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Streetsboro jerky store offers dozens of varieties of dried beef and venison
Some are harder to chew than others
This story is part of a special series.

Vivian Goodman
Tommy's Jerky offers four dozen flavors and varieties of jerky--including some made from venison, elk and buffalo. Shown here is a selection of beef jerkies: (clockwise from the top left) Cherry Maple, Honey BBQ, Peppercorn, and Teryaki.
Courtesy of Valerie Brown
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It can be sweet, spicy, salty, peppery, garlicky, and for many it’s a satisfying snack.  We’re talking Jerky today on Quick Bites with the proprietor of Tommy’s Jerky in Streetsboro.

A supermarket of jerky

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Mike Sirp, the proprietor of Tommy’s Jerky in Streetsboro says we’ll find jerky here that you won’t see  at the gas station or the convenience store.

 “A much broader array of jerky. I have 48 types of jerky and smokie here and I’m adding on.” 

About 30, 4-foot wooden barrels of jerky line the store’s walls. Above them hang moose, elk and deer heads, mounted fish, fishing poles, cowboy hats, and American flags.

Sirp and his wife Joanne opened the store about eight months ago. Up till then he hadn’t been that big of a jerky fan.

I’ve tried it here and there. So it’s not that I was unaware of what jerky was or what smokies were. But I thought it was a very interesting concept. You don’t see these on every street corner.”  

A local chain

The store in Streetsboro is one of four Tommy’s Jerky stores in northeast Ohio.  Tommy Baker, the Sirps’ neighbor in Solon, started the franchise two years ago with a store in Chardon.  Tommy’s Jerky stores later opened in Mentor and Canton, and the Sirps opened theirs on State Route 14 in Streetsboro in July.

If you’re into stuff that has some heat. I have anything on a scale of one to 10, from a two all the way to a 15. I start people down especially if they’re looking for some heat. I don’t want to start at the top and work down. Done that before and it doesn’t work out.

“Got a couple flavors of turkey down here. Some people just don’t like beef or they want something different, so we have a honey barbecue turkey, a product that doesn’t have any preservatives, no nitrates, no msg’s.”  

He's Got Game

I do have some game here, which is our buffalo, elk and venison, do very well. I have a lot of hunters in the area. I ask them when they come in to try it. We have samples of everything in our store. Especially the hunters who’ve done jerky themselves compare it and I’ve got great reviews.

Can you describe the taste?

“ Well, our venison and our buffalo are both smoked. Our elk is a smoked cherry but it’s a little bit different. Some classify it as a little gamey. Some like it. It’s tender.” 

 “ I have some stuff that doesn’t have the preservative and nitrates and everything like that that’s much softer. “

Not just a guy thing 

Joanne Sirp says when the weather warmed up and women started worrying again about how they’ll look in bathing suits, she saw an increase in female customers looking for a low-fat, low carb snack.

“Usually it is pretty much a guy mecca here. And everybody who comes in looks pretty excited like it’s Christmas morning. But lately we’ve seen a pretty large influx of women coming in who are concerned about the carbs. Picking up their snacks to keep at their desks which are no carb. They’re all protein.”   

And  she says her smokies and jerky are also 98 percent fat-free.

But that’s not why Jesse Randallman’s shopping today for his girlfriend and himself.

I just love that smoky flavor, the texture. What’s not to like about jerky? It’s meat. That’s what I really like about it. “

And that’s today’s Quick Bite. Next week we learn how to make our own sushi. 

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