Want to know more about Pa Pa’s?
Here’s the story as we remember it: Shortly before Pa Pa retired in 1997, Ma Ma bought him a food dehydrator. (Nobody really remembers *why* she got him a food dehydrator – we can only guess it was to keep Pa Pa busy.) Pa Pa, who always liked beef jerky, started by making a recipe he got from the book that came with the dehydrator.
The first batch Pa Pa made may have been the worst jerky we had ever tasted. It was dry and flavorless (kind of like the jerky they sell at grocery stores). Never one to back down from a challenge, Pa Pa started tinkering with his own recipe and process modifications, subjecting our more-than-enthusiastic family and friends to hundreds of samples. Finally, he arrived at the recipe we call Pa Pa’s Original.
The Original flavor became so popular around town, people asked him to create a hotter version that would “slow them down.” (We have family members who were eating over a half pound per day – each – and stopping by the house to eat right out of the smoker.) So, Pa Pa set out to create a blend of peppers with both heat and sweet that might help our “regulars” slow down their eating habits. To our surprise, Pa Pa’s Peppered Jerky was even more addictive that the Original.
As word spread about the jerky’s unique texture and incredible flavor, Pa Pa’s hobby was developing into a full-time retirement job and his small kitchen setup was beginning to struggle to keep up the demands of the faithfully addicted. With the encouragement of Ma Ma, our family and friends, Pa Pa converted a local building into a commercial kitchen … and the rest, as they say, is jerky history!
What makes your beef jerky so good? (Pa Pa says, “The secret’s in the SLICE.”)
There are a lot of reasons why people think our jerky is the best they’ve ever tasted. It might be because of the high-quality Angus beef round roast, hand trimmed and marbled just right. And it’s probably because of the extra-long marinate time – usually two days – and the fact that the meat is “tumbled” in marinade first, letting it soak deep down into the beef, so every bite is rich and hearty.
But when you ask him, Pa Pa says the real secret is how he cuts the beef. Other jerky is easily twice or three times as thick as Pa Pa’s, giving it a tough and rubbery texture when dried and cooked. So thin it has “holes,” our jerky is easy to bite, easy to chew and – this is different, too – the flavor bursts out immediately. You don’t have to “wait” for the juicy taste.
Is Pa Pa a real person?
He sure is! After retiring from a long career as a school superintendent, Pa Pa had no intention to go into the jerky business. He started making jerky as a hobby and found our friends and family were eating it faster than he could cook it. With support and encouragement from Ma Ma and our family, he and his sons started Abner Snack Foods, Inc.
Abner Snack Foods, Inc. is truly a family business: Pa Pa and his middle son are in the kitchen every day, slicing, marinating, cooking and packing up the jerky. Another son handles the business side of things.
Abner Snack Foods, Inc. is located in their home town of Bell City, Missouri (population 420, more or less). The commercial kitchen is just a few blocks away from home. It only seems right that the best tasting beef jerky in the world (well, we think so anyway) comes from a small farm community in the very heartland of the country.
I have tried all four and I want more! Are more flavors coming soon?
Pa Pa is always experimenting and has a few flavors that are in the works. For now, Pa Pa and sons are concentrating on maintaining their extremely high standards for producing a quality product. Stay tuned for more to come.
If it is not absolutely the best jerky, produced to our standards for taste and quality, we will not ship it out. Period. As Pa Pa says, “Over the years we’ve thrown away a lot of jerky, and we’re not afraid to throw away more.”
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