Jilly’s Jerky, female founded and family run, launches a new small-batch, locally-made beef jerky business just in time for the holidays. Inspired by her late father, a man who loved making beef jerky for his family and friends, founder Jill Evans LaPenna used his original recipe as a model to create a modern recipe for the conscientious consumer. The new company sold more than 700 bags in its first two weeks of business this November and the reviews have been stellar. The product is currently available in individual sized bags online at www.jillysjerky.com, at Totto’s Market in the South Loop, Zin’s Flower Shop in Pilsen and Green Top Grocery in Bloomington, IL. Online prices range from $5.50 - $6 depending on the quantity ordered.

Jilly’s Jerky is made using Slagel Family Farm premium beef and high-quality seasonings which create a unique yet traditionally flavored savory beef jerky snack. Sliced thin and marinated for 24 hours before dehydrating, Jilly’s Jerky is made in small batches and each slice cut by hand to ensure the best slices get into the customer’s bag. The company is currently making the product at River Forest Kitchen in River Forest, IL. 

As a young girl LaPenna would sit on the kitchen table and watch her father, Don Evans, meticulously make his delicious beef jerky, which at that time started off with a simple soy sauce recipe and each slice was delicately hung by a toothpick in the family’s oven. She, her mother and two siblings would anxiously wait for the delicious meat treat to be complete, by sitting on the kitchen floor and just staring inside the oven. The delicious smells slowly wafted around the house all day long as the process took hours! Over time her dad would refine this routine, but the sweetest memories are working alongside him as a young child and the day he surprised her with a special batch for her wedding reception’s “after party.” Having Donnie’s Jerky when it wasn’t a holiday was unheard of! The jerky had become legendary with family and close friends as it was only made for three holidays – Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. LaPenna’s father passed away in 2013 and she couldn’t let this tradition die with him. She packed up his round dehydrator and started to attempt recreating this family tradition in her own home. Luckily, her family graciously tasted and approved of all the batches throughout these past years.

In January of 2020 LaPenna had the idea to make jerky for the masses and these last several months have been a journey of following the steps to do so with her husband Anthony. When their three young children shout “JERKY! JERKY!” when a new batch is ready, they look forward to sharing the jerky joy with all for future generations, too.

To learn more about Jilly’s Jerky visit www.jillysjerky.com

Source: Jilly’s Jerky