Tag Archives: grass fed

Belcampo

By now most of you who keep up with this blog or my Instagram account have seen some shit about Belcampo Meat Camp. Well, they have a restaurant in Hudson Yards and I finally got to try it out. Here’s how it breaks down:

Lamb “Bone Broth”

This stuff is spectacular. It almost tastes like an au jus or a gravy. Such deep, rich flavors with no gamey shit happening. This is also perfect for dipping bread, roast beef sandwiches, or whatever.

Eye Round Carpaccio

This is incredible. Probably my favorite carpaccio at the moment. It’s just so tender and flavorful. Hit it with some extra virgin olive oil and you’re all set.

Beef Tartare

This raw application is another winner. Excellent flavors, really great. If you prefer tartare to carpaccio, then get this.

Belcampo Burger

This was my favorite of the three burgers we tried. It has a slight aged flavor to it, but the cheese coverage, toppings and bun were all great to boot. In the pic above, it’s in front.

Lamb Burger

In the pic above, the lamb burger is in back. The move here is to take an occasional bite of this after dunking it into the lamb broth. Really tasty.

The Century Burger

This 100-day dry aged burger really brings the funk. It’s thick and meaty, and unabashed in it’s protein-forwardness.

Double Fast Burger

This is my favorite of all the burgers, and it is the most humble of them all. Two dry-aged patties, American cheese, and thinly sliced pickle on a potato bun. Absolutely awesome.

Rib Eyes

We tried both the boneless and cowboy rib eye steaks. Both were great, perfectly cooked, and came with aged funk to them. 8/10.

The “Porkerhouse”

The pork porterhouse was my favorite chop of the night. So tender, so juicy, and such a great fresh flavor to it. I can eat this regularly. I remember being very impressed with this at Meat Camp too.

Lamb Chops

These were awesome. Really nice rich red meat flavor with no game whatsoever. Perfectly cooked to medium rare.

Cookies & Cake

Wow. I didn’t except such deliciousness from such simplicity. The huge, warm, ooey-gooey chocolate chip cookies were my favorite of the two, but that chocolate cake was rich and moist.

Cocktails

I should also mention the great cocktails here. The duck fat washed rye drink called Midnight Cruiser was killer, with orange oil and bitters.

But the barrel rested Copalli rum cocktail called Out Past Curfew stole the show. Rum, bourbon, sherry, creme de cacao, cocoa nib vermouth and toasted pecan bitters.

Definitely give this place a shot. Everything was delicious and I can’t wait to go back.

BELCAMPO
500 West 33rd St
4th Floor
New York, NY 10001

Belcampo Meat Camp

I recently went to Belcampo Farms’Meat Camp,” up near Mt. Shasta in Gazelle, northern California.

Over the course of a few days, some Instagram pals and I were able to get a sense of their operations, how they raise their animals and how delicious their proteins are.

The camp itself was pretty awesome. Home base was a nicely appointed “glamping” style tent that can sleep two, outfitted with extremely comfortable beds.

I was more comfortable here than I was in the hotel that I stayed at in San Francisco prior to the drive up. There are nice modern bathrooms with hot water showers near the tents too, so you’re not roughing it in some outhouse or washing up in a lake.

Here’s the event barn and main lawn, where most of the action took place:

Okay so let’s get down to business:

Belcampo Meat Co. is a 100% grass fed and grass finished organic beef producer. They also raise lamb, pork, chickens and turkeys, but they run about 3200 head of cattle total, including their cows, calves and bulls.

The animals are generally about 24 to 30 months old when they reach market weight, after which they go off to Belcampo’s processing plant in nearby Yreka. Most of their beef grades out at USDA choice or select in terms of marbling. However since intramuscular fat (marbling) isn’t a priority for Belcampo in the way that it is for traditional beef producers, the grading almost doesn’t matter.

This was the best tasting grass finished beef I’ve ever had. Truly outstanding!

