“Charcuterie boards are pretty common, but you don’t see jerky too often in a restaurant setting,” says Pakpao’s Executive Chef Jet Tila, a familiar face on the Food Network and an expert in Asian mash-ups. “Texturally, our beef jerky is a little more ‘beefy,’ which allows us to achieve this nice balance of crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside.” Knowing that local craft beers were just the thing to go with his flavor-loaded, shareable beef jerky selection, Tila decided to offer pairings of the two.
The jerky options all combine salty, spicy, sour and sweet. The Massaman Curry version is nutty and slightly sweet, with aromatics like bay leaf and green cardamom, which play well with wheat beers. “The Spicy BBQ marinade is the result of a parallel between pad Thai and a traditional barbecue sauce recipe—there are chiles, sugar, vinegar, so you have this spicy, tangy, sweet and sour going on,” says Tila. The Salty Thai Jerky has an earthy, umami flavor from mushroom soy, garlic and coriander root, and it’s usually paired with a crisp lager or pilsner. “The Salty Jerky is one of the original stars on the opening Pakpao menu, and without a doubt still one of our top-selling shareable starters,” he adds. “The word ‘salty’ in a menu description can be a bit polarizing, but if you know Thai food, it has strong associations with the word ‘yum.’”
Pakpao now offers a pre-packaged retail portion of the original Salty jerky flavor, which people tend to purchase on their way out of the restaurant, lighting the way for other jerky flavor profiles in retail options.