By Tanya Henry
Though founders of Two Chicks Beef Jerky haven’t quit their day jobs, things are heating up for the San Rafael-based company. Last month Shannon Ronan and Breelynn MacDonald released the newest flavor of their popular meat snack—Two Hot Chicks Beef Jerky. The meat boasts plenty of spicy habanero notes and a special blend of California chili peppers—it definitely has a kick.
“Small Batch, Unforgettable Goodness!!” reads the tagline on the handsomely packaged snack made from antibiotic and nitrate-free grass-fed beef in Sonoma. As of September, the Two Chicks Beef Jerky line includes the hot option, along with a Classic flavor.
Ronan and MacDonald both grew up in Nevada City. But it wasn’t until they began working together at a local restaurant in their hometown that they became a couple. Eventually the two moved to San Francisco, got married and now live in the Gerstle Park neighborhood of San Rafael. A few years ago they began making batches of homebrew, pickled veggies and beef jerky in their home kitchen.
“It’s been a huge learning process,” explains Ronan, who started making premium jerky for friends and family when she was bartending at the 2am Club in Mill Valley. After plenty of encouragement and support from customers and friends—and a 4 1/2-month road trip through 30 states (with plenty of homemade jerky in tow), the women decided to get serious about jerky-making. They ran a Kickstarter campaign in which they surpassed their goal of raising $5,000 and partnered with the Sonoma County Meat Co. In January of 2015, Two Chicks Beef Jerky was officially launched.
“It was really important to us to find a supplier that humanely treated their animals,” Ronan says. She credits this as one of the main reasons they can stand by their claim of making the best-tasting jerky. And given their slogan—“Sometimes it is … all about the meat,”—they obviously had to get it right.
Ronan also proudly points out that they are a woman-owned business and the two handle all aspects of the operation, including their distribution—which now includes more than 25 retail outlets as far north as Tahoe and south to Big Sur. In Marin, the savory and spicy meat products can be found at the Pint Size Lounge in San Rafael, Mill Valley Market, Palace Market in Point Reyes Station and Woodlands Market in Kentfield.
Two Chicks Beef Jerky, 41 Clark St., San Rafael; 415/450-9655; twochicksbeefjerky.com.