CravePhilly is a video and story series by Hope Cohen about the people who create food, restaurants, and agriculture in the Philadelphia region.

After a less than satisfying search for meat alternative snack options for his family, Ben Doar took matters into his own hands.

A cooking enthusiast and committed vegan, he began experimenting with soy proteins and complex spice blends in his East Passyunk home kitchen.

Doar spent months developing his recipes, followed by taste-testing with friends and family.  When those friends and family started calling with orders for more, he was convinced he had hit a home run.

Enter Philly Jerk, the 100% plant-based jerky. It’s also gluten free.

The dream was to make an environmentally sustainable and harm-free snack using quality ingredients, with small batch production and attention to detail. And Doar succeeded.

YouTube video

Handcrafted from a soy protein base, the jerky is first mixed with a housemade spice blend which includes yuzu shichimi togarashi (a traditional Japanese seven-spice blend), then twice baked before being hand weighed and packaged.

The result is both bold and balanced, with the perfect amount of spice.

Several new flavor profiles are in development, including a special Earth Day release with Rival Bros Coffee. Called “Earth Candy,” it’s flavored with cacao, coffee, and cayenne.

In addition to the main item, which comes in three-packs for $27, the Philly Jerk website has fun merch for sale, including stickers and a toddler sized baseball tee.

Look for Philly Jerk in local stores — current options include the South Philly Coop, Rowhouse Grocery, Herman’s Coffee, and Comfort & Floyd — or order online.

Hope Cohen is a cookbook author, chef, consultant, and video host on a mission to expand viewers’ palates for global food and culture through storytelling. She has appeared on Rachel Ray, Dr. Oz, and...