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Jack Link's Beef Jerky History


The story of Jack Link's® Beef Jerky is a story of family traditions. It began with treasured family recipes that were passed from generation to generation, ultimately transforming a small North Woods business into one of the fastest-growing meat snack manufacturers in the world.

The foundation was laid in the 1880s, when Jack Link's great-grandfather, Chris, came to America from the Old Country and settled in the wilderness of northern Wisconsin. Tucked away in his belongings were some of his most prized possessions - his sausage recipes.

From the first day Chris staked his claim in Minong, Wis., a new American tradition was born. Chris Link's sausages and smoked meats became legendary among the lumberjacks and pioneer farmers of Wisconsin's great North Woods.

Years later, Chris' son Earl opened Minong's very first general store and butcher shop. He sold everything from horseshoes and nails to pickles and sausages. Earl continued the family's tradition of making the best jerky and sausages folks had ever tasted.

Earl's son - Wilfred "Wolf" Link - was born in 1916. Wolf accompanied his father everywhere and practically grew up in the general store. He learned early on what it took to be the best in the meat business. Wolf grew up and followed in the family's footsteps, making a name for himself in the cattle business.

Years later, Wolf married and before too long, had a son named Jack. Jack followed Wolf everywhere, learning all about cattle, the meat business and how to make the best meat products possible. Jack honored his heritage and carved out a healthy business for his own family by supplying top-quality beef to stores and restaurants throughout the Northland. Jack and his wife Mary Jo had two sons, Jay and Troy.


It was while hunting with his boys that Jack had the idea to begin making jerky using his family's Old World recipes. Working with his sons, Jack perfected his great-grandfather's recipes. The jerky was so good that the Links' friends and neighbors were continually clamoring for more. The Links decided to share their jerky with the folks in the region and began making large batches of jerky, which they sold to small stores across northern Wisconsin. Their first product - Jack Link's Beef Steaks - became a staple snack for folks in the area and spurred dramatic growth for the company. The Links' reputation for quality grew throughout the region and a business was born.

Over the years, as consumer demand for convenient, high-quality snack foods increased, so did the company's product offerings and distribution network. Today Jack Link's is the fastest-growing meat snack manufacturer in the world, and sells more than 100 different meat snack products in more than 40 countries. More than a century has passed, but the Link family principles and traditions remain the same: hard work, integrity and a commitment to earn consumer respect by delivering the best-tasting meat snacks in the world.

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