Meet the Stone Family
Ruga Rue Jerky LLC.
My name is Mark Stone, and I have been making jerky for more than 30 years. I started with deer, moose, elk, basically whatever I could dehydrate. 20 years ago I moved back home to Erie, PA from San Antonio, TX and began throwing annual Christmas parties at our house. We would have anywhere from 70 to 100 people in our home at a time and yes, we were cramped.
As the years went on, my best friend Rusty and I, started having jerky competitions each year at these parties in order to liven things up a bit. My goal was to beat him, although I never did. My friend won every year by a landslide. The votes were not even close.
Now, my friendship with Rusty began in grade school and continued on throughout the years. We grew up across the street from each other, we learned how to ride motorcycles together, we went through life together. He was the best man in my wedding, and he was very special to me.
One day, about ten years ago, he called me up and said: “Mark, come over to my house. I’m going to teach you how to make jerky.”
He shared his recipe with me, but more importantly, he showed me his technique. There was a process he used and it worked...very well.
About a year later my best friend passed away from cancer. Although, the recipes have been altered and improved over the years, I kept the tradition going in his honor and now we have taken his classic black pepper recipe and turned it into the 20+ flavors you have come to know and love.
For years my youngest son, Walker, would always say, “Dad, you need to sell this stuff.”
So I did a few test runs to see how it would do, and as a sales representative for a medical device company, everywhere I went I would bring jerky with me. Everyone wanted to get their hands on this jerky and I could not produce it fast enough on my own. I needed help.
Fast forward to 2015, my family and I moved to Altoona, PA and started Ruga Rue Jerky in 2017.
The name started as a euphemism for our dogs, but it has become so much more to us than just a nickname.
With the support from my family and the community, we have been able to live out our dream: I make jerky, My wife, Dori, runs the show, and my son deals with the marketing aspect of the company. It has worked out pretty well for us.
Rusty was a very strong believer in God and had unwavering faith. I know he is winning all of the jerky competitions in Heaven.
RIP my friend. Thank you for all you have done for me.
Luke 12:22-26“Do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”
How is Your Jerky Made?
Once meat processing has been completed and all the fat is cut out, your jerky is put into an industrial tumbler for 45 min and tenderized with a brine mixture we like to call...the secret formula. (Brine ingredients vary upon flavor)
100 lbs of meat is then laid across 40" by 40" stainless steal trays and seasoned by hand (dependent on flavor). Later, the trays slide into a large trolley cart that then gets rolled into our smoke house for dehydration.
This is where the magic takes place and that raw meat is turned into the delicious jerky we provide to you in only 2 and 1/2 hours during our dehydration process in the Kerres Smoke House.
100 lbs is then tossed onto a table and the second round of fat expulsion begins. The jerky is cut into appropriate sizes for packaging and placed into tubs.
Your product is then bagged and labeled, ready to be shipped anywhere throughout the world or picked up at our retail store located upstairs next to our banquet hall.