Jeff King has been a PGA and LPGA Tour caddie for the past 16 years and continues to carry a bag, but when he’s not, he is busy making beef jerky.
What started as a hobby turned into a tinkering obsession and then a craze on both Tours, with players and caddies lining up to buy his jerky each week. In a release, King says that the response from professional golfers and fellow caddies was so strong that soon he was making over 170 pounds of jerky a week to meet their demand, and that more than a hundred PGA and LPGA Tour players eat the stuff, including Tiger Woods, Matt Kuchar, Davis Love III, Ricky Fowler, Dustin Johnson, Graeme McDowell, Yani Tseng, and Jane Park. “It’s hands down the best I’ve ever had,” Matt Kuchar was quoted in the release. “I’ve always enjoyed going around the country tasting handmade jerky, and nothing’s close to this stuff for its flavor and tenderness.”
Now it’s a new business for dried meat fans everywhere, KINGMADE Jerky, with the tagline, “Premium Beef Jerky For a Better Class of Carnivore.” As King said in his release, “I always enjoyed eating beef jerky but the stuff I found in convenience stores and gas stations was terrible. I knew there had to be a way to make a premium grade jerky and satisfy the health-conscious tastes of the players out on tour.”
King uses nothing but flank steak and spices and does not add any MSG or nitrites, and as result has positioned KINGMADE as the jerky of athletes, claiming to have five times less sodium and sugar than its competitors, though there are several other jerky makers with a similar focus using all-natural meats and omitting additives. Just over a year ago I predicted in this column that fancier, gourmet or better quality jerky would be one the nation’s top food trends, and in a follow up column I reviewed four other high-end jerkies that really stand out. KINGMADE is the latest entrant into this game – a dried meat market King estimates at $2 billion.
KINGMADE Jerky comes in three flavors, and sent me a sample of each to try: Sweet Chili Pepper, Classic and Buffalo Style. As King suggests, all three are much better than your typical gas station jerky, and I thought the Classic had the best texture, quite tender and steak-like, while I liked the flavor of the Sweet Chili Pepper most. The Buffalo is spicy with a nice bite, but doesn’t taste anything like Buffalo wings or sauce – I liked it, but if it were my company I’d just call it Spicy. The jerky sells for $8.00 for a 2.25 ounce bag, and is available online in a choice of 6-bag packs of single flavor ($48), a 4-bag sampler ($32) or one pound bags ($54). Currently KINGMADE is offering free shipping.