Food Artisans: Slantshack Jerky
"The biggest difference between us and other companies is the level of customization available on our website," says Josh Kace, founder and CEO of Slantshack Jerky. "It's an opportunity to build your own jerky," he adds, and one that comes without any of that pesky preparation or expensive equipment.
Customers start buy choosing their meat: either from cows that were conventionally raised in Vermont or New York State or grass-fed Highland Cattle, which adds an extra fee. "We wanted to offer an ethical option, but don't want to alienate customers who can't afford to pay the premium," Kace explains. There are two available marinades, sweet and savory Original or peppery Hot & Smoky, followed by five different spice rub options and three choices for the final glaze. If this writer's junior-high math skills can be trusted (odds of that: this side of slim), that makes 60 possible jerky flavor combinations.
Of course, Slantshack also offers several ready-made flavors for purchase, including variety packs like "Gateway Jerky," to hook those new to the product, "This Is Why We're Hot," with the spiciest varieties on offer, and "What the...?!," which they describe as some of their favorite, more unconventional combinations (Hot & Smoky with maple syrup and garlic, anyone? The syrup in question comes from a maple grove on the farm in northern Vermont where most of their jerky is produced.).
While Slantshack can be purchased at many of the places you'd expect to see grass-fed artisan beef jerky—Smorgasburg, bars and gourmet shops on both coasts—they're working toward availability on a larger scale. "There's no reason our product can't be in gas stations in Montana," says David Koretz, the company's COO. "We're trying to take the artisan model and scale it while maintaining artisan quality. It's an interesting challenge."