Who invented bacon jerky?
Our story Monday about the growing meat snacks business said the product was developed for mass commercial distribution by Shelby County Cookers of Harlan, Iowa. But while the guys there say they came across their recipe independently, they didn't claim to be the first to make jerky out of bacon.
They gave the credit to the Bacon Freak.
That's Californian Rocco Loosbrock, who runs the www.baconfreak.com web store, where the motto is, “bacon is meat candy.”
He's an entrepreneur who started out organizing wine dinners. One night he put some peppered bacon on bruschetta, pairing it with a zinfandel, and it was a hit. A customer gave him his nickname, and he went home and bought the domain name.
That was in 2006, before the bacon trend really took off. Loosbrock was in the right place at the right time and today says he has millions in annual sales, with 1,500 products, only 800 of which are food-related.
“We have bacon on everything,” he said.
He started making bacon jerky to offer as a shelf-stable snack in holiday gift baskets.
Loosbrock said it used to bother him that big jerky makers were picking up on bacon, but now said the competition is a good thing.
Different manufacturers' bacon jerky products vary in flavor and texture, according to some unscientific Money section bacon research.
“Your taste buds will tell you which is the best one,” he said.