Discover Local California

Behind the Brand: Tong Jerky & Tom

Behind the Brand: Tong Jerky & Tom

Today we're here to share the story of Tong Jerky and it's founder, Tom. Tong was started by a group of college friends in LA that traveled extensively, sampling different meat products from around the world (and having a lot of fun while they did that, we presume!) Then, over the course of the next few years, they worked out unique recipe that combines aspects of South American biltong with classic American beef jerky. They like to keep their brand focused on the product - and it's a delicious one! Tong offers a line of gourmet steak jerky in a few different flavors: black pepper, honey pepper, classic, and our personal favorite - sriracha.

Read on to learn more about how they got started, other local makers they love, and their favorite thing about the great state of California!

How did you get started? What were your first steps and how did it evolve from there?

We wanted to make Biltong originally which is a South African form of jerky, we initially started by making that at home and working on various recipes to try and replicate the perfect taste. Eventually we decided to make traditional American Jerky that was inspired by some of the traits we liked the most about Biltong.

How did you come up with your name?

It is short for Biltong.

Tell us about your workspace!

We have space in a warehouse that various other small businesses operate out of. This allows us to have a good combination of work environment and storage for all of our products. It is also nice being around other small businesses and being able to be there to help each other if needed. 

Do you have a favorite review or comment about your products?

People have been so kind in their reviews about our products, but some of the comments that keep coming back are how tender and flavorful our jerky is, which is something we pride ourselves on.

Tell us more about your product line up!

For now we only have beef jerky, however we are planning to release turkey jerky and mushroom jerky in the near future. 

Are there any great local artisans or small businesses that you’re into right now?

Los Angeles is a great place for small businesses, especially for food. I recently have been enjoying trying the variety of street food that the city has to offer.

Do you have a favorite local restaurant?

Los Angeles is a very diverse place, so two places I am really enjoying at the moment are Dan Sung Sa, an old school Korean restaurant. The other is Salsa and Beer, which is a fan favorite Mexican restaurant with a variety of good food and drinks. 
Check out Salsa and Beer on Instagram

You live and work in Los Angeles: do you have any favorite place to enjoy the beauty of your area?

Recently I have been enjoying some of the hikes in Los Angeles, Griffith Park is one I particularly like due to the amazing views it has once you get to the top.

What's your favorite thing about California?

The fact you can be at the snow in the morning and by the beach in the evening, all in the same day. That is something you don't get in a lot of places.
Thank you so much Tom for sharing your story with us! 
You can shop all of Tong Jerky products on their website, and we offer their Sriracha jerky on our site via Build A Box.

If you enjoyed this blog, check out some of the other artisan profiles we've done in the past: