But artisan producers have a slightly different philosophy.
We don't lean on fancy machinery, artificial ingredients, tricks or shortcuts. It might not be the easy way, but it's the right way. You'll never find two pieces that look exactly the same, and this is how we like it. It's the reason our jerky tastes like it was made in your kitchen, not in a factory.
We believe jerky with a little variability between each piece is a good thing. It celebrates the all-natural, unprocessed nature of real food.
Wouldn’t you be a little concerned if each and every piece of jerky was identical?
We certainly would be.
3. Small batch production can’t be outsourced overseas.
To keep up with production demands, commercial jerky producers resort to hacks, shortcuts, and misdirection.
Do you know the difference between Packaged in the USA and Made in the USA?
Semantics, right? Not so fast. The wording around products made in the USA is a hotly contested issue in the meat world.
As an easier and cheaper option, a growing majority of beef jerky producers have moved their jerky production overseas. This doesn’t sit well with most jerky fans who love their jerky made right here in the USA. To avoid losing this crowd, large-scale producers found a solution AKA a loophole in packaging regulations.
Industrial jerky makers can still label and promote their product as a Packaged in the USA or Product of USA as long as they complete minor processing in the USA.
Minor processing, you ask? This can be something as simple as taking the imported, finished product out of a box and repackaging it into smaller boxes.
The moral of the story? Some companies grow so big they can’t (or actively choose not to) make their products here in the USA.
Not us. Small batch is part of a larger philosophical approach to jerky, where detail and craft influence the quality and characteristics of the final product. We would never sacrifice our principles for growth.
4. Small batches allow more room for innovation.
Small batch jerky producers have the space and legroom to innovate on flavors, textures, and quality.
It’s a simple mathematical equation.
Compare a small batch jerky maker and a large-scale producer. One makes small batches and the other processes huge amounts. Who’s going to be more willing to experiment? To push the boundaries? Test things that might fail?
The small batch jerky maker!
Small batch production means less risk for experimentation. Less risk means more chances to find something new and delicious.
That’s not all. The R&D of large jerky producers is handcuffed by red tape. It can take months—or even years—to test and launch a new flavor. For small batch jerky makers, this process can be as quick as a few weeks.
We’re always testing new flavors and welcome our customers to participate in this process. Our customers have the ability to purchase jerky straight from our Test Kitchen and provide feedback that often helps us find winnings flavors.
Learn more about the People's Choice Test Kitchen.
5. Small batch lets passion shine.
Every ounce counts in small batch production. There’s no room to hide. Working with small batches, getting your hands dirty, doing things the old school way, can only be done by those who truly care.
That’s us. A family owned and operated business that has been handcrafting beef jerky for over 90 years and four generations, our small batch process is how we carry on the legacy of our great grandfather and deliver a better jerky to the people. Each and every batch is part of our legacy. You can taste that dedication in every bite.
Give People’s Choice Beef Jerky a try.
What do you have to lose?