SlantShack Jerky Seeks to Expand the Artisanal Beef Jerky Universe

Categories: Edible News, Marx

Tonight will mark the launch of the second artisanal beef jerky company to officially plant its flag in New York's terra firma since the beginning of January. At or around 8 p.m., the folks behind SlantShack Jerky will offer the curious and hungry a chance to descend upon Bushwick to "meet our meat" -- and listen to music and consume copious amounts of alcohol.

Though it bills itself as "a neighborhood jerky company," SlantShack was not dreamed up in the kitchen of somebody's Brooklyn walk-up. It's the brainchild of Josh Kace, a resident of Jersey City who's been making the jerky in his kitchen for the past four or so years. Kace, whose day job is as an energy engineer for a start-up energy consultancy, has enjoyed a lifelong love affair with strips of dried beef. But it wasn't until he was in college that he saw there was a world beyond prepackaged, highly processed meat.

"One year for Christmas, my mom decided to make homemade beef jerky for Christmas dinner," he says. "It was a revolution for me." That revolutionary fervor inspired him to forsake prepackaged jerky in favor of making his own, and he subsequently spent a year and a half perfecting his recipes. Two years ago, SlantShack was born.

Kace's jerky won a following among his friends, and soon enough, word of mouth begot publicity. Some more recent exposure, including an article in an issue of Maxim, forced Kace and the company's seven other members (who are mainly college friends) to rethink their production materials and methods. Originally, Kace made his jerky with supermarket beef and turkey, the latter of which he used for turkey jerky. But "with our more recent publicity, we had to become more serious, and think about sourcing our meat," he says.

This has translated into a partnership with a Vermont cattle company that both supplies SlantShack with 100 percent grass-fed, pasture-rasied beef and processes the beef into jerky on-site. Now, Kace says, "our plan is on the website to offer two different types of meat: standard USDA-approved beef and 100 percent grass-fed. We don't want to offer just grass-fed because it's so much more expensive, but at the same time, we want to accommodate people who want to express their social consciousness with their purchases." Because the Vermont facility isn't approved for processing poultry, the turkey jerky is currently off the table, though Kace hopes to be able to offer it again within the next few months.

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