As you can imagine, at a place called “Meat Camp” your daily scheduled activities are pretty awesome if you’re a raging carnivore like me.

We broke down a beef forequarter, which included the chuck and rib sections.

We also broke down a lamb shoulder, pork shortloins/t-bones, and chickens.

We portioned out chops for grilling, as well as ground up various meats for burgers and sausages.

Yes, we ate LOTS of it.

We even made sausage and tasted several of their incredibly delicious cured meat products with a charcuterie and wine pairing lesson. I think these bites were my favorites of the entire trip!

One of the many impressive things up at Belcampo is the fire wagon, which they use to develop embers and natural charcoal for cooking on their Argentinian style grills, their huge cauldron, and their “Asado Crucifix,” (all of which are made by NorCal Ovenworks).

 

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At breakfast on the last morning, everything was lit and ready to rock. The versatility and creativity of cooking with open flame was on full display for all to witness.

 

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Another fun lesson was about how they make their “bone broth” and sauce bases, like ragu and soffrito.

When we weren’t cooking, eating or butchering, we toured their farms, fields, and animal paddocks, which consists of about 5,000 acres of grasses and alfalfa.

We also visited the farrowing barn where newly born piglets were nursing from sows.

Just nine months later those babies are pushing 500-600lbs from eating a mixture of pasture, grains, acorns and nuts on the farm.

We saw their chicken train cars and barns, with the animals truly “free range” feeding on bugs, seeds and grasses.

I even got to see their turkeys along the road when I was out for a morning run.

Belcampo goes above and beyond to make their animals comfortable, and they exhibit the utmost respect for the environment. The farm is run like a family, and the love and care they give to their animals translates directly into a high quality product at the end of the animals’ lifecycles.

I think my biggest takeaway – and by far the most important one – is that not all grass-finished beef is the same. I had it in my head that I wasn’t a huge fan of the taste of grass-finished beef, but Belcampo’s product is truly amazing. They definitely changed my mind on that, but their other proteins and products are outstanding as well – especially that charcuterie!

This was a really great experience, and I’m looking forward to going back in the future for their advanced camps and specialty camps. If you can’t book a trip and get out to meat camp, you should still hit Hudson Yards in NYC to try the new Belcampo restaurant there. I know I’ll be going often!

Karv Meals

I recently got paid $500 to try out this new protein and meal delivery service called Karv Meals. My duties were to (1) post an unboxing video on Instagram with some messaging and tags; (2) post a photo on Instagram with the same; and (3) provide the company with four high rez photos of the products for them to use as they see fit. How could I say no? I’m still going to be honest, so why not?

Anyway, they sent me a SHIT TON of food. Here’s the unboxing video:

“I couldn’t believe how much meat they fit into my little tiny box!” Take that line however you want…

But here is the listing of what they sent, in case you didn’t catch it all in the video:

A few of my favorites from the pics I took are below: pork chops, as well as beef pinwheels.

My wife cooked up the pork chops in a classic lemongrass flavored Vietnamese preparation, with sliced veggies, herbs and pickled items on a bed of vermicelli noodles.

I defrosted the shaved steak and made steak sandwiches out of them, with American cheese, onions and poblano peppers on onion rolls…

Overall I am very happy with this experience. It was easy money, and an honest review is that I liked the quality of the meats I tried so far. Give this service a shot if you are on the lookout for something new.

Grass Roots

GIVEAWAY ALERT!!! Read on to get all the details!

Grass Roots represents a nice, new and refreshing take on custom delivery meat boxes. They’re a farmers cooperative – meaning they’re a group of small, local, family-run farms who have pooled their products together in a sort of “virtual farmers market,” so to speak, where they sell their proteins. I know, I know… My more avid and beef-educated readers are pounding their fists into their desks in protest, shouting “but Johnny, you told us already that 97% of the 619,000 beef farms in this country are small, family owned operations with an average of 50 head of cattle!” True!

