A trend has started that I wasn't really aware of. Both various types of meat jerky (usually beef, but sometimes others) and granola-type, fruit/grain/nut bars have been popular for quite a while, and will presumably continue to be. But, some folks have evidently been clamoring for a combination of the two. Something that contains the high protein of animal flesh with the carbs of a grain, constrained in a convenient, easy to carry and eat bar. These meat energy bars are avidly consumed by both athletes and paleo dieters (see December 13, 2015 post for more information on this phenomenon).
While shopping at the sublime Wegman's supermarket recently, I came upon some of these. Alas, I was only able to get meat bars from one company--Epic, out of Texas. Fortunately, though, at least they had several varieties--I ended up with four different kinds. I had somewhat mixed feelings buying these, On the one hand, my preferred breakfast and lunch while at work in the field is some kind of granola/cereal/fruit bar--they require no preparation, no utensils or plates, and are so portable I can stick them in a pocket and carry them around with ease. On the other hand, I'm not a huge fan of preserved, jerkied, meats. Some are okay, but many aren't. Quite often they remind me unpleasantly of chewing on shoe leather which has had a ton of pepper dumped on it. (One notable exception is Perky Jerky, which is made from turkey (and now a new beef variant that I haven't tried yet) and is somehow still enjoyably moist and not overly chewy.)
Anyway, here's what I thought. All of these Epic bars were 1.5 ounces (43 grams), and were billed as being 100% natural, whatever meat that was used. Also gluten-free. I'm using the usual U.S. scholastic system of rating--"A" for excellent, "B" for good, "C" for average, "D" for unsatisfactory but barely passing, "F" for failing, with pluses and minuses as necessary.
Epic turkey/almond/cranberry bar. 150 calories, 6 g. fat, 14 g. protein, some calcium and iron: B. Looks like a granola bar made out of meat. Wet, greasy texture. Mostly taste the turkey flavor, with lumps (the cranberries?) noticeable too. Good.
Epic beef/habanero/cherry bar. 190 calories, 11 g. fat, 13 g. protein, some "B" vitamins: B-. Darker in color than turkey kind. Not as tasty. Despite having hot peppers, wasn't that spicy. Still pretty good, though.
Epic bison/bacon/cranberry bar. 200 calories, 12 g. fat, 11 g. protein, some iron and "B" vitamins: B+. More of a sweeter taste (from the cranberries, presumably), which works for it somehow. Perhaps the bacon is improving the flavor, too.
Epic chicken/sriracha bar. 100 calories, 4 g. fat, 15 g. protein, some calcium, iron, Vitamin B-12: A. My favorite of the bunch--pleasant but not too much spice bite, chicken really nice. Also the one with the lowest calories and fat yet highest protein of the four types.
So, as you can see, I rather liked these. Even the worst one was still pretty decent. If you like jerky in general, you'll probably enjoy these as well. One down side--they're pretty expensive, being $3-4 per bar. But aside from that I do recommend them.
Switching topics, the Horror Writers Association, to which I've belonged for nearly a year, is holding a Halloween-themed blog event during all of October. It's called Halloween Haunts, and consists of a special blog post every day of the month. As with the Coffin Blog Hops I participated in from 2012-14, these posts will include information about the author's creative works, and will have some contests where readers can win books, etc. One of my posts might be appearing on it (they haven't announced the full lineup yet). I'll provide more detail in a few day. Stay tuned.