So, you’re at Whole Foods, when you notice something odd in the energy bar section. There, among the Luna-this and protein-that, is a bison, a shaggy, noble, grass-fed bison on the package of something that at first glance appears to be jerky. Only it’s not jerky. It’s Epic. You know a handful of journalists who are willing to eat almost anything so you buy it. $2.99.
Actually you buy two: Epic’s Bison Bacon Cranberry Bar and Beef Habanero Cherry Bar. Yes, they are bars—gluten-/dairy-/soy-/nitrate-free bars made with grass-fed, organic, hormone- and antibiotic-free meat, along with nuts and dried fruit. They also come in turkey (with almond and cranberry) and lamb (with currant and mint), and apparently, they contain everything that’s good for you and nothing that’s bad. They were created by a pair of serious athletes. And the packaging is pretty cool, too.
But should you eat these meat bars? Only if off-putting textures don’t put you off.
Our panel of expert tasters (aka hungry Weekly journalists on deadline) found Epic’s epic snacks had plenty of flavor, but we couldn’t get past the dissonance of eating steak in bar form. One staffer described the beef bar as “dissolving meat sand in your mouth,” thanks to its odd moistness and the chunks of walnut and dried cherry. Another compared it to a Beggin’ Strip. Everyone preferred the bison version with bacon and cranberry that lent the bar a smoky, tangy note that actually kind of worked. The “soft-sausage texture” was an improvement, too, but more than anything, it made us just want a bag of beef jerky—grass-fed, of course.