Posts Tagged ‘Beef jerky’
I like jerky. I’m always in the hunt for new brands to find the ideal one for my personal taste. I like them beefy, smokey, slightly salty, and chewable. My favorite is one of the national snacks of South Africa, which I reviewed, and you can order online. I like that product as it is actual strips of beef muscle, instead of a processed product.
A few years ago, I made a trek to the factory outlet store for Jack Link‘s, in a small Wisconsin town near where I was brought up.And some top chefs in Chicago came up with their own brand which is very tasty.
Well, “West Coast” friends of mine have been crowing about Krave brand jerky for some time. “The best ever,” “unbelievable.” Krave was started by Jon Sebastiani, of the wine dynasty, who rapidly ramped it up to a $35 million annual company before flipping it quite early in its life to Hershey for $220 mil.
Legend has it (and the website) that Sebastiani and some athletic type friends that there was a hole in the market for this type of snack, and targeted to the work out crowd. (Not me, exercise for me is jogging my memory).
Krave touts their gourmet and natural ingredients. I chose the original variety ($3.99 at WalMart, same price as competitors), and the ingredients include: Beef, Cane Sugar, Gluten Free Soy Sauce (Water, Soybeans, Salt, Alcohol), Honey, Contains 2% or Less of the Following: Sea Salt, Granulated Garlic, Onion Powder, Paprika, Spices.
Long and short. I didn’t care for it. Although well within its expiration date, it was hard as a rock. Not sure if that is intentional or not, but it doesn’t appeal to me. Secondly, it contains cane sugar (why?) which really boosts the carb count, which I guess is good for marathoners, but not for diabetics and weight watchers. Low carb meat snacks are standard fare for the latter in many cases.
Krave has different flavors, and you can order online for about twice the price that I saw in stores. This may be your dream jerky. As for me, it motivated me to have making jerky at home for this weekend. I used to get great home-made jerky from a dear friend, who eventually went crazy and quit making it.
I’ve got beef strips in marinade here at the burger house. In 24 hours, I’ll start drying it. I’m excited.
Krave Jerky is manufactured at a company in Kentucky called Louisville Processing & Cold Storage. Picture of that facility below.
Krave Jerky Review
“Think Jerky,” a Chicago start-up is doing just that, with flavors like Ginger-Orange and Sweet Chipotle Beef Jerky, and Siracha and “Thanksgiving” Turkey Jerky.
The brainchild of Michelin star chefs Laurent Gras, Gale Gand, and sustainability expert Chef Matt Troost, “Think Jerky” is out to change the way the industry and consumers perceive this traditionally tasty, but sometimes not so healthy protein snack.
Here is the chef/owner’s tick list for ingredients and sourcing:
- Grass Fed
- Free Range
- Paleo Friendly
- Family Farmed
- Gluten Free
- No Nitrates
- No Added Antibiotics
- No Added Hormones
Herbs and spices are substituted for the salt and chemicals employed by many large meat snack companies.
Packages of “protein snacks” and drinks are all the rage these days, but Think Jerky heads the list for quality ingredients and healthy nutrition.
The snacks are high in protein, lower in sodium,sugar and carbs as evidence by the nutritional contents of the Ginger Orange package I received.
There are a lot of reasons to enjoy the Ginger-Orange jerky. As you’ll note from the pic below, ThinkJerky uses whole muscle meat – this isn’t a chopped, pressed, formed or extruded product from a mystery meat slurry like a lot of meat snacks.
You’ll immediately like this because it’s less salty than mass marketed competitors, due to using tamari instead of regular soy. Tamari is a thicker, fermented, less salty soy, and ThinkJerky uses a gluten-free one, an additional benefit! (And no fake smoke flavor!)
The citrus flavor is there as a nice undercurrent and the ginger is more pronounced; it almost reminds me of South African meat snacks like biltong, which relies heavily on flavors like coriander and nutmeg. In other words, with ThinkJerky you get your meat snack fix on while enjoying some very refreshing flavor combinations. It’s a winner! Chef Gand came up with this flavor, and there is a short video of her talking about her thoughts on putting it together.
Oh, and by the way? You can help “Think Jerky” get to market a lot faster, and be one of the first to receive the product by participating in their Kickstarter campaign, now in full swing.
The product will be on shelves near you sometime this fall! (Samples were provided by Think Jerky).
Think Jerky Review
We used to drive down US 53 out of Superior Wisconsin for winter family ski trips to Telemark resort, or some jaunts to various Wisconsin lakes. At the time, Minong, about 30 miles south, was a one horse town with a car dealer, grocery, gas station, and a small butcher shop and cattle pen called “Link Brothers”.
Today Jack Link, still headquartered in Minong, is undisputeably the world champion for jerky and related snacks. I’ve traveled all over the world and seldom see a place where Jack Link’s products are missing from the shelf.
I like ‘em.
So imagine my delight when I saw the billboard for the “factory outlet store”, which can be found inside the town’s only grocery. You’ll be in jerky and beefstick heaven, and save a bundle to boot. Too bad Mrs. Burgerdogboy wasn’t along, except for she would have dropped a small fortune here and been in a jerky comma the rest of the trip! She do love herself some jerky!
I scored these two, 2 pound bags of beef stick bits for $5.
If you don’t anticipate driving through Northern Wisconsin this year, the store does ship, and here’s the dope on that. You can order Jack Link products from other sources, and get some of my favorite jerky type product, Biltong, from South Africa.
More than a hundred years ago, Chris Link started cranking out snacks and jerky for the lumberjacks of Northern Wisconsin. Link settled in the tiny burg of Minong (pop. 531) , and today, from those humble beginnings, Jack Link’s has become arguably the largest meat snack company in the free world. I became a fan when they rolled out their “steak strips” as an alternative to both jerky and sticks. It’s one of the few beef snack products I know of that feels and tastes like actual beef.
Jack Link’s is a force to be reckoned with worldwide, these days, and they have plants around the globe.
The Big Stick I purchased today, in Portland, OR, was made in New Glarus, WI, according to the USDA stamp on the package.
What, never heard of New Glarus? You’re missing out, it’s America’s “Little Switzerland“, and is a great place to visit. Gorge yourself on fondue and other dairy products, while swilling down some local brews. Top it off with local divine pastries. You might want to hit there for the annual Swiss independence day celebration in the summer!
But I digress. The Sasquatch Beef stick is pretty tasty, and weighs in at 2.2 ounces for less than $1.80. While I like both Slim Jim products and even 7-Eleven in-house beef sticks, Jack Link’s will remain my favorite, as beautiful downtown Minong is within spitting distance of my own hometown.