But here’s how Grass Roots is different: They’ve set themselves up as a very niche virtual farmers market, catering to the increasing market demand for grass-fed beef, pastured chicken and turkey, and forested pork. I only tried their beef (with the exception of the jowl bacon and deli ham), so I’ll speak directly to that for a moment.

While all beef is technically “grass-fed” (which can be a confusing turn of phrase), all of Grass Roots’ beef is 100% grass-FINISHED as well. That means no grains are in their diet. They also state on their website that their beef is GMO free, which would make sense, since no grass contains GMO that I know of. Grass Roots cattle are also never given antibiotics or growth hormones. One interesting thing I noticed is that when you order their ground beef, it is sourced from a single animal.

So Grass Roots contacted me and asked if I’d feature their products in exchange for a $100 credit to make my own box. I accepted! Here’s what I ordered:

Everything arrived vacuum sealed and frozen, packed in a really nice box that even contained a tote bag and some dry ice.

Here’s everything nicely labeled for you:

My order went over the $100 credit by about $12 or so, but I figured it was worth it to try everything that looked interesting to me. The first thing I cooked was their jowl bacon.

I loved it. It had a nice texture and a great flavor. Naturally, it went well with a cheeseburger.

But I did preserve the jowl fat for a later date, and even used some to fry up the onions for the top of the burger.

Waste nothing!

I threw the jowl bacon on some hot dogs too. Amazing. I split griddled them in some of that jowl fat first, as you might’ve imagined.

“Garnished with jowl bacon.”

I used some of that jowl fat to cook up a pair of their steaks too – a strip and a rib eye. I have to say, I was really impressed with the quality. If healthy, grass-finished lean beef is what you’re after, then this is definitely the place to get it.

I simply seasoned with salt and pepper, and seared these babies off in a pan with fresh garlic and rosemary.

Since the beef is lean and grass-finished, it cooks faster than usual, and you can go safely under, to somewhere between rare and medium rare.

I ate this with some wasabi, and it was perfect. I’m really looking forward to trying their sirloin, roasts, ribs, skirt and shanks. It’ll give me good reason to use my new Instant Pot.

Okay so the GIVEAWAY! Well, the giveaway is over now, but you can use code NEWYOU50 to get $50 off your first box!!!

And feel free to jump out to my Instagram post, like the photo, tag a friend in the comments, and follow both me and @GrassRootsCoop on Instagram!

Chimichurri Grill (East)

NOTE: THIS PLACE IS CLOSED

I was invited to Chimichurri Grill East by the restaurant’s PR specialist to try a special five course tasting menu (with wine pairings and dessert), and to write a review. Let me get right to it!

The restaurant is an elegant, modern and fine dining Argentinian steak house. This is somewhat of a rarity here in the city, as most Argentinian places that I know are more on the pub atmosphere end, and don’t serve actual Argentinian proteins. Argentinian beef is something that people clamor for, so it’s good to know that this place serves the real deal.

Moreover, Chef Carlos Darquea uses family recipes to create the dishes he loves and grew up with. Everything is authentic and from the heart.

His wife Alicia is the wine director, and together they own a sister restaurant, called Chimichurri Grill West (a theater district mainstay for nearly 20 years), which serves the exact same menu but in a different atmosphere.

Here’s what we had:

Course 1: Sweetbreads (Heart)

This was really nice. These veal heart sweetbreads are sliced and grilled, served with a red pepper, parsley and garlic sauce, and featured on a slice of crispy purple potato. Very pretty and delicious. This was similar to something like foie gras.

Note: this is a smaller portion than what is served if you order from the menu.

Course 2: Beef Tongue Stew

I really loved this warm, hearty and delicious dish. It was reminiscent of homemade beef barley soup. The tongue was diced into small cubes and braised to tender perfection.

Note: this is a smaller portion than what is served if you order from the menu.

