Product Review: Evolve Foods Protein Bar, Beef Jerky, and Beef Sticks
What Is Beef Jerky?
Beef jerky is a type of meat product made from cattle or other animals which have been treated with various chemicals such as antibiotics. These products are usually sold in small strips called “sticks” (see picture) that are cut into pieces. They may contain ground up animal parts such as bones, brains, blood vessels etc. The strips are often coated with salt and spices to make them taste better.
The main ingredient in these strips is lean, finely chopped beef muscle tissue. Other ingredients include salt, sugar, soybean oil, and sometimes other substances such as gelatin or carrageenan. The meat strips are then wrapped in a thin layer of fat and dried before being packaged in paper bags.
How Does Beef Jerky Taste?
These strips of beef tend to be very salty and have a strong flavor. Some brands are marketed as “beef jerky,” but they do not actually come from actual cows; rather they are made from pork or chicken muscle tissues. They may also contain additives like MSG or artificial flavors. If you’re looking for something that tastes just like real beef jerky, look elsewhere!
Why Should You Avoid Beef Jerky?
Most of the beef jerky found in supermarkets or convenience stores are extremely high in sodium and low in nutritional value. Not only that, but they can also be extremely high in fat and calories. For example, one ounce (28 grams) of Jack Link’s Original Beef Jerky contains 36% of your daily value of sodium, but only 4% of your daily value of protein. It also contains 14 grams of fat and 160 calories for that same 28 gram serving!
This is a problem because real beef jerky should be high in protein, low in carbs, and contain almost no fat. If you have high blood pressure, eating too much store-bought beef jerky can cause your blood pressure to spike. High blood pressure can lead to heart disease and other serious conditions. Overweight people should also avoid these products because they’re very high in calories.
Making Your Own Jerky Is Common Sense, But…
Making your own jerky at home is pretty easy to do and will allow you to make it exactly how you like it!
You can also control the amount of sodium in the recipe, which allows you to make jerky that’s perfect for people with hypertension or other medical conditions that may be exacerbated by a high salt intake.
That being said, it’s not always easy to find the right equipment or get the right ingredients. Specialized items like food dehydrators can be hard to find at your local supermarket, and they also cost more than your average kitchen appliance.
If you have the time, money, and motivation to make your own jerky at home, feel free to do a search online for different food dehydrator models and jerky recipes. If you don’t have the time or money but still want to make your own delicious jerky, check out the product review below.
4.5 Customer Rating
Pinnacle Prairie Beef Jerky
Size: 4 Ounce Bag
Ingredients: Beef, Seasoning 4.4 Customer Rating
Jack Link’s Lean Beef Jerky Regular, Hot & Teriyaki Flavor Pack
Flavor: All Three Varieties
Size: 2.1 Ounce Pouches (3 Pouches)
Ingredients: Beef, Sugar, Salt, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Sodium Nitrite, Soy Sauce (Wheat, Soybeans, Salt), Maltodextrin, Corn Starch, less than 2% of: Dextrose, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Spice, Corn Syrup Solids, Lemon Juice Solids, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Sodium Phosphates, Red 40 Lake and Citric Acid 4.9 Customer Rating
Terra ‘Muscle up!’ Beef Jerky – Sweet and Spicy
Flavor: Sweet and Spicy
Size: 3.25 Ounce Bag
Ingredients: Beef, Seasoning 4.4 Customer Rating
Lem Agen Bros Beef Strips 6.5 oz Bag
Flavor: No Added Flavoring
Size: 6.5 Ounce Bag
Ingredients: Beef 4.2 Customer Rating
Cowboy Jerky – Farm Raised Beef Strips – All Natural No Sugar -Gluten Free
Size: 3.5 Ounce Bag
Ingredients: Beef, Sea Salt, Spices 4.4 Customer Rating
Jack Link’s Beef Jerky – Teriyaki – 2.1 Ounce Pouches (Pack of 6)
Size: 2.1 Ounce Pouches
Ingredients: Beef, Sugar, Salt, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Sodium Nitrite, Soy Sauce (Wheat, Soybeans, Salt), Maltodextrin, Corn Starch, less than 2% of: Dextrose, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Spice, Corn Syrup Solids, Lemon Juice Solids, and Autolyzed Yeast Extract
With all of the different types of foods and recipes out there for making your jerky, its hard to know the exact ingredients in each one. Ingredients are important factors to consider while you shop, so make sure you read the labels if you want to know what is going into your food!
Reasons You Should Buy Beef Jerky
Rich in Protein – A serving of beef jerky will provide you with 8 grams of protein. That’s about 16% of your daily recommended intake in just one ounce of beef jerky! Low in Carbs but Rich in Fat – One of the best things about jerky is that it contains no carbs, but it is high in fat. Per one ounce serving, beef jerky has around half a gram of carbohydrates and 2 grams of fat. If you’re looking to increase your fat intake without affecting your carbohydrate intake, try some low carb beef jerky!
It’s Convenient – There is no preparation necessary and no cleanup. With most varieties, you just open the bag and start eating! This makes it an ideal snack to keep in your car or in your desk at work.
How to Buy the Best Beef Jerky
Always Purchase Fresh Jerky – The best way to find good jerky is to buy it fresh. Don’t buy packages that have been sitting on the shelves for too long. You can usually find jerky that has been sitting on the shelves for more than a month, as many shops won’t bother to remove outdated products.
If you have to, you can buy jerky that has been sitting around a while, but be prepared to possibly stomach some gnarly taste surprises. Always Check the Packaging – If the packaging is damaged, if the seal is broken or any of the foil is torn, just put it back on the shelf. You don’t know how long its been open and exposed to air (which causes jerky to become dry and unappetizing).
If you can’t finish the bag yourself, put it in a zip lock bag and freeze it so it will last longer. Always Buy the Best Quality You Can Afford – While this won’t always guarantee that it is fresh, buying the highest quality is a good way to ensure that you get the best tasting beef jerky.
The higher quality the beef, the more tender and better tasting the jerky will be. You can always freeze any leftovers in an airtight bag to preserve freshness and taste.
It’s That Simple!
Now that you know everything about this popular treat, it’s time to buy your own supply and start enjoying some of the many varieties of jerky out there! With all of these different options at your fingertips, it’s time to get started!
Sources & references used in this article:
Protein and lipid oxidations in jerky chicken and consequences on sensory quality by FAP Silva, M Estévez, VCS Ferreira, SA Silva… – LWT, 2018 – Elsevier
Snack foods processing by EW Lusas, LW Rooney – 2001 – books.google.com
Quality evaluation of chile‐flavored, jerky‐type extruded products from meat and potato flour by LH Mckee, EE Ray, M Remmenga… – Journal of food …, 1995 – Wiley Online Library
Meat Bars: A Survey To Assess Consumer Familiarity and Preparation Parameters and a Challenge Study To Quantify Viability of Shiga Toxin–Producing Escherichia … by JB Luchansky, M Mayhew, Y Jung… – Journal of food …, 2019 – meridian.allenpress.com
Product Development Considerations for a Nutrient Rich Bar Using Cricket (Acheta domesticus) Protein by A Zhong – 2017 – search.proquest.com