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Opinion Packaged Food Products

Treat Yourself With These Premium Jerky Brands For National Jerky Day

National Jerky Day is upon us, and to celebrate, many of us will be heading to our local convenience to pick up a pack of Jack Links, Oberto, or other generic jerky brand. Why stick with the standards when you can celebrate with some top-of-the-line jerky makers? Premium jerky is a huge trend as a post-workout or on-the-go snack, and companies are getting increasingly creative with the meat they’re dropping on us.

Four of these high-quality jerky brands (Krave, Epic, Three Jerks, and Chef’s Cut) have already started to take deep roots in stores. They’ve got out-of-bounds flavor and are way more succulent and scrumptious than your typical gas station jerky. Here’s my guide to picking out the cream of the crop from these jerky masters to level up your experience for such a worthy day.

Krave

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Recommended: Sesame Garlic Beef Stick

Krave has already been making a splash with some flavorsome, Asian-inspired jerky products, but they’re taking it up to the next level with some new meat sticks. Each one is blended in with a starchy vegetable, like sweet potato or white beans, for some added texture to keep the sticks succulent. While some are drier than others, you’ll be getting some dope flavor in each bite that few other jerky brands can replicate. To me, the new Sesame Garlic Beef Stick is the one to go for if you’re trying Krave’s sticks out for the first time. It’s got deep teriyaki-style flavor and has a snap that’s more effortless than a real sausage. The other flavors are worthy as well, of course.

Epic

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Recommended: Venison Bar and Wagyu Stick

Epic is not shy about going to infinity and beyond when it comes to innovative meat sources for jerky. These guys have bison, salmon, turkey, and even venison jerky bars, pieces, and sticks for y’all to sink your teeth into. Epic’s meat offerings are easier to bite into than an In-N-Out burger patty, which is insane for jerky to begin with. Their flavors do honestly need a little work, though, since some, like the salmon and bison jerky, are still a little too gamey and smoky for a first-timer to savor. The wagyu jerky is also a little bit of a letdown since it doesn’t have the fattiness or rich, beefy flavor you’d expect from something called “wagyu beef,” but it’s still incredibly delicious. Epic has hit the mark with their venison jerky, though, which is simply seasoned to let the natural flavors of the deer speak for themselves. It’s probably the closest to traditional jerky from the 1800s that you can find in any market, so grab a piece if you want to bite into a part of history.

Three Jerks

Recommended: Teriyaki and Maple Bourbon Churro Jerky

Whereas some premium jerky brands go for exotic meats, Three Jerks goes straight for the best cut of all: filet mignon. Each pack of jerky is made with this melt-in-your-mouth cut of beef, giving it some extra lusciousness that you don’t expect in standard beef jerky. Some of the flavors need a little reformulating, like the Hamburger and Memphis BBQ jerky products that honestly just taste like cardboard. The Teriyaki jerky, however, was one of the best pieces of meat I have ever put in my mouth because of how buttery and rich it was. For a piece of jerky, that’s pretty damn impressive.

Chef’s Cut

Happy #nationaljerkyday 🌶🍗🌶🍗!! Stock up on the best #Jerky today and SAVE big (Link in Bio).

A post shared by Chef’s Cut Real Jerky (@chefscutjerky) on

Recommended: Honey BBQ Chicken and Buffalo Chicken Jerky and Meat Sticks, Bacon Jerky

I’m not gonna mince words here: if you want the cream of the crop when it comes to jerky brands, it’s definitely Chef’s Cut. Not only do they have a wide variety of jerky types, but most of them are on point when it comes to the flavors they want to evoke. The Honey BBQ chicken sticks and jerky pieces that Chef’s Cut offers would have Shaq yelling out “BBQ Chicken Alert!” because of how close they taste to the real deal. The Buffalo chicken is just as good, and has the same texture as a buffalo wing fresh out of the deep fryer. How Chef’s Cut pulls that off with dried chicken, I honestly don’t know.

What blew my mind even more than that is a product you NEED to go and buy right now: Bacon Jerky. These dried pieces of smoky and crispy pork belly are literally just strips of bacon under the guise of jerky. The applewood flavor tasted more like apple pie to me, but the Sriracha and maple bacon jerky flavors were both absolute fire. This is a game-changing jerky product, folks, and you’re gonna want to hop on the bacon jerky train and experience it for yourself.

 

 

While Chef’s Cut may be my personal favorite premium jerky, I’d definitely check all four of these brands out, since they’re all good representatives of what a high-quality dried meat product should be like. Try one out for National Jerky Day, and you won’t be able to go back to gas station meat sticks again.

Categories
Features Packaged Food

This Is Exactly Why Beef Jerky Is So Freakin’ Expensive

Photo courtesy of Big John’s Beef Jerky Facebook page

Hardcore beef jerky fans know the struggle of wanting to eat it 24/7, but being held back by one major factor: price.

