We reviewed Kratos Beef Bars back in January 2013. At the time they offered three flavors, Acai Berry, Blueberry, and Spicy Pepper. They have also changed out the packaging, going with this new box design.
Based out of Tulsa, OK, Kratos Beef Bars are targeted to folks looking to maintain an active, healthy lifestyle. They are claimed to be gluten-free, paleo friendly, no added sugar, low sodium, no preservatives, no MSG, and 100% lean beef.
Beef, beef stock, sea salt, citric acid, celery juice, black pepper, red pepper, garlic, coriander, natural plant extract
The first thing I taste from the surface of these bars is a light meaty flavor, comparable to a beef stick or summer sausage. There's a light saltiness too.
The chewing brings in a noticeable tanginess with the meaty flavor becoming more defined as a peppery steak cooked well done. I can pick up the spices of black pepper and garlic, and can feel a light bit of the red pepper heat.
For being marketed as "Original", particularly in contrast to their Acai Berry and Spicy Pepper, I want to say that it's definitely different than the Acai Berry, but perhaps more spicy than their Spicy Pepper. Assuming the company hasn't modified their Spicy Pepper since I reviewed it nearly a year ago, this Original has just a touch more spice and about the same level of heat.
Otherwise, the flavor that seems to define this Original beef bar is the peppery steak flavor mixed with a tangy citrus character. Imagine a biting into a thin sliced steak cooked well done and sprinkled with black pepper, but getting the tanginess of citrus without the fruit flavor. Then add on top of that a light garlic and red pepper seasoning. That's largely the flavor. Celery juice naturally has a peppery character, and I think that blends well into the black pepper flavor, while the garlic creates some savory quality.
The ingredients all seem to mix really well into creating a palatable flavor. It has a nice tanginess to draw me in, but holds on to a peppery steak flavor. Compared to the Kratos' Spicy Pepper variety, the flavor of this Original seems to compete with the same namesake.
These bars are made of finely ground beef, pressed into shapes of about 4 inches in length.
It has a semi-moist chew with a lightly oily surface feel. It's easy to bite off chunks and chewing is very easy.
The chewing texture starts out stiff and chunky, but quickly renders down into ground meat. It's not at all like a beef stick or summer sausage, the meat doesn't coalesce into a single mass, but scatters throughout my mouth like tiny bits and granules. Compared to Kratos' other varieties, this Original seems less moist.
I didn't encounter any unchewable bits or hard fragments in the chewing. It's actually very meaty, not at all like many of the beef sticks or competitor fitness meat snacks.
In terms of clean eating, my fingers pick up a fair amount of oily residue, enough to lick and wipe my fingers before touching the keyboard.
Kratos sells these beef bars from their website at a price of $36.00 for a box of 12. Each bar is weighed at 1.2oz. That works out to a price of $2.50 per ounce.
Fitness snackers should find the $2.50 per ounce price to be a decent value for a meat-based energy snack that offers a steak-like flavor, a light tangy chew and moderate spiciness. Compared to similar fitness snacks sold in stores, it's priced about the same or less, yet offers a very competitive flavor.
Compared to jerky, for health and fitness purposes, it's still a better value. Even though jerky is typically priced lower, this Kratos Beef Bar makes the effort to be gluten-free, no added sugar, low calorie, low sodium, preservative free, and so on. Yet it also competes with some jerky brands on flavor.
This Original variety from Kratos Beef Bars actually offers a natural meat flavor that tastes like a peppery steak cooked well done. It adds a nice tangy chewing and some spiciness from a combination of black pepper and red pepper. Considering it's targeted to the fitness consumer, it actually tastes and chews better than its competitor meat-snacks.
The black pepper spice and light red pepper heat, however, also seems competitive to the company's Spicy Pepper variety. This Original seemed to give off the same level, or maybe a touch more, of black pepper flavor and bite, that Kratos could just as well market this as "Spicy Pepper" and I wouldn't know the difference.
Fitness buffs could eat a couple of these bars for breakfast and get 30g of metabolic-boosting protein with just 140 calories, no sugar, and still be ahead of their daily goal than with a cup of keifer or whey-protein shake.
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