World's Best Meats™ Story

The customer base for Tim & Sarah Sheehan's beef jerky products is growing exponentially. Beginning in 1995, their jerky product line has grown from the Original flavor to ten flavors of Beef and four flavors of Bison as of early 2010.

The Sheehan Family, consisting of Tim, Sarah, and their five girls have at one time or another worked in every facet of the company, from raw production to the smokehouse and packaging, to the most important (and FUN !!) element of direct-marketing. As well, the company accepts and negotiates applications for franchising vendors.

Sheehan FamilyJerky fans sample a taste, and usually follow with an immediate purchase. The World’s Best Meats jerky line accepts challenges, but no one at World’s Best Meats is aware of ever having lost a one-on-one direct taste-taste challenge!!!

The direct-marketing efforts at various venues around the Mid West and South West assist in gaining retail sales; the staff at WBM accept any number of order-notifications, from directly-calling Tim Sheehan on his cell phone (319-371-6321) to the company e-mail to the fast, easy, and convenient Shopping Cart on the WBM website.

World’s Best Meats supports and encourages. their clients’ ongoing addictions. Some customers have begun ordering in 10#, 20#, and 30# lots to satisfy their cravings and share with families, friends, and co-workers, as well as taking advantage of offered price discounts associated with those volumes.

World’s Best Meats staff always employ the same stringent product-quality and environmental controls established when the USDA plant was built new in 1999. This admittedly labor-intensive process allows for the certainty of an extraordinary, consistent product each batch of each flavor.

In 1994, the Sheehan's bought the local State-inspected meat processing plant in Andrew, Iowa. Though that plant (Andrew Meats Inc.) kept them busy, the couple wanted to find a way to maximize use of the industrial in-plant smokehouse.

They began experimenting with meat jerky products and recipes, testing them on a gaggle of local regulars who gathered in the locker's retail shop every Saturday morning for coffee. After nearly two years the “Original” was declared “the world’s best jerky” and official retail of the Jerky line began.

In 1999, the opportunity arose which would allow a focus on jerky production. To that end, they built a new USDA facility for jerky production next door to their State-inspected locker. As World’s Best Meats came on-line in December of 1999, Andrew Meats Inc. was leased, and Tim and Sarah were full-time in the world of Beef and Bison Jerky by early 2000.

World’s Best Meats also produces product for special orders under different labels, and co-packs for select premium buyers.

Sarah, a full-time RN, is no longer involved in the production side, but often assists during marketing junkets on weekends. Tim is the only individual who works in the seasoning department (and only he knows the secret seasonings and sauces), and is the point man for the marketing efforts, which engage at least one team from WBM at least 35 weekends each year.

World's Best Meats produces Original, Teriyaki, Honey Dew (now #1 in sales), Peppercorn, BBQ, Sweet & Sassy (chipotle & barbeque), and in ascending order of heat, Flamethrower, Afterburner, Intimidator, and Terminator. A new hot one is rumored to be coming out; the working name is "Death by Jerky."

Flavors are processed separately to prevent co-mingling of flavors. The product was introduced as made from the Beef Eye of Round, but an immense amount of focus-group testing led WBM to make the move to the Bottom Round Flat, which is an even higher-quality (and more-expensive) primal cut, but it provides immeasurable quality in flavor transfer and mouth-feel. The slices are marinated in the special seasonings for at least two days (and up to seven) before they are hung on hooks and placed on large trucks which are rolled into the smoke house. Tasty Hickory Smoked Beef JerkyThe smokehouse is brought to heat with natural gas, then natural hickory chips are burned (the smoked pumped from an external burner) with the smoke being forced into the smokehouse through the use of a small fan. No liquid smoke is used in the product; the jerky is made using methods which are Olde World as possible, while retaining USDA health standards.

When the product is done -- a matter of hours -- it will be about 1/3 the "wet weight" and "wet size." Originally, the jerky was tested for shelf stability using the Moisture Protein method, but science demonstrated using Water Activity was a far more trustworthy methodology, and WBM has been using that method for a number of years now

Because the plant is inspected daily by USDA personnel, there are many intense production safeguards in place, including machines that graph the process of each batch as it cooks, and monitors for the Relative Humidity and Jerky temperatures. The USDA audits the plant records daily, as part of the validation process as World’s Best Meats proves to themselves and to any auditors their process is in-line with the best in the industry.

The Sheehan's contracted with the McCullough Creative Group to create their colorful logo design incorporating a stern-looking bull. The final result from Jack McCullough and crew were found by the Sheehan’s to exemplify their rebel-with-a-cause mentality of “make a better product, no matter what.”

Layaway inventory is never large. One of WBM's core beliefs involves providing a fresh product. A core company belief hinges on keeping the product not only great-tasting initially, but keeping it fresh, even though it is technically shelf-stable, and under certain test-conditions, has been held in perfect condition for years. It is very seldom any WBM jerky gets to celebrate a one-month anniversary!!!

Changes are always looming for the business; World’s Best Meats has plenty of ability to grow. Room for expansion was factored in when the plant was built. And that growth happens steadily, as WBM staff always remembers the company name of World's Best Meats came from the flagship product of a jerky that from 1998 to this day, has never lost a taste test we're aware of.

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