Unraveling the Mystery: Who Really Makes Kirkland Beef Jerky for Costco?

As a Costco member and beef jerky enthusiast, Kirkland brand jerky is one of my favorite go-to snacks Its perfect balance of smoky, salty flavor and tender yet chewy texture makes Kirkland beef jerky addictively delicious

But despite its popularity among members, Costco has never revealed who actually manufactures the Kirkland beef jerky found on their shelves. The identity of the producer remains a closely guarded secret.

As a curious Costco shopper, I decided to try and uncover the truth behind who really makes this famous store brand jerky Here’s what I discovered in my search

Why Kirkland Brand Origin is Often a Mystery

First, it’s important to understand why Costco keeps the precise origin of many Kirkland products under wraps.

  • Protects supplier relationships by preventing competitors from targeting them.

  • Provides flexibility to swap suppliers to get best deal.

  • Allows Costco to modify products to their standards.

  • Keeps focus on Kirkland brand, not suppliers.

  • Provides leverage in negotiating with manufacturers.

While this secrecy is frustrating for consumers, it benefits Costco’s business model. But sometimes clues emerge that reveal likely producers.

The Most Plausible Kirkland Jerky Manufacturers

Though Costco won’t confirm jerky suppliers, sources indicate a few US meat companies are probable producers:

Link Snacks – A family-owned Indiana jerky company. Known for quality and owns subsidiary Damascus Jerky.

Evans Meats – Specializes in meat snacks and private label jerky. Located in Utah.

West Liberty Foods – An Iowa meat processor that makes many Kirkland products.

Mars Hill Meats – Experienced North Carolina jerky maker. Supplies many brands.

Frontier Snacks – A jerky producer in California. Also makes branded Wild Bills Jerky.

Of course other lesser-known meat processors could also be involved. But these major players seem like likely suspects.

How Kirkland Beef Jerky is Made

While the producer remains anonymous, we can deduce a bit about how Kirkland jerky is crafted:

  • Uses whole muscle beef cuts, not ground or chopped meat. Indicates quality.

  • Cured with salt, spices, and nitrates. Gives flavor and preservation.

  • Slow smoked using real hardwood like hickory. Provides authentic smoky taste.

  • Air dried to desired moisture level, not overly dried out. Keeps it tender.

  • Made in small batch productions, not mass produced. Suggests artisan approach.

Though the details are speculative based on jerky experts’ assessments, this general process results in Kirkland’s jerky excellence.

Why Kirkland Beef Jerky Stands Out

Among all the major store brand jerkies, Kirkland consistently earns high marks for its balance of quality and value:

  • Tender and moist – Many jerkies are too dry. Kirkland jerky retains moisture for soft, easy chewing.

  • Intense smoky flavor – Real wood smoked flavor permeates the meat. Kirkland jerky tastes handcrafted.

  • Minimal chemical taste – No harsh artificial flavors that often plague mass market jerkies. Real beef shines.

  • Thick, whole cuts – Made from whole muscle slices, not ground or chopped mystery meat. You can see the grain.

  • Great price – Almost half the cost per ounce of major national brands but with premium taste.

The care put into making Kirkland beef jerky is evident in every flavorful bite. It clearly beats most competitors.

Customer Theories on the Jerky’s Origins

In the absence of facts from Costco, Kirkland beef jerky enthusiasts have plenty of theories on the snack’s source:

  • It’s exactly like Oberto jerky – A commonlyrepeated hunch. But Oberto jerky is also a secret recipe. Purely speculative.

  • Package says Product of USA – Some say this hints major US meat companies like Link Snacks or Evans Meats. But doesn’t rule out smaller producers.

  • It varies by region – Theory that Kirkland jerky comes from different suppliers depending on location. But no evidence exists of variation.

  • Might be made by multiple companies – Hypothesis that Costco uses a mix of suppliers across its stores. No proof but plausible.

While the guesses are fun, none provide conclusive clues. The jerky’s origins remain elusive.

Will We Ever Know the Truth?

Costco has managed to keep Kirkland beef jerky’s manufacturer(s) confidential for many years. Is it possible they will ever reveal the truth?

There are a few scenarios in which the secret could come out:

  • Costco decides voluntarily sharing would provide marketing buzz and make fans happy. Unlikely, but we can hope!

  • A supplier accidentally leaks the information or puts Kirkland on their client list. A slip up could expose the truth.

  • Investigative reporting uncovers definitive proof through insider sources or document trails. Hard to pull off, but tenacious journalists could find answers.

  • Costco changes supplier and customers notice a change in quality or taste that reveals the previous maker. A tricky transition could lead to exposure.

Short of these possibilities though, Costco seems intent on keeping jerky fans guessing indefinitely.

The Takeaway: Enjoy the Mystery

Who exactly makes Kirkland beef jerky will remain a future trivia question, not a present fact. But the secrecy doesn’t make the jerky less delicious. We can simply savor the smoky seasoned beef goodness without knowing its origin.

The mystery is part of the fascination and novelty around Costco’s store brand. So next time you buy a bag of Kirkland jerky, enjoy wondering about its untold backstory as you enjoy its unmistakable flavor.

BEEF JERKY SNACK | Kirkland Signature Steak Strips Beef Jerky Taste Test & Review


Why does Kirkland Jerky say refrigerate after opening?

The Special Creation is Very Different from Traditional Meat Snacks. In Order to Ensure Lasting Flavor and Freshness, it is Important that the Bag is Refrigerated within 3 days of Opening.

What are the ingredients in Costco beef jerky?


Who is the manufacturer of Kirkland popcorn?

Kickstarting in the 1990s, Costco sells a range of products under its Kirkland Signature brand, leading to a range of copycat products that many swear by. There’s a good reason that Costco’s products taste similar to its name-brand competition.

What company makes Kirkland dog food?

Kirkland Signature pet food is made by Diamond Pet Foods, a company that has been around for more than 50 years, having been established in 1970 by brothers-in-law Richard Kampeter and Gary Schell.

How much does Kirkland beef jerky cost?

Thus it’s about $1.74 per ounce. It has no nitrate or nitrites. The cuts are not uniform. Extra thick, moist, and tender steak beef jerky serves you with Costco’s user-focused specialty when you pick the Kirkland Signature beef jerky at a Costco gas station. Its thick, chewy bites are just a “wow!”

Does Costco Kirkland have turkey jerky?

Today I’m reviewing the Costco Kirkland Signature Turkey Jerky. I’m not a huge fan of jerky so for this review I’m relying on my husband who likes it for his expert opinion! My husband actually really liked this! I didn’t mind it at all either but as I said before I’m not the biggest jerky fan.

How much does Kirkland meat cost?

The flavor is nice, slightly sweet and smoky and very well seasoned. There’s various sized pieces of meat in the bag so some pieces are slightly more tender and easier to eat than others. The 340 gram bag of Costco Kirkland Signature Cured & Dried Extra Thick Cut Steak Strips cost $13.49 Canadian, regular price.

Who makes Jack Link jerky?

This brand’s story began when Jack Link (yes, that’s actually the founder’s name) started selling meat treats locally in Wisconsin in 1986. Over the last 35 years, their beef jerky has gone from a regional favorite to a snack that is available from sea to shining sea. While Jack Link’s has a lot of fanatics, their jerky is only average. Why?

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