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British Beef Jerky

Added: (Wed Feb 01 2006)


A healthy meat snack largely associated with Wild West cowboys is set to be launched nationally in the UK by a small firm of food producers in rural Northumberland.

For the first time, beef jerky - small strips of dried, preserved meat, high in protein and low in fat - has been produced specifically for the UK market by a British producer, and early sales have been so encouraging, husband-and-wife team Brian and Linda Bradley are working flat out at their processing plant at Eshott Heugh, near Felton, Morpeth, to meet the demand.
Brian, who trades under the name of Mr BBQ, has already successfully introduced US-style barbecued smoked meats to the region earlier this year, on his return to the UK after 14 years in Wichita, Kansas, where he ran a manufacturing business.

His chuck wagon, or slow cooking meat smoker, has become well known at shows and social events all over the North of England, and he has made successful forays over the border into Scotland. Brian and Linda recently won a Gold Award for their cooked smoked beef brisket in the 2005 Great Taste Awards and a Silver for the beef jerky.

Beef jerky is very popular in the United Stated, but largely unknown in the UK. Brian plans to change that. His first attempts at producing the jerky using beef from Wallington Hall Farm Shop, part of the National Trust farms estate in Northumberland, and have gone down well with customers at recent shows. He is currently taking orders on his website - www.britishbeefjerky.co.uk - from London to the north of Scotland.

Even today's cowboys enjoy jerky, says Brian. The process of preserving meat by sun-drying it pre-dates the days of the Wild West by thousands of years, although the term 'jerky' comes from the Spanish word for jerked meat, 'charqui'. Europeans heard the word and changed it to 'jerky', a nutrient-dense meat that has been made lightweight by drying it. In Northumberland, Brian cannot rely on all-year-round sunshine, so he has to use modern methods for drying the meat.

Brian says: "When you first put a piece of beef jerky into your mouth it will feel dry, but when you begin chewing it will soon rehydrate, to take on the feel of eating regular beef, but with a different flavour, depending upon the marinate used during the initial stages of preparation."

Brian and Linda say the nutritional value of beef jerky is high and is a healthy replacement for empty-calorie snacks like sweets, pork scratchings, crisps and popcorn.

British beef jerky comes in five flavours - peppered, cajun hot, teriyaki, sweet and barbecue. Brian Bradley said: "To the best of our knowledge, our beef jerky, which is made from the topside of best British beef, sliced and marinated, is the only one in the country not imported from the USA or South Africa. "The Bradleys say their beef jerky, which is sold in sealed bags, does not have to be kept in a fridge to stay fresh. It fits easily into pockets, handbags and back packs and is ideal for picnics, camping and walking trips. "We have found at the shows we attend that it is of great interest to people on high protein diets and they cannot get enough of it," says Linda. The beef jerky has also been supplied to a British expedition heading for the Andes Mountains in Peru on the recommendation of one of its members who first tasted it at the National Sheepdog Trials held this summer in Alnwick.

Brian and Linda, who are originally from farming families in Lancashire, moved into a new processing unit at Eshott Heugh, off the A1, in June. "It is an ideal spot for us," says Brian.

For further information contact Brian or Linda Bradley. Tel: 0845 226 9363 or mobile 07711 944039. Email : britishbeefjerky@mr-bbq.co.uk

Submitted by:Brian Bradley
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