Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Chef Craig's Beef Jerky - Original


chef craigs jerky
One the newest jerky brands on the market is Chef Craig's Beef Jerky. A product of CJM Products, it's based out of West Kingston, RI.

It's the idea of Craig Mitchell, who a few years ago, had sent me samples of his own homemade jerky, with the intent of launching a business someday. Mitchell received his Culinary Arts degree from Johnson & Wales University, and has been cooking professionally since 1978.

As of this review, the only flavor Chef Craig's offers is this Original.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Lucky Brand Jerky - Peppered

lucky brand jerky
Lucky Brand Jerky is a new brand of jerky, but has a long history. It's the product of Nebraska Star Beef, a family owned business that has been producing premium beef, along with beef jerky, for over 100 years.

Recently, the company changed the way it raises cattle, returning to its roots on herdsmanship, grass-fed, without antibiotics and growth hormones, and allowing their animals roam freely. Their jerky is made with no MSG, no sodium nitrite, and no artificial ingredients.

This Peppered Beef Jerky is part of their "Slab Style" line. The company claims to make it the "old fashioned way", using thick slices of marbled Angus beef which is then seasoned and marinated. The line also includes Teriyaki, Original, and Red Pepper.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Just How Natural is Your “All-Natural” Beef Jerky?

by Matt Tolnick

For decades, beef jerky was a niche snack that had a small but dedicated cult following. Regardless of the brand, the flavors of mass-marketed jerky were unimaginative and limited. With an artisanal food movement sweeping America (in conjunction with the entrenched craft beer movement), beef jerky has been reimagined.

No longer is beef jerky dry, tough, and reserved for road tripping or camping. Jerky is increasingly appealing to active, health-conscious types looking for an all-natural, low-calorie, low-carb snack. For the modest calorie count in a serving of beef jerky (100 calories or fewer), there’s a fair amount of chewing, which is satisfying. And the high protein content (typically 10-12 grams per ounce) helps build muscle and keeps us full. Contrary to popular belief, jerky is not a male dominated snack; 45% of our company’s online consumers are women.

Recently, even some of the most mass-market jerky companies have begun to remove some of the more objectionable “ingredients” long found in their products, such as nitrites, preservatives, MSG, and high fructose corn syrup.

Having removed the aforementioned ingredients, many jerky companies now claim to offer “all-natural” jerky. By its own admission, the FDA’s definition of “natural” fails to consider the unnatural processes by which whole foods are created. And since most beef in America is unnaturally fattened “on feedlots eating a concentrated mix of corn, soy, grains, and other supplements, plus hormones and antibiotics”, many jerky companies are deceiving consumers. Since the predominant ingredient in their jerky is, of course, beef, these “all-natural” claims are particularly concerning.

Many well-meaning consumers who want to avoid unnatural food products are willing to seek out and pay a premium for “all-natural” beef jerky. But in most of these “all-natural” jerky products, the primary ingredient is beef raised in the most unnatural of ways. Like humans, cows are what they eat. And when we eat cows artificially plumped on an unnatural diet of genetically modified grains, antibiotics, and steroids, they lose many of the benefits typical of naturally raised cows. If your “all-natural” jerky doesn’t also say “100% grass-fed,” your jerky is anything but “all-natural.”

For a variety of reasons elucidated by the NRDC, 100% grass-fed beef is better than conventional beef. It’s better for the environment, more humane for the animal during its life, and it’s far healthier than grain-fed beef. At big food corporations, there is a desire to create highly marketable foods that are tasty and cheap. Taking the time and expense to offer truly healthy food products is considered risky because many consumers are deterred by the higher prices of higher quality, cleaner foods. With America’s increasing wealth gap, this is a valid concern and may be sound, shrewd business strategy. But by profiteering on the “all-natural” language, despite offering beef jerky with beef that’s raised unnaturally, the American public is being misled.

As Americans, we love negative externalities, pushing off the costs of our choices onto the system, onto our future selves, and onto future generations...all so we can save a few bucks in the present. Public policy should discourage this behavior. Instead, we should create a system where the standards for “all-natural” actually consider the processes by which our food (and particularly our meat) is grown.

