By Andy Tarnoff Publisher Published Dec 01, 2008 at 11:55 AM

One of the guys on my bowling team works northwest of Milwaukee, and each week he picks up a bag of beef jerky and brings it down to Bay View Bowl. Ryan is a nice guy like that, but while the gesture is kind enough on its own, it's the jerky, itself, that keeps our collective mouths watering.

Look, I like beef jerky as much as the next guy, and I have been known to declare that beef jerky is the one thing I couldn't give up if I became a vegetarian. But this specific beef jerky is the best I've ever had, and I bet a few dozen Wednesday night bowlers would agree, too.

The stuff comes from Held's, 480 Kettle Moraine Dr. in Slinger, and on a recent trip up north, Ryan took me there in person. Held's is an old-school butcher shop, just off of Highway 41. If I had had more time, I would've spent it there -- but my mission was simple: to buy a bag of jerky and to eat it. I think we finished the bag by the time we got to Green Bay, and it was 9 a.m. when we started.

A bag costs $15.75, which isn't cheap, but again, this is premium beef jerky we're talking about. Smoky, lean and tender -- an utterly different experience than what you get at the grocery story or gas station.

Think of Jack Link's as Ponderosa, and Held's as the Capital Grille.

I wish I could elaborate on why you need to grab a bag next time you're heading out of Milwaukee on Hwy. 41, but how much can one really describe beef jerky? But if you don't believe me -- or the bowling league -- just Google "Held's beef jerky slinger" and you'll see several other rave reviews.

If you're a fan of dried, smoked meats, then you've gotta get a hold of Held's.

Andy is the president, publisher and founder of OnMilwaukee. He returned to Milwaukee in 1996 after living on the East Coast for nine years, where he wrote for The Dallas Morning News Washington Bureau and worked in the White House Office of Communications. He was also Associate Editor of The GW Hatchet, his college newspaper at The George Washington University.

Before launching in 1998 at age 23, he worked in public relations for two Milwaukee firms, most of the time daydreaming about starting his own publication.

Hobbies include running when he finds the time, fixing the rust on his '75 MGB, mowing the lawn at his cottage in the Northwoods, and making an annual pilgrimage to Phoenix for Brewers Spring Training.