Boro’s biggest jerk off at the Bell House

The biggest jerk of all? Matt Timms is throwing Brooklyn’s first jerky competition.
Photo by Erica Sackin

Beef jerky: it’s a favorite snack food in truck stops, cattle ranges, and … Brooklyn?

Yes, according to Matt Timms, will throw the “World’s Biggest Jerk-Off” — our borough’s first-ever all-jerky food competition — on Jan. 23 at the Bell House to see who makes the most delicious dehydrated delicacies.

Timms has thrown about 40 competitive cookoffs in the past eight years, covering creations such as chili, grits, bacon and lamb, but jerky is where the rubber hits the road.

“You don’t think about jerky being huge in the city,” said Timms, “but we didn’t think chili would be huge either, but people are rabid about their chili opinions.”

You’re still more likely to find homemade jerky on a ranch than in a Brooklyn rental, but that’s changing quickly, thanks to the ease with which jerky is made — all you need is a food dehydrator or an oven that can be set below 200 degrees. And before you break out the beef, remember, almost anything can be made into jerky. “I’ve eaten salmon jerky in Alaska, smoked and dried by Eskimos in this little village I worked in about 10 years ago,” Timms said. “You can find turkey, pig, venison, even saitan jerky!

“I definitely hope some veggies enter,” Timms added. “This is a no rules event, and I’m not going to get pompous about the definition of what jerky is.”

Aspiring cooks who think they have what it takes to out-jerk the rest of Brooklyn still have time enter, and of course the general public will be welcome to taste the results. But does Timms really think Brooklynites will tear into this trend?

“They already are making their own jerky!” Timms said, referencing the number of Brooklyn-based home-jerky makers that have popped up in the past year. “People get addicted to that tough texture, and all the flavors and interpretations. It’s cheap to make, super yummy, and an awesome form of protein for active people. My brother, who is in the Marine Corps, LOVES jerky for camping or when he’s out on patrol somewhere dangerous!”

World’s Biggest Jerk Off at the Bell House [149 Seventh St. between Second and Third avenues in Gowanus, (718) 643-6510], Jan. 23, 4 pm. Admission is $10 (includes jerky).

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