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Jerky boys! These guys are making dried beef like it oughta be

for The Brooklyn Paper
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It’s the best dehydrated beef this side of Texas.

That’s what Chris Woehrle and Robert Stout, proprietors of Kings County Jerky Co., were looking to achieve when they opened their East Williamsburg business in November.

The two-man crew makes its jerky in small batches, using only grass-fed beef and fresh herbs and spices, assuring that the chewy treats are nothing like snapping into a Slim Jim (not that there’s anything wrong with that sometimes).

“All the jerky I’d ever tasted was way too salty and full of all kinds of junk,” said Woehrle. “And I thought, here’s a product that everyone likes, but no one really does well. It seemed ready for a reinvention.”

So were the owners. In 2009, Woehrle, an art director in the music industry, and Stout, a fashion photographer, found themselves more excited by what they were cooking for dinner in their Bedford-Stuyvesant apartments than by their supposedly glamorous careers.

“Food had become our focus,” said Woehrle. “We didn’t have enough money or experience to open a restaurant, but we knew we could come up with a cool, artisanal snack food product.”

The two haven’t managed to quit their day jobs just yet, but are certainly garnering raves for their classic, Korean BBQ and orange-ginger jerky. A new addition — portobello mushroom jerky with tamari, thyme, garlic, onion, clove, and smoked paprika — is so good that it’s winning over carnivores.

“We wanted to create a vegetarian option that has the same savory snack profile as our other products,” said Woehrle. “The mushroom has a nice umami flavor and a beefy texture that works perfectly.”

Jerky can be ordered through the company website, but nothing beats a visit to the mod Bushwick facility with adjoining retail store. If you visit on the weekend or e-mail in advaance, you get a tour of the kitchen — and plenty of samples.

Kings County Jerky Co. (35 Meadow St. between Waterbury and Bogart streets in Bushwick, no phone). For info, visit www.kingscountyjerky.com.

Updated 5:23 pm, July 9, 2018
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