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Beef Jerky Becomes Necessity
My name is Mitchell Morris. I’m the founder and owner of Uptown Jerky Co. I'm an Oklahoma City native and grew up in the Mustang/Yukon area. To tell you a little bit about how my beef jerky business began, in 2012, I had a near fatal experience after being misdiagnosed multiple times throughout a year and eventually diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. After spending many days in the ICU and hospital in full DKA, my prayers were answered, and I was able to go home. However, per doctor's orders, I was instructed to be on a very strict, low carbohydrate and sugar diet until my blood sugar levels could become better stabilized. During this time, I began making steaks, fish, and chicken with just sides of vegetables. These meals were great and all, however, I would catch myself still feeling very hungry in between meals since I couldn't eat carbohydrates. One day, I was about to go to the store to buy one of my favorite, low carbohydrate and high protein snacks, beef jerky, when I thought to myself, "I wonder if I can make my own beef jerky using my steak recipe"? I had remembered my aunt giving me a dehydrator as a Christmas gift, so I went to the store and bought my first sliced meat to begin experimenting. This was when I invented my first flavor, the Original Blend, and began enjoying it. Since it is so low in carbohydrates and sugar this was what I practically lived off of throughout the day to try to help keep my sugars under control while keeping my appetite satisfied. As friends and family began to try my newly invented beef jerky snacks, they began requesting orders from me. Through God's blessings, this is how snacking out of necessity turned into the business we now know as Uptown Jerky Co.
Fortunately, I am now doing much better these days with my overall health as my disease has been well managed and maintained through strict dieting and exercise. I’m also very blessed with a beautiful wife named Sofia who also helps motivate me to live a healthy lifestyle. She is also an amazing hair stylist and barber as well. She is always my number one taste tester, as I know she will shoot it to me straight whether my beef jerky experiments turn out qualify or not. With that said, I believe jerky is a form of art. It has taken many years of experimenting to get my recipes where I want them to be with the right balance of flavor and healthier ingredients. After spending many years in my home kitchen trying to get this right balance, I finally got my recipes to be right where I want them, gourmet and gluten free. It’s kind of difficult to try to perfect this with 5 different flavors, but I guess it’s like they say…all great things take time.
After being laid off in the Oil Field, the first few years I had very limited funds to put into the business, however I did the best I could do with what little money I had. Fortunately, I have been able to find a couple of different co-packers that were willing and able to work with me to help me get my business underway. This has had its share of challenges though. There has been some very trying times when a couple of these co-packers didn’t work out for various reasons that were outside of my control. However, I managed to keep going, staying focused, determined and motivated knowing I had a special set of products and a loyal fan base. To get my name and products out there and make as much money as possible to try to put back into the business, I have been working many shows, markets, and events in and around the OKC Metro area all while managing a full-time job supporting the war fighter as an Inventory Management Specialist at Tinker AFB. Since I come from a third generation of Air Force background, I have always had a strong appreciation and admiration for our men and women in uniform. Therefore, I have always provided a Military/First Responders discount at all of my events as I feel that this is the very least I can do to show my appreciation. These events and markets have helped grow my business tremendously and I am very thankful to all the coordinators, customers, family, and friends that have believed in me and supported me through the years. I’m looking forward to our next step as a business which will be opening our first production/storefront location at 2418 N. Robinson Ave., Oklahoma City, OK. in the Uptown building. This will allow me to produce my own products and have a place for customers to come visit us year round. My goal is to expand on our growth as a business while always continuing to bring our customers the very best quality flavors, meat, ingredients, and textures as possible while hopefully adding more variety of products in the future.
If you're looking for one of the best tasting, gluten and nitrate free, craft-style beef jerky snacks on the planet, you've come to the right place. Thank you for choosing Uptown Jerky Co. and hope you enjoy!
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