Matt Tolnick is the Founder and CEO of Lawless Jerky®, a 100% grass-fed beef jerky company specializing in all-natural and gluten-free flavors. Creating jerky in internationally inspired flavors like Mango Habanero, Honey Chipotle, Japanese Curry, and more, Lawless Jerky is the only brand endorsed by the Humane Society for its efforts in sustainability and humane treatment of animals.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Lucky Brand Jerky - Teriyaki

lucky brand jerky
Lucky Brand Jerky is a new brand of jerky, but has a long history. It's the product of Nebraska Star Beef, a family owned business that has been producing premium beef, along with beef jerky, for over 100 years.

Recently, the company changed the way it raises cattle, returning to its roots on herdsmanship, grass-fed, without antibiotics and growth hormones, and allowing their animals roam freely. Their jerky is made with no MSG and no sodium nitrite.

This Teriyaki Beef Jerky is part of their "Slab Style" line. The company claims to make it the "old fashioned way", using thick slices of marbled Angus beef which is then seasoned and marinated. The line also includes Teriyaki, Peppered, and Red Pepper.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Crazy Horse Beef Jerky - Steak House

crazy horse beef jerky
It's been nearly a year since I published my reviews of Crazy Horse Beef Jerky (Original, Sweet, and Cajun). And since that time, the owners of Crazy Horse have told me that sales have been great.

Along with that, customers have asked them to launch new flavors, and so towards that request, they've launched this new "Steak House" variety. Dave and Cara Wenrich, the owners of Crazy Horse, claim to love steak sauce and felt it would add a great flavor to their jerky.

Based in Hellam, PA, Dave started making this brand of jerky based on a old family recipe that he got from his father, who received the recipe from his father, who received it from his father...

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Crazy Horse Jerky - Chicken Mesquite Bar-B-Q

crazy horse chicken jerky
Crazy Horse Jerky has a new flavor out called, "Chicken Mesquite Bar-B-Q".

It's their real wood smoked chicken jerky with a barbecue sauce glaze and mesquite flavoring added. They claim it to have a "nice spicy, not too sweet flavor."

Crazy Horse Beef Jerky is a brand made by Dave & Cara Wenrich of Hellam, PA. They're jerky is based on an old family recipe that Dave got from his father, who handed it down from his father, and his father. It's smoked using maple, oak, and fruit woods.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Lucky Brand Jerky - Original

lucky brand jerky
Lucky Brand Jerky is a new brand of jerky, but has a long history. It's the product of Nebraska Star Beef, a family owned business that has been producing premium beef, along with beef jerky, for over 100 years.

Recently, the company changed the way it raises cattle, returning to its roots on herdsmanship, grass-fed, without antibiotics and growth hormones, and allowing their animals roam freely. Their jerky is made with no MSG, no sodium nitrite, and no artificial ingredients.

This Original Beef Jerky is part of their "Slab Style" line. The company claims to make it the "old fashioned way", using thick slices of marbled Angus beef which is then seasoned and marinated. The line also includes Teriyaki, Peppered, and Red Pepper.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

People's Choice Beef Jerky - Old Fashioned

peoples choice beef jerky
People's Choice Beef Jerky is a brand of Peoples Sausage Company, Inc. based out of Los Angeles, CA. It's a family-run business that's been around since 1929. See our previous reviews of their jerky.

Recently the company relaunched its Old Fashioned line of jerky using an old recipe that hadn't been packaged before, and based on our previous reviews, it looks to be a different cut of meat as well. The relaunched Old Fashioned line is meant to be simple, preservative free, gluten-free, and to highlight the natural meat flavor.

The two varieties in this line are Original and Hot & Spicy.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Bayou Blend - File Gumbo

Bayou Blend Meat Snacks is a brand of beef jerky based out of Napoleonville, LA. The company was started by Milton Hock in January 2013.

Hock had been making jerky for some 20 years before launching Bayou Blend. He started the business after seeing an opportunity to offer meat snacks with more unique cajun-style flavor than competing brands.

This File Gumbo is described on the package as, "Creole Blend Beef Jerky".

Sunday, September 28, 2014

People's Choice Beef Jerky - Sriracha

peoples choice beef jerky
People's Choice Beef Jerky is a brand of Peoples Sausage Company, Inc. based out of Los Angeles, CA. It's a family-run business that's been around since 1929. See our previous reviews of their jerky.

Recently the company went through a relaunch by introducing a new line of jerky called, "Tasting Kitchen", representing a testing ground for new flavor ideas. The first of this line is this Sriracha Beef Jerky.

The company also relaunched their Old Fashioned Line, which we'll be covering in the next weeks.