Outdoor enthusiasts may not think of bacon as a go-to adventure snack, but Orem-based GoBacon Jerky is working to change that. With products like uncured maple bacon jerky and uncured Sriracha bacon jerky, this new company has made a portable version of everyone’s favorite breakfast meat.
When Ryan Kowalk started GoBacon Jerky for a BYU class assignment in 2014, his goal was to offer a premium jerky, incorporating high-end ingredients and cuts of meat at an affordable price. He never dreamed of the success his company would experience in just a few months. With seed funding from Kickstarter, he decided to continue the business after graduation.
Blake McDougal, Ryan’s friend of more than 20 years, became his business partner in 2015. With Blake focused on the finances, Ryan was free to contribute his data science expertise to the business. In 2016, the two brought Jeremy Perkins on board to handle the operations side of the company.
Despite the fact that the trio behind GoBacon Jerky had no previous experience in the food industry, they pooled their business management skills to create fun products. They believed their bacon jerky would fill a need among Utah’s outdoor community for a high-quality, protein-rich, and preservative-free snack that traveled well.
Different from traditional one-step jerky, GoBacon Jerky goes through a two-step processing period. Always US sourced, the bacon is first cooked and is then put through the jerky process, using all natural preservatives. GoBacon Jerky products are soft, never hard or chewy. “The process is entirely different from beef jerky,” says Blake.“You can actually use GoBacon Jerky products as substitutes for bacon in any cooking recipe.”
Unique flavors like Sriracha and maple set GoBacon Jerky products apart from traditional jerky. Despite their openness to exciting new ideas, the company strives to maintain their exclusive focus on bacon. “We will always be bacon-centric,” says Blake. “We might expand to other bacon types or other products that use bacon, but we won’t ever do beef jerky.”
Utahns can purchase GoBacon Jerky products at their website and Amazon.com. Products are also currently available in-store at airports from Texas eastward, and in boutique stores along the East Coast.
Blake emphasizes that the company is looking to expand into Utah stores. “We want to grow locally to create new jobs and to contribute to the state economy,” he says.