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Product review: Krave Jerky

You know how when you buy a car, and then you notice your model of car everywhere on the road? Yeah, where am I going with this? Well, about a month ago I was perusing the cool and interesting food items at World Market, and on the little hooks in between shelves sat some beef jerky–called Krave. And I was struck immediately by the flavors–Chili Lime, and Sweet Chipotle. I must have this jerky, I thought. And so I did. I took it home and tried the chili lime first, and it was love at first bite. Not only was this jerky bursting with flavor and spice, it was extremely tender, the direction that many commercial jerky varieties seem to be going in–that is, away from chewy meat that takes an hour to chew, to a more tender, almost fresh type.

Anyway, the Sweet Chipotle kind of paled in comparison to the Chili Lime, which I inhaled almost in one sitting. Then I did what I do a lot of these days–I looked up Krave online, and contacted them to profess my undying love. And when I perused the site, I found out they have several cool flavors–including Basil Citrus and Orange Pineapple. But the cool thing is that they match the flavor profile to type of meat–so the Basil Citrus is for turkey jerky, as is Lemon Garlic. The other beef flavors are Garlic Chili Pepper (my new favorite that I am gnawing at like a caveman as I am writing this–tastes like beef teriyaki Chinese takeout) and Pineapple Orange. And their smoked teriyaki flavor uses pork as its canvas, and it’s also tender and delicious and one of my other faves.

Right now I have a big bag of Krave that I’m working through a little at a time, since my wife got me the 5-jerky sampler pack for Valentine’s Day, and the fine folks at Krave sent me the Pineapple Orange to try. I also keep finding Krave in stores–in Target, Walgreens and other places (back to my original point, you see). And if I see the Chili Lime, Chili Garlic or Smoked Teriyaki variety, I can’t walk past it without grabbing a bag. And so my bag O Krave is never empty.

My only complaint is that they got rid of the Curry flavor before I had a chance to try it. And when I went to order some of the Garlic Chili Pepper flavor yesterday, they were out of stock. Luckily I stopped at World Market yesterday and stocked up. But they also told me a new flavor is being developed–Black Cherry Barbecue. I love that this company is coming up with new, bold and interesting flavors and maybe rotating them out. And rotating is fine so long as I know I can stock up on my faves.

My point is, if you see Krave, buy it and eat it! You will Krave it just like I do now.

Mikey’s food resolutions for 2013

Happy New Year foodie friends! My first resolution is to post more regularly here. Beyond that, here are some of my food resolutions for 2013, and feel free to add yours in the comments or by e-mail to mikeyskitchen@gmail.com.

1. Create two new original recipes per month. Any of you that are creative types know that getting started is the most difficult part. But once you figure out your medium (meat/veggies/sauce/herbs/spices), the possibilities are endless.

2. Try four new foods I’ve never tried before. This one is tricky as I am not the kind of person who wants anything to do with foods like snails or even squid. But one new food item every three months? I think I can do that without having to try anything too far out of my comfort zone.

3. Make better use of a local specialty. In Wisconsin, that would be cheese. I have had some of the best cheddars of my life here in Madison, and yet there are so many other varieties. Maybe this will also go hand in hand with both #1 and #2.

4. Eat less junk and eat more healthy but tasty food. That means less packaged chips and crackers and more homemade beef jerky or celery with spicy hummus. It can be done.

5. Create a new column or two. The first idea I have is to re-create vintage food items that I can’t find or that no longer exist. The first of these–Buitoni’s toaster pizzas. I think I have written about these before, and I miss them dearly. But I think with some experimentation, even without an elaborate test kitchen, I can work on coming close to re-creation. Intrigued? So am I.

6. Figure out a better way to organize recipes. We have mountains of magazines and cookbooks, and it’s getting scary. I try and clip recipes, and toss magazines when I can, but it’s hard to keep up. But hey, it’s winter time in Madison, and that means it’s freaking cold outside and time for indoor projects. No excuses.

7. Watch more food TV. Not necessarily Food Network, but any of the other food related shows that are popping up on various channels. Or maybe just watch all of the episodes of Sandwich King and Best Thing I Ever Made or The Minimalist on DVR for a change.

