A TV-news cameraman likes things jerky?
Three years ago, Scott Jacobson - needing a high-protein snack that neither melted nor crumbled - started making his own all-natural jerky out of Black Angus beef in his Gloucester Township kitchen. He wanted to avoid jerky with added nitrate, sodium, or MSG.
Then he thought to take it commercial, and rang up his school buddy from suburban Cleveland, Greg Giles, who had worked in the food industry, for advice.
They found an USDA-inspected facility to make the jerky, ran a successful Kickstarter campaign, and in October 2014 started selling Captain Jake's Jerky. That's "Jake" as in Jacobson; he declined to name his employer.
Captain Jake's, which has a pleasant chewiness (unlike a lot of them out there), is in 27 stores in South Jersey, Philadelphia, and in Giles' hometown, Columbus, Ohio.
The bold flavors - classic, Korean sesame, hearty chili, and mesquite BBQ - were chosen by his friends. His next challenge is to create chicken, turkey, and even fish jerky.
Yes, jerky is a tough business, but the awards have been rolling in - most recently a first-place 2016 Scovie Award for snacks for the Korean sesame flavor. In July, Captain Jake's won two second-place awards in the 2015 World Hot Sauce, BBQ and Extreme Food Awards. The mesquite BBQ flavor was rated four out of five from Jerky Report.
It's not cheap - $7.89 per 3-ounce bag online - but remember that jerky starts with pricey beef that loses weight as it is dried.