Course 3: Grilled Romaine Salad

The feta, buttermilk and dill dressing makes for a nice creamy compliment with the grilled greens. And the crispy bacon lardon is just perfect.

Note: this is a smaller portion than what is served if you order from the menu.

We had a scoop of homemade passion fruit sorbet to cleanse the palate. Very nice!

Course 4: Pasta with Seafood

This house made pasta is served with a chardonnay and basil sauce that gets added to a roux and the various seafood juices that Chef Carlos extracts from the seafood used to make the dish; clams, calamari, prawns, mussels and halibut.

Note: this is a smaller portion than what is served if you order from the menu.

Course 5: Grass Fed Argentinian Rib Eye

This was great. It’s wet aged for 32 days as it travels from Argentina to the US. Chef Carlos finishes this Black Angus steak directly on wood charcoal to develop a great crust on the outside of the meat. It’s even plated with some charcoal, and when you pop the rosemary on top, it smokes and gives off a great aroma.

It was cooked to a perfect medium rare. It had a huge outer cap and a lean eye, likely due to the grass fed nature of the beef.

You’re in for a really nice bite when you combine the caramelized vidalia onions and sauces that come to the table with this dish.

The steak (which was a full sized portion, FYI) also came with French fries. These were perfectly crisp and deliciously seasoned.

Dessert: Dulce de Leche Creme Brulee

Wow. What a great dessert! So flavorful, smooth and unexpected. A great Latin twist on the classic French custard.

That about covers it! I really can’t wait to go back and try some more cuts of steak. The menu here is new/fresh, exciting, and completely outside the box.

They even have nice happy hour specials from 4-8pm, and a great express lunch menu for all you midtown power lunchers. Get on it!

UPDATE: 12/22/17

On a subsequent visit, I tried a few more delectable items.

La Suprema Burger

Veal sweet breads and caramelized onions on top of a 6oz grass finished filet patty. Very nice. The sweetbreads almost act like a cheese, adding that creaminess and fat content to the lean beef.

Clams with Chorizo

Perfection. Just order these and you’ll thank me later.

Bife Con Fritas

Strip steak, perfectly cooked, with those delicious fries. Can’t go wrong with this bad boy. I liked this better than the rib eye, and at just $42 for 12oz, you’re saving some cash in the process.

Special Off Menu Bone-In Rib Eye

Similar to the boneless cut I tried during the multi-course tasting, this lean rib eye backed a great flavor with a robust char from the on-coals cooking process.

CHIMICHURRI GRILL EAST
133 E 61st St
New York, NY 10065

Grass v. Grain

All cattle are grass fed. The difference is how they’re “finished” before they go off to be slaughtered into burgers and steaks. “Grass-finished” means they continue to eat grass until the day they die. “Grain-finished” means they get a mix of grains to fatten them up quicker before they are consumed. This “finishing” period lasts a few months, from what I understand.

Typically, a farm or feed yard won’t send an animal off to slaughter until it reaches a certain weight, that way the producer can pull the most value out of the animal. More pounds = more money.

As you might guess, it takes much longer for an animal to get big enough to go to market if it eats nothing but grass. Thus, the grass-finished animal that you see at the market or butcher was older and leaner when it was slaughtered. Older animals produce a darker red meat color in the muscle, with much less marbling within. This can lead to a more tough end product.

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Grain finishing allows the fattening process to happen faster, which means the consumer is eating a younger animal. Don’t get all weepy-eyed about the ages of the animals either. Grain-finished animals aren’t babies; they’re 1400 pounds! Besides, eating older animals means you are generally eating tougher meat, potentially from an animal that may have been exposed to more illnesses during it’s lifetime. So young is good. And since grain imparts more fat, the meat is generally more tender and has more marbling. That translates directly into flavor for the consumer.

