Food & Drink

Meat Market

Designer jerky hits Baltimore.

Several years back, Riverside resident Evan Siple purchased a dehydrator with the goal of drying herbs, but a sample jerky kit that went along with the gadget offered unexpected inspiration.

“I love beef jerky,” says Siple, who also writes the award-winning blog, The City That Breeds, “so I decided to make it one night and then bring some to donate to a holiday auction party. Someone told me they thought that it was good enough to buy.”

Recognizing a business opportunity, Siple, a biotechnologist by trade, swapped his microscope for an industrial-sized dehydrator. And, voilà, Mobtown Meat Snacks was born. While Siple—who makes hundreds of pounds of jerky from a commercial kitchen in Fells Point—has called on his lab experience to turn out inventive flavors such as Old Bay and Jamaican jerk, coming up with a catchy company name was not so simple.

“Every Baltimore-based company is Charm City this or Baltimore that,” says Siple, whose product is sold at Fleet Street Market and Ostrowski’s. “The only name I could think of that hadn’t been used was ‘Mobtown,’ a pre-Civil-War-era nickname going back to a time when mobs were running the streets and the newspapers took to calling it ‘Mobtown.’ So that became the name.” Chew on that.