Portland’s Fork Food Lab can be a great place for food entrepreneurs to get a start, but for Jenn and Adam Stein, it wasn’t working out. Some of their jerky products had 12- to 15-hour cook times.

“I was just literally watching food dry when we were there,” Jenn Stein said, describing the earliest days of Steindry, their company that makes both meat and fruit jerky – and is now working on a vegetable line.

The couple has moved the operation to the apartment below the Portland apartment where they live, which has been outfitted with four commercial-grade ovens, two for meat and two for fruit. Now Stein can run downstairs to check on the jerky anytime she wants, and her days are much less boring.

The Steins got into making jerky when they lived in New York City and Adam Stein, a craft beer lover, started making beer at home. Tossing out the spent grain felt wasteful, so the couple bought a small dehydrator, thinking they could turn the spent grain into flour. “I spent an entire weekend doing that, and I had a tablespoon of flour,” Jenn Stein said.

The flour project was a bust, but they still had a dehydrator. Adam was a fan of jerky, so they started making beef jerky.

When the couple moved to Maine, Adam Stein got a job at Foundation Brewing Co., and he started using beer in his jerky, substituting it for soy sauce. They discovered that marinating the meat in dark versus light beer affects the taste. They use only local meat, buying the leanest cuts from Curtis Custom Meats in Warren.

Today, their line includes beer beef jerky, coffee beef jerky, and a spicy bourbon beef jerky. (They sell 1 ounce of each from their food cart as a “flight of jerky.”) Any leftover meat scraps go into dog treats.

They’ve also expanded into fruit, using local strawberries and peaches when they are in season. In the winter, they switch to tropical fruits, such as a cayenne-pineapple jerky. The fruit line has no preservatives and no sugar (which makes some of them – especially the kiwi – very tart, but you definitely taste the fruit).

Steindry is developing a vegetable line that will include mushroom jerky and salsa jerky.

Buy the jerky on the Steindry website, steindry.com, and at many local breweries, including Foundation, Allagash and Bunker. The Stein’s jerky cart is at Foundation Brewing every Saturday and the Yarmouth Farmers’ Market every Thursday. Beef jerky costs $10 per 2.5-ounce package; fruit jerky is $5.

— MEREDITH GOAD

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.