Thursday, May 19, 2011
Organic, Grass-Fed, Gluten-free Beef Snacks
When we were new to the gluten-free lifestyle and weren't familiar with the array of gluten-free products available for snacking, one constant source of frustration - especially for my husband - was the lack of gluten-free meat snacks. Jerky, in particular.
I wasn't a huge fan of meat snacks - they served their purpose and gave some quick protein and sodium for certain occasions. I did, however, find myself craving them a little more after going gluten-free - most likely because they weren't readily available.
If you pick up a package of most jerky and other processed meat snacks and look at the ingredients label, you will more often than not find ingredients such as "soy sauce" that has in parentheses "wheat" following close behind. You may even see that certain snacks have a form of "wheat protein" listed. Even the brands with ingredients that look okay are questionable unless they state "gluten-free" on the package. It's rare.
But, on those rare occasions I do know a meat snack is gluten-free, I'm probably going to buy some - especially when we are going to be traveling. My husband enjoys them. The kids enjoy them. And sometimes I enjoy them, too.
In many of these snacks you are also going to see a lot of ingredients you may not be familiar with. Preservatives. Flavorings (both natural and artificial). Colorings.
That's another reason why I haven't cared too much for meat snacks. They are often filled with ingredients that are bad for you. And many times they also have parts of meat I don't care to eat. You won't know it from reading the label, but yes, they are often in there.
When I eat meat, I want it to as close to nature as God intended. I don't want it processed - or if it must be, I want it minimally processed. I don't want a bunch of artificial things added to it. I don't want meat with antibiotics, steroids and hormones. I want meat that has been truly grass-fed, pasture-fed, free-range, you name it - free to eat what it was intended to eat and no genetically-modified feed, either. I don't want it caged, injected and boosted, or bulked up at the end of life. I'm willing to pay extra to buy meat with those qualities, and we don't eat meat quite as often anymore because of it.
I didn't know until recently that grass-fed isn't always 100% grass-fed. Unless it states that or says it was finished "grass-fed," it could have been switched to grains at the end of life to fatten up more.
That's why when Rod from Rocky Mountain Organic Meats recently contacted me and asked if I'd like to try some of their meat snacks, I said yes. I'm glad I did!
Rod sent us a sampling of their Organic Honey Beef Jerky, Organic Honey Pepper Beef Jerky, Organic Beef Sticks, Organic Sliced Pastrami and Organic Beef Hot Dogs.
Each and every one of the products was delicious. Let me repeat that. Delicious. Each one.
My personal favorite was the jerky.
This jerky is beyond good. The right touch of seasonings, no preservatives. Not too tough and the right amount of chewy. And the sweetness of honey, but not overwhelming. This is good stuff, my friends.
The honey pepper jerky was a little too spicy for my girls. They ate it and liked it, but they preferred the regular honey jerky, which has a touch of pepper. That was their favorite. Just right. Me? I loved both of the jerky flavors, and so did my husband.
My husband's personal favorite were the beef sticks. These are really good, as well. Great flavor, the right amount of "crunch" as you bite through the casing and a great texture overall.
The pastrami was great - I've never eaten much pastrami but this was really good - and the hot dogs delicious.
I'll pause for a moment here and admit that yes, I do like hot dogs. When I buy hot dogs for my family, I get kosher beef hot dogs. I try not to buy them too often, however, because I don't care to eat nitrites and the thought of the amount of processing bothers me, even in kosher beef ones. I've tried other nitrite-free organic hot dogs before but they really didn't taste that great to me. Yes. I like hot dogs. I like them with ketchup and cheese and even chili. Yum.
These Rocky Mountain hot dogs met my criteria for a delicious hot dog, with a bonus: They are actually longer than the bun! And these are hot dogs that tasted great without preservatives and overly processing. They don't have nitrites and only a minimal amount of delicious seasonings. I can feed these hot dogs to my family without feeling twinges of regret.
I will be ordering more of these beef snacks for my family, as well as trying out some of the other products Rocky Mountain has to offer. They have a wide range of products including steaks, ground beef, roasts, lamb and even soup bones and pet snacks. I'll also keep them in mind for gifts. Their prices are pretty comparable to other organic, grass-fed meat products I've seen on the market and you can always go in on an order with other people to split shipping costs.
I'm looking forward to eating more of that jerky!
(Disclosure: Rocky Mountain Organic Meats provided these products for me to sample free of charge. The opinions on the meat products are completely my own.)