Tuesday, October 11, 2016

About the Pit Masters

We are Matt and Niki Meeks and we have come to Costa Rica to introduce our version of healthy and tasty beef jerky. We were both born in Texas where quality beef jerky is as common as peanut butter and jelly and this means we ate our fair share growing up. Throughout the years, we noticed many discrepancies when it comes to beef jerky. Some are thick cut, some thin sliced by a machine, some are even manufactured and formed into a paste to be any shape. Some are dehydrated and some are hung and smoked. We prefer the all natural kind of jerky, thick cut, free of fat and marinated in a nitrate free marinade and smoked with wood, none of that liquid smoke stuff added. We decided to bring our family to Costa Rica and build a small smokehouse in the mountains of Grecia on a coffee farm. Coffee firewood is sustainable because the trees are trimmed every year, giving us an abundant amount of wood. It is a hardwood, great for smoking and; although many people ask, it does not add a coffee flavor to the meat, but it is a clean consistent smoke. Our business has really taken off, so now we live in Cebadilla where we are building a larger plant to export our awesome jerky to the Americas!

We created a brand called Carne Rico JERKY, meaning "Good Meat JERKY" and even though in Spanish, meat is la carne, we created a mascot called "Rico", a Sarchí artisan inspired colorful bull head to represent the Brahma cow in Costa Rica and that is why our meat is masculine. Costa Ricans often say, "que rico" or "que rica" if something tastes good, it is like saying "yummy" so we are basically calling our jerky "Yummy Jerky". We really took our time while creating our product because we wanted to offer a healthy, quality meat snack. We ultimately decided on what we feel is the best slaughterhouse in Costa Rica called Montecillos. They deliver to our plant and guarantee the beef is free range, grass fed, grass finished. When we receive the meat, we slice it free of all fat which is not hard to do since the Brahmas of Costa Rica are a lean beef to begin with, after all, they climb mountains daily. We then marinate the meat overnight in 3 secret recipes. We hang the meat in our smokehouse and smoke it all day for a delicious and flavorful snack or meal packed full of protein. We offer our jerky free of nitrates / nitrates and gluten free. We are able to maintain this quality by using a small oxygen absorber packet called JerkyFresh. 

Costa Ricans did not know what beef jerky was until we hit the market. It has been a struggle to get our product on the shelves of all the stores, but slowly we are becoming a huge presence in the Costa Rican market. We researched the market thoroughly and we knew that the tourist market would be easy enough, but because of the rainy season, we definitely needed to break into the Costa Rican market to sustain our product and we have done so with product sampling and events. We are often seen at La Ruta de Los Conquistadores, known as the toughest mountain bike race on Earth. We also think jerky is a great pair with beer, so we work the Oktober Beer Fest every year. We also are involved in the Atenas Chili Fiesta every year, a fundraiser designed to raise money for the local orphanage in Atenas. We are working with the Animales Atenas Fundraiser as well. Slowly, but surely our jerky is seen all over Costa Rica and we even just started selling in the local Delta Gas Chains. We sell in AutoMercado, and Vindi's the country's leading supermarket chain. Cafe Britt in the airport sells our jerky. There are so many stores, it is hard to mention them all and our distributor works hard every day to add to our portfolio. Eventually, our goal is to offer our product on Amazon to the Americas.  We also keep a great Facebook page, so check it out!

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