Texas A&M Beef Jerky, "The Best"

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Since the 1980s, students and locals have known about the beef jerky at the Rosenthal Meat Science and Technology Center.

The center's manager Ray Riley said almost two weeks ago, the rest of the country found out about it--in the New York Times.

"A week ago last Wednesday, well the phone started ringing at eight o'clock," Riley said.

Many people around Aggieland know the doors of the center do not open until nine in the morning.

Despite the time, the phone kept ringing with callers on the other end who saw one of two articles in the New York Times that ranked A&M's beef jerky the best among seven in a double-blinded taste test.

Each one of them wanted to taste it for themselves. Normally the center sells 100 pounds in a month.

"That one day well, we shipped out a 100 pounds," Riley said.

The following day they sold another 100 pounds and ended up selling out. Manufacturing supervisor Eric Metteauer there was a surge in demand for beef jerky.

"I said you got to make some jerky. He said, 'Ray I got five boxes.' And I said Eric, you don't understand you have got to make some jerky."

Orders have come in from at least 22 states across the country. Currently, there is about a two week wait before new orders can be filled.

Riley credits the old-fashioned technique of curing their beef for seven to ten days for winning the taste challenge. The strips of top round muscles are seasoned with black pepper, smoked through with the flavor of hickory sawdust for three hours, before they're dried.

The rest of the country is learning what regular patrons of the retail shop like Mark Bilyeu and Drew Vastano already know.

"I always buy the beef jerky of course and load up on it," Bilyeu said. "There's a number of family members that love it too."

"It really is good stuff," Vastano said. "I send it to my children who all came from A&M. California, Virginia...they love it."

A simple snack is sending the message, Texas A&M does not jerk around with beef. The retail shop at the Rosenthal Meat Science and Technology Center is located just north of Reed Arena.

It is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Beef jerky is sold by the half pound for $9.99. Besides jerky they sell other meat products. For more information call (979) 845-5651.