Sure, $5 here, $7 dollars there, might not seem like a big deal, but if you’re like me, you can down that bag of jerky within an hour and still want more. Then you look down at the the bottom of the bag and see that it’s about 3 ounces of jerky or less, and think, “Why are 3 ounces worth of food so expensive?”

The main reason jerky is so expensive is because it takes a lot more meat to make it than the 2.7 ounces we see.

Pennsylvania-based Big John’s Beef Jerky explained this on its site, as it is a commonly asked question:

The main reason is that all jerky is costly to make. Beef is about 60% water, so when it is dried most of the weight is evaporated. It takes about 2.5 Lbs of quality beef to make 1 Lb of jerky. Secondly, many jerky companies use expensive chemicals and preservatives when making their jerky, and they have a lot of waste just based on how they make it. We use minimal preservatives, especially in our Original and Fiery Hot flavors, and have a unique process that is much more efficient and reduces waste considerably. This saves you money. Finally, ordering directly from us “cuts out the middleman” and allows us to pass the savings directly to you.

So every pound of beef jerky produced, was originally about 2.5 pounds worth of beef.

The owner of Arizona-based Lawless Jerky touched on the subject in a 2014 Reddit thread, confirming Big John’s explanation, and adding that cost of labor, cost of beef, packaging, shipping, and even insurance for a production facility all come into play with that relatively high price tag on the shelf.

As owner of an all-natural, grass-fed jerky company, I can give you tons of reasons it’s so expensive… here’s a few:
1) Requires lots of labor 2) Often deals with lean beef, which is more expensive than pork, chicken, or even beef fat. 3) packaging can be quite expensive. And labels. 4) Insurance and rent at a USDA approved facility.
5) Time: it takes a couple days from start and finish of even a small-batch run. 6) Shrink: Since the beef is mostly water and since you’re dehydrating you lose 40-60% of the weight of the meat, further driving up the price. 7) Quality ingredients. For example we import crazy spices from all over the world and use top-quality all natural ingredients.
8) Shipping – getting all the ingredients to your facility and then shipping the jerky around the country is not cheap.

In that same thread, a Reddit user got a little more specific with the type of meat used for beef jerky, saying that jerky is usually made with rump roast, which can often go for about $5.99 a pound.

Photo courtesy of Lawless Jerky Facebook Page

“You buy a bag of jerky that’s around 7 bucks because it was once 7 bucks worth of meat and spices,” Reddit user cdb3492 said.

In the end, you’re basically getting what you pay for. The jerky process isn’t easy, and it’s usually with good quality meats.  You can taste that you’re eating something of good quality, too, or else we wouldn’t fork over those $7 so willingly.

You win, beef jerky. I’ll pay your outrageous fee.

Categories
Culture Humor Packaged Food

Beef Jerky Company Markets Itself As The ‘Ashley Madison’ For Vegans

Vegans who are considering cheating on themselves and their diets may have found a new ally.

Beef jerky subscription box company, Stick In A Box, has launched an advertising campaign in which it labels itself as “Ashley Madison” for vegans.

For those of you unfamiliar with the reference, Ashley Madison is an online dating service that married persons looking to “spice up their life a little” could find someone to cheat on their spouse with. Similarly, Stick In A Box aims to sell its jerky by telling vegans that it’s okay to cheat on their lifestyle and have a little jerky instead.

The company apparently came up with the idea a couple of years ago, and asked the internet whether it would work or not. While nobody replied to that particular response, Stick In A Box apparently decided to run with it anyway, and it has begun to generate some talk on the internet.

While it’s not totally clear as to whether this is a joke or not, Stick In A Box is starting to make a blip in the radar, as vegans and meat eaters alike have taken to the Internet with their responses to this campaign.

It’s enough to get people talking, that’s for sure, and in any marketing campaign, if you get people to talk about your product or business, that’s all that matters.

Plus, it’s pretty hilarious to see Stick In A Box tempt and troll vegans with their advertising.

Categories
Packaged Food What's New

Tender Wagyu Beef Jerky For $2 Helps Fulfill Your Ballin’ On A Budget Needs

epicjerkysnackstrips

Photos courtesy of Epic Provisions

When you hear the words “Wagyu Beef,” you know that you’ve just stepped into the realm of fancy meats. Wagyu, a breed of cattle originally from Japan that has made its way to the United States, is prized for its amazing quality and marbling, making it one of the most tender pieces of beef you’ll ever eat.

Usually, that beef comes at a high cost and is found at an elevated price point beyond that of normal beef. One company, however, is changing that and bringing Wagyu beef to the people — in jerky form.

EPIC, makers of wildly popular jerky snacks and meat bars, revealed a new line of “Jerky Snack Sticks” at the Winter Fancy Foods Show in San Francisco. This new line of Jerky Snack Strips features prime and high-end cuts of meat like 100% grass-fed American Wagyu beef and venison or 100% wild-caught salmon and turkey, but sells them at an extremely low price: $1.99.