Okay, that’s enough for now. Any more, and I won’t even try to keep said resolutions. Now let’s get cooking….

Worth the wait–beef jerky

Sometimes recipes look daunting. Or sometimes just the thought of making something delicious seems like it’s too much trouble. I subscribe to a great magazine called Clean Eating. Of course, I don’t eat as healthy as I should, or by the standards of this magazine all that much (if you read this blog, you know I have a soft spot for junk food)–but I do try to at the very least use it for some healthy habits and for some killer recipes. So last week my wife was reading the letters to the editor about how great their homemade beef jerky recipe was. I had missed that, so I dug it up from the January/February issue to see what the fuss was about.

And as you can see by the attached photo, it sure looked like a lot of work, and a bit complicated because you have to take out your oven racks, reposition them, hang the jerky from the racks on skewers, put foil down and use a towel to absorb moisture. You also have to freeze the meat to cut it easier, then marinate it for 3-6 hours before baking/dehydrating it for 5 hours or more. That’s a long day. So after buying a nice London broil on Saturday, I looked closer at the recipe and became scared. I didn’t want to spend all day Sunday doing this.

But on Monday I felt guilty and felt like I really should give it a go. I pulled out the recipe again in the morning, and fortunately I work from home. So I did it. I froze the meat for an hour, cut it, marinated for 3 hours, then did all the funky oven stuff (which was not difficult or time consuming as I had thought) and let the strips of deliciousness cook or dry out or whatever it does…for five hours. The result…..fantastic. Here I have homemade jerky that is tasty, spicy, just chewy enough, and with no ingredients I can’t pronounce. The only problem is that big batch from Monday is almost gone already. So it’s time to make more!

Note: I couldn’t find this recipe online, but I will reach out to the editor to see if they have one or a pdf…and if you’re interested in that, e-mail me at mikeyskitchen@gmail.com or message me on Facebook.

Perky Jerky in prime time

Last year, we reviewed a product called Perky Jerky on the Bullz-Eye blog and then this past January, the company sent us the new Turkey Perky Jerky which was reviewed here on Mikey’s Kitchen. So last night I was watching Rachel Maddow on MSNBC and as she was talking about the “Best New Thing in the World” and promo-ed it by saying that the best new thing was going to be caffeinated meat, I knew right away what she meant–Perky Jerky.

Since many of you probably began searching for this product after watching Rachel try to re-create it by stirring Red Bull with a Slim Jim, and then pouring Red Bull into a bowl of jerky like milk on cereal, I thought it might be appropriate to plug the product again. And it’s especially appropriate because Brian Levin, the founder of Perky Jerky, is running the NYC Marathon this weekend dressed up in a coat made of Perky Jerky packages. Now that’s marketing. But having Rachel pimping his product couldn’t have hurt either.

Anyway, go check this stuff out–it’s tasty and it works!

Product review: Turkey Perky Jerky

We reviewed the original version of Perky Jerky back in May on the Bullz-Eye Blog, and now they have a new version–Turkey Perky Jerky. Try saying that five times fast.

The concept of this jerky is an interesting one–caffeinated beef jerky. It’s like everything you love at a convenience store in a nifty little package–well, maybe minus the newspaper and one of those triangle packaged sandwiches for later. But I digress.

The great thing about Perky Jerky is that it’s all natural with no preservaties or nitrates. And just like the beef version, the turkey jerky has a strong soy/teriyaki flavor that is addictive enough even before you realize there is guarana (i.e. caffeine) in it. Yes, you have eaten jerky and now you are Cornholio.

Seriously though, the caffeine buzz is real enough to give you a bit of a lift in the afternoon, and the taste is just awesome. As far as the difference between turkey and beef–the turkey version is made with turkey breast meat, so it’s low in calories (50 per serving) and has 9 grams of protein and zero fat, while the beef has 90 calories, 11 grams of protein and 2 grams of fat. The difference in taste is not much different, but the difference in texture is noticeable. The turkey is much chewier and not as tender as the beef version, probably because of the lack of fat that well, you’re eating turkey breast instead of steak.

But guys, you just have to try this stuff…..it’s delicious, good for you, and literally uplifting.

For more info, go to www.perkyjerky.com

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