Depending on what you’re looking for from your beef, you’ll have to decide if grain-finished is your thing, or if you prefer grass-finished. Some people who are concerned about fat content (the difference isn’t huge, by the way), or who like some game flavor, may lean towards grass-finished beef. If you’re like me, however, flavor and tenderness rule the day. That means you should avoid grass-finished and stick to grain.

I find grass-finished beef more difficult to cook properly (it cooks faster). Also, the small difference in fat content isn’t going to stop you from being a fat fuck if you are an over-eater who doesn’t exercise or eat a balanced diet.

Grass-finished animals produce meat which also contains more Omega fatty acids Conjugated Lineolic Acid (CLA). This has been linked to long term weight management, and is thought to have health benefits that help combat a host of diseases, including cancer and heart disease. You just have to be careful with some of the research here, as many proponents of the grass-fed trend are very quick to bash anything that has to do with grain feeding without having the full picture. While I generally don’t particularly fancy the flavor of grass fed beef, the nutritional benefit of CLA is something to consider, and it just further strengthens the argument for consuming beef.

One caveat to this Omega business: The difference in content between grass and grain -finished beef isn’t really big enough to justify excluding grain-finished beef from your diet. If Omegas are what you’re after, maybe work some salmon into your diet, as that seems to contain more. But don’t forget to eat that yummy and nutritious beef either!

One final tip I’ll give is this: If you’re cooking or ordering a grass-finished steak, cook it or order it one temperature step less than you normally prefer, to preserve some nicer texture. If you typically order medium rare, then go with rare.

Walbridge Farm Tour

My wife found this awesome series of “Meat Your Beef” / “Farm to Fork” tours that the New York Beef Council (@newyorkbeefcouncil) hosts at various local farms in the area. The national outfit is known by the popular moniker: “Beef; It’s What’s for Dinner,” with the accompanying website as well. I sometimes link to their butchery videos here, actually. It is an extremely helpful organization!

So the closest farm tour to NYC that they set up was in Millbrook, at a place called Walbridge Farm (@walbridgefarmmarket). Millbrook is a rural community in the heart of the Hudson Valley, just about two hours north of NYC. Walbridge Farm is an Angus beef farm.

The best part about this, aside from the wealth of knowledge we come away with, is the fact that these tours are completely FREE and we were even treated to a steak lunch. I was sold on “free beef farm tour,” but “free steak” was icing on the cake. We immediately RSVP’d and rented a car for the day, and Jeff from Foodmento and his wife Victoria came with us.

So we pulled off the Taconic to a nice country road that was dotted with awesome creepy and abandoned structures. I have a soft spot for these in my photography, so I snapped a bunch of shots. We were about 30 minutes early for the tour anyway.

First was this banged up looking shed at a Mobil station:

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Then we spotted this monster of a mansion along the north side of the road. Upon further examination, we learned that it was the Halcyon House. Once a luxury hotel, it was later transformed into the Bennett School for Girls, a boarding school and college. Unfortunately it has since been abandoned and has fallen into a severe state of disrepair. It is slated for demolition at any time, as the land was split into eight parcels and sold off.

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This ragged looking Walking Dead structure is, I believe, an annex to the school property.

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So we pulled up to Walbridge Farm and took in the grounds:

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A few minutes later the tour began and the farm manager, Doug Giles, took us around to explain what happens at each structure on the farm.

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The first thing we did was to “meet the meat.”

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Walbridge is a sustainable Registered Black Angus farm. Their pasture raised Angus is grass fed and then grain finished. Their diet consists of corn, sunflower meal and hay – all grown on Walbridge Farm’s 900 acres plus the additional 700 acres that they lease and farm nearby. The large blue silos you see here store all that food.

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They don’t spray the fields with pesticides or insecticides, and their soils and water are tested yearly. That means the meat is pesticide free and non–GMO grain finished. In addition, their crops are rotated in order to care for the nutrients in the soils, and the cattle are moved throughout their fields in order to preserve the pastures.