The price of the jerky is pretty amazing compared to the size: a 0.8 oz strip of meat, whether it be in Wagyu, venison, turkey, or salmon form, sells for that low price point. Comparatively, a 0.98 oz giant Slim Jim is around $1-$1.30 in grocery stores, so you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck to get such a high quality jerky. Not only that, but these pieces of jerky are also incredibly healthy — at 6-8 grams of protein per stick, and sugar contents at a maximum of 4 grams for the entire stick.

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Honestly, I do feel a little bad describing EPIC’s Wagyu Beef Jerky to y’all as beef jerky. It’s not like any jerky you’ve ever had. I got to taste it at the Winter Fancy Foods Show, and it’s incredibly tender and flavorful, beyond that of any jerky I’ve ever tried. It’s not stringy, dry, or tough. Simply put, it’s just an amazing piece of beef.

Head on over to a Whole Foods near you and grab some of these bad boys, because these delicious Wagyu Beef jerky strips are probably the best bargain you’re gonna get in 2017.

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss News

This Drone Is Designed To Follow You Around With Beef Jerky

In 2014, TGI Fridays had a cute Christmas promotion that involved a drone flying around the restaurant, holding a mistletoe so guests can laugh, kiss, and be merry. That shit ended up bloody and dangerous, but drones have come a long way since that disaster.

Now we’re at a point where a drone can follow you around the house, conveniently holding food for you to eat.

Enter the JerkyBot, which was made by drone developer Andy Shen in a collab with Chef’s Cut Real Jerky. Shen created the bot so that it senses you and stays within arms reach, that way you can conveniently grab some jerky wherever you go.

As an illustration, almost-retired baseball player David Ortiz tested out the JerkyBot. Sure, Ortiz isn’t the best actor, and his lines sound forced, but once you get over that, it’s pretty funny watching him do everyday chores while having access to beef jerky right beside him.

The JerkyBot site has a section for updates and news, hopefully meaning this thing could actually go to market, and we can have our snacks follow us around.

Is this really the future of on-the-go snacking? Probably not, but we can dream about a day where we go Pokemon GO hunting without having to worry about where to put my burrito as I catch a Pikachu.

Categories
Packaged Food

Now You Can Buy Potato Chips Made Out of Beef Jerky

cherkee-2

They’re called “Cherkees.” Yes, really.

Designed to recreate the taste of beef jerky without the annoying, incessant chewing, Cherkees are a “hand crafted,” low fat and high-protein snack comprised of real bits of jerky and real bits of potato. They also kind of look like scabs. (… =/)

cherkee-1

We first discovered the odd little hybrid back in 2011, when they still resembled brown pieces of crispy seaweed. Now, three years later, they’re finally for sale online. Available in Cracked Pepper, Cayenne Pepper, Teriyaki, and Barbecue, the not-so-chippy chips are actually a bit thicker and more like tortilla chips than potato chips, according to Gizmodo, though we imagine they might also feel like extra crispy slices of pepperoni.

Order yours for about $6 a bag on snackinnovators.com. Or don’t. Because, you know. Scabs.

PicThx Gizmodo

Categories
Cravings

Uh, Someone Created Marijuana Beef Jerky

weed-beef-jerky

Just when we thought we had beef jerky all figured out, someone goes and perfects the perfect. A medical marijuana testing lab in California revealed their latest creation: Weed Beef Jerky. Named “Reef” Jerky (of course), the THC-infused snack makes a great alternative for pot heads growing weary of the standard edibles on the market.

Produced from Badfish, we have yet to see if this new item will actually make its way to dispensary shelves but we’re crossing our fingers for the best. ‘Til then, you can ponder the photo posted by Santa Cruz Labs below.

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

This is Why Beef Jerky is So Expensive

why-beef-jerky-is-expensive

You know the dilemma: You walk into a gas station and suddenly, you’re eye-fucking the beef jerky next to the sour gummy worms. Unfortunately, that $6.99 price tag for a 3 oz bag isn’t something you’re going to take lightly. 70 percent of the time, you end up walking away, grumbling and wondering why they charge so much for a tiny bag of dried up, mouth-watering meat.

Answer:

Jerky requires very lean cuts of meat (which is more expensive than pork or chicken), as fat causes the jerky to spoil faster. For example, a 30 g (approx. 1 oz) portion of meat contains 7 g of protein. When the meat is dehydrated, 15 g of water gets removed from the meat and the protein ratio doubles to 14 g of protein for every 30 g portion. This means that you can get a 1 lb slab of steak reduced to a few ounces. This high protein-per-serving ration, plus the labor, time, and (mostly) quality ingredients it takes to make a single bag of jerky leads to the high cost you see at the store.

Solution: Make your own beef jerky at home and experiment with spices tailored to your personal taste. That, or wait until it gets marked down at CVS.

H/T Wiki + Picthx Dried and True