by The Great Foodini

A new beef jerky inspired restaurant just opened up on Hwy 49 just south of the Humane Society. The story of how Jeremy got started in the restaurant business seems to be straight out of one of those American dream stories we all heard in grade school.

On a hot summer day in South Mississippi, Jeremy was washing cars ten hours a day. His snack of choice was beef jerky, which makes sense. Hot hard work is tough and sweaty. Beef jerky replenishes your sodium and is high in energy-giving protein.

Having chosen the career of a car washer, his financial portfolio didn’t give much room for luxuries and jerky can get expensive. To save money, Jeremy started making his own jerky in 2002, over time, he perfected his recipes and went along his day eating jerky and washing cars. Five years later, a customer who was waiting for Jeremy to finish up saw his bag of jerky and asked if he could have a piece. The customer was impressed and asked for 20 bags to sell in his store. After a few weeks, 20 bags turned into 80 bags. A few more weeks and 80 bags turned into 160 bags. That’s when things got interesting for Jeremy and an idea to start a full-fledge company started.

Now you can buy a bag of original, mild, hot, cracked pepper, Teriyaki, lemon pepper, Kajun, Habanero, ghost pepper or Carolina Reaper all across the MS Gulf Coast, but more importantly, in his restaurant inspired by his jerky.

After about a decade of making jerky, customers who were addicted to his unique all-natural seasoning blends and talent with food were asking for items like burgers, pulled pork and chicken.

One of the must try items on Jeremy’s menu now is the voodoo burger, which is an amalgamation of a perfectly seasoned cheeseburger, topped with a hot sausage patty. Diners rave for it. The Jerky Queen sausage burger goes a step further with hot sausage and pulled chicken. One gut-busting burger can feed two people.

Let me be honest with y’all for a second. I was excited about the restaurant, which is great because it gives me a chance to tell you about my funniest food moment.

When I was a bachelor, every year in the beginning of April, my buddies and I would go on an annual April Fool’s pilgrimage to Las Vegas. Think, Hangover type of wildness here. Shenanigans were had, mistake were made…you know, Vegas stuff.

One year, we all piled into my rental car and headed back home toward Monterey (I was stationed there in the Army). We were all broke. Luckily we had enough survival instinct to save enough money for gas, but we didn’t leave much room for food. So, with a Little Ceasar’s Pizza crammed in the dashboard and solo cups full of water, we headed off into the desert on our way home.

On our journey, we kept seeing signs for free samples of Jerky….to us it was a way to get life-saving protein rich sustenance for our hung-over bodies.

As we pulled up to “Alien Jerky” in the middle of nowhere, we walked in and saw three plastic baskets with original, honey bbq and ghost pepper samples. We tried our samples and the attendant ensured us that one free sample was all we get…this wasn’t his first rodeo.

Angrily, I formulated a plan to get even with the stingy, pimple-faced kid behind the counter. I sent my buddy to the other side of the store and started asking tough questions about ingredients and organics and whatnot. While the clerk was distracted, I switched the ghost pepper and the original baskets…muahahahaha.

I signaled for my friends to leave and as I turned around, to my horror, I watched as a charter bus full of 80-year-old ladies were making their way into the store. Frantic, I ran back into the store and switched the baskets back to their original places.

The clerk, not being distracted from my friend anymore saw me and as I left, I glanced over my shoulder to see him switch the samples back.

The last thing I heard when this cute little octogenarian picked up a piece of ghost pepper laced jerky was “OH MY GOD! HOT!!”

I felt horrible, but ran to the car. After I got on the road I started laughing thinking about the jerky jerk who was stingy and how he was probably slowly being beaten with oversized purses. We laughed so hard we ran off of the road. With tears in our eyes, we calmed down and made the rest of the trip. I still chuckle when I think back on that day.