Doug then showed us how they monitor and control the cattle, in the event they have to tag them, inseminate them for calving, treat them for illness or get them ready to ship elsewhere.

In this barn, they can get corralled and directed into a single-file chute, where the animal can’t move away or hurt itself while being inspected or treated with vaccinations.

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This beauty was off to a county fair to win some prizes.

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An animal specialist from SUNY Cobleskill, Assistant Professor Lynn Geoffroy, spoke next about antibiotics, animal nutrition and how animals are treated for illness.

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If an animal is treated with antibiotics, by law the farm must wait a minimum of 28 days before it can be sent off and slaughtered for consumption. That’s how long it takes for the antibiotic to work its way out of the animal’s system. Vitamin hormones and ionophores are given to some cattle to aid in digestion and to prevent illness. These supplements are safe in terms of later human consumption, as they get completely metabolized by the animals. As such the ionophores are not as heavily regulated and don’t require rigorous documentation and paperwork like the use of antibiotics does.

After the tour we had a few minutes to ourselves before lunch. We visited a trio of friendly goats, and checked out the farm stand store.

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Walbridge also has over a hundred free-range egg-laying hens that eat an organic feed. Further, ten beehives are located throughout the acreage. Rich Honey Farm collects the honey harvest. Walbridge also works with Snowy Pass Farm to tap all of the maple trees on the property for syrup production. That’s total sustainability, and taking advantage of everything the land has to offer.

We sat down at our lunch table to a nice pile of swag for us to take home. Inside the oven mitt/pot holder was a plethora of info about beef, including recipes and even a knife sharpener.

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And something that immediately interested me: a chart for taste testing notes and a scale for ranking various meat characteristics.

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We sampled two meats, both were NY strip loin cuts. Jean O’Toole from the Beef Council didn’t tell us what we were looking for at first. She just asked which we liked better: A or B.

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I preferred A. It was more tender, flavorful and juicy. Based on those characteristics, and that the texture of B was a bit more grainy and tough, I was guessing that A was grain-finished and B was grass-finished. It turns out I was correct (thank God – would have felt like an asshole if I didn’t get that right). Selection A was exactly the kind of beef that Walbridge produces: Certified Angus and grain-finished. Here are my notes from before the reveal:

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After Jean announced the reveal, she passed around a plate of the steaks to show the difference in appearance and marbling between the two steaks.

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Grass finished animals are generally older when they go to slaughter, as it takes longer for those animals to pack on the fat and weight in order to get to a marketable production age. Grain finished animals fatten up faster and can go to market sooner. Older animals have darker red muscle flesh. So the left piece is grass-finished and the right piece is grain finished.

We also sampled some of this delicious cold-pressed sunflower oil by Hudson Valley. This stuff is actually made from the same sunflower seeds that the cows eventually eat at Walbridge Farm.

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No chemicals are used when creating the oil, and the flavor is incredibly rich as a result of the more natural process. It even has a higher smoking point than olive oil, so better for certain types of frying. We actually picked up a bottle from the farm store. $15.

With that, we had all wet our appetites for a full lunch. Very simple and delicious: grilled strip loin, veggies, fruit and a cookie for dessert. I was a happy man.

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After lunch we were treated to a few lectures and presentations. The first was by nutritionist Cindy Phillips from the New York Beef Council. We learned about the differences in fat content between various types of beef produced from various types of feed finishing and farming techniques. She also discussed the many benefits from a diet that includes beef, dispelling many misconceptions in popular culture about beef being somehow bad for you.

The next presentation was about GMOs. Cornell Professor Dr. Margaret Smith gave a very unbiased and truthful look at the history of plant and animal selective breeding and the introduction of modern genetics into that field. While there is a lot of bad press on the subject of late, and lots of unknowns, many GMO products are completely benign. The industry shows great potential for helping farmers overcome the massive challenges they face in their business relating to crop/product yields, longevity and quality, as