HOUSTON, TX (KTRE) - It wasn't meant to be, or judges for a HEB product contest don't know "great" jerky when they eat it.
Nacogdoches-based Blank and Son's Great Jerky of the Republic of Texas didn't come away a top winner in the 2016 HEB Primo Picks competition.
The Blank family has no hard feelings. They still beat out more than 500 entries to make it to the finals.
"And even if we don't win, being in the top 25 is still a great feather in our hat out of that many people being selected," said Damon Blank, the founder of Blank & Sons Great Jerky.
The creators of Blank & Sons Beef Jerky were among the 25 finalists that made it to the competition at the Houston Food Bank. A panel of expert judges narrowed the field of finalists to five winners.
The winnings totaled $90,000. Winners received cash prizes and space on HEB store shelves in 2017, a press release stated.
"The final presentations were phenomenal, showcasing a unique blend of creativity, resolve and purpose," said James Harris, the director of diversity & inclusion and supplier diversity for HEB. "As we celebrate the third year of competition, we have enjoyed the inventiveness that our fellow Texans continue to showcase."
The 2016 HEB Primo Picks grand prize winner is the Texas Pie Company out of Kyle. Chef Julie Albertson won $25,000 for her handmade pies.
There was a tie for first place in the contest. Gloriana Koll and Keesha Waits's KITCHUN's Holy Coco-Cacao! No Grain-Ola and Purav Patel and Aarti Garehgrat's Bagel Dots both earned their creators $20,000. Koll and Wait's company is based in Austin, and Bagel Dots is based in Houston.
Alexandra Worthington's Austin-based Culinary Cowgirls' Lone Star Queso won second place and $15,000. Luis Morales' San Antonio-based Humble House Foods Ancho & Morita Smoke Tamarind Sauce won third-place honors and $10,000.
"Quest for Texas Best is a win for all Texans. Local businesses are given a chance to grow with H-E-B and our customers benefit from the added variety in stores as well as access to the best locally sourced products," Harris said.
The Quest for Texas Best competition had entries from 101 towns across the state, the press release stated.
Blank & Sons will continue to market their product online, at vendor venues, and at selected Nacogdoches retail outlets.
For more information on Black & Sons' beef jerky products, click this link.