Three Jerks Jerky is a company that sells premium beef jerky made out of 100% filet mignon. They recently brought their product to Shark Tank and hooked Daymond John with their delicious treat and entrepreneurial spirit. Since their episode aired on October 23, 2015, the business has exploded – as expected.
Armed with a luxurious product, the incredible exposure that Shark Tank provides and a partnership with one of the top branding experts in the business world (Daymond John), Three Jerks has taken the beef jerky scene by storm.
Earlier this week, we had a chance to sit down for an exclusive interview with Daniel Fogelson and Jordan Barrocas, the founders of Three Jerks, to talk business, jerky, Shark Tank and their soon-to-be-released filet mignon burgers. They may call themselves “jerks,” but it turns out that they’re actually very nice, down-to-earth dudes who just like making food that tastes good.
Check out what they had to say below and enjoy!
Your site says you’ve experimented with various cuts of meat. How long did it take and how did you land on filet for your products?
Jordan: So, when we first started, it was literally three friends like “yo, let’s make some beef jerky together because everything sucks.” And when we did that, we wanted the meat to be the absolute best that was available. So, the idea at first was to take all the cuts that you eat when you go to a steakhouse or that you cook at home and make jerky out of it. So we made jerky out of New York strip, out of ribeye, and out of filet mignon. And we weren’t necessarily expecting it, but the filet was just leaps and bounds better than everything else.
When we ate it, we were like “oh my God, this is insane! Someone’s got to have done this before. This is way too good.” It was really just kind of messing around in the kitchen as buddies and we stumbled upon something that was just incredible. And once we realized that filet made incredible jerky, we were just having fun making all kinds of different flavors after work every night in my apartment.
For example, one of the flavors we have now, which is Chipotle Adobo, started as two separate flavors. We had chipotle barbecue sauce jerky and Filipino adobo jerky. And we thought, “let’s try mixing the two together.” It’s not even a joke, we literally took the two separate bags of marinade and combined them into one and made the jerky out of that. We were like “wow, this is really awesome.” It was really just trial and error and learning and making what we liked.
Daniel: In the spirit of having fun as well, there were some that didn’t work. One included a Vietnamese fish sauce. We tried a lot of things. It was good, just not the best. The fish sauce becomes a lot more pungent through dehydration.
Jordan: [laughs] That was a little hard to swallow. So obviously we’ve come a long way from there and we do things a little bit differently now. But just a little bit. We still have that spirit of doing what we like, having fun, messing around in the kitchen, and working to make something good. We’re not food scientists. We don’t have culinary backgrounds. We say that we have a lot of food background but it’s combined 60 years of eating [laughs]. Just not in a culinary classroom. We do what we like and we make things that we think taste good. And that’s basically how we do our business.
Shark Tank was obviously huge for you guys. How did it feel to have the sharks all fighting over your product?
Daniel: That was pretty awesome – being in there. We knew we had good jerky, but the extremely positive reaction was an awesome thing to see. It really confirmed the belief we had in our product to see four of the five sharks up there fighting to have a piece of our business. It really strengthened our belief in what we were doing.
Jordan: Aside from the business benefits of being on Shark Tank and the exposure that comes with that, we work really hard and the entrepreneurial world is difficult and there’s a lot of bumps along the way. Something like Shark Tank, at least from our experience, was a confirmation and affirmation of being on the right path and what we’re doing is working. It’s just that intangible feeling of “okay, keep going,” That was one of the most rewarding parts of being on the show.
So, tell me about the “Shark Tank Effect.” Everybody talks about how the night your episode airs it’s insane.
Jordan: It’s a double edged sword. I wouldn’t go back and change anything. Our business grew from Shark Tank incredibly. I mean, we grew 650% in two months directly from the show. We’ve continued to grow, too. Overnight, we’re a different company. We’ve graduated from infant to toddler very quickly. I mean, hyper growth is really challenging. We were right at the crest of growing too fast. It’s good, the exposure’s amazing – wouldn’t trade it for anything. It made us a bigger, better company. But it definitely makes things challenging.
Daniel: We had product backordered for two months. It was a challenge.
Jordan: And after Shark Tank, we had Daymond John as a partner. We’ve since then brought on an operations partner. Without them, we would’ve really struggled. It definitely changes a business. And we’re very fortunate, and bigger, and very happy for it.
You pretty much had your pick of sharks; how happy are you that you chose Daymond?
Daniel: Daymond’s awesome.
Jordan: We Love Daymond.
Daniel: He’s so cool. And he introduced us to Rastelli whom we’ve partnered with as well. They’ve been a tremendous resource.
What is Rastelli?
Daniel: Rastelli is a meat packing resource. They help with our procurement of raw materials, management, manufacturing, sourcing, administrative stuff.
Jordan: They’re basically coming in and helping manage the operation of the business. They’ve got a lot of experience with systems and processing. So they’re helping us stay fine tuned as a business through all the growth that would be impossible with just [Daniel] and myself. They’ve become critical to us being able to continue to grow and remain a successful business.
Daniel: To circle back to your question about having our pick of sharks, one thing they didn’t show is Jordan and I stepped out for a second to have a brief discussion because it was a little overwhelming having so many people wanting their piece. But we stepped to the side and looked at each other and said “who’s your gut saying?” And at the same time, we both just said “Daymond.” I’m sure the reason they cut it out is because there was no drama. [laughs] We stepped out for thirty seconds, we were in agreement, and came back and accepted Daymond’s offer.
They do like to amp up the drama!
Daniel: There’s no drama to be amped up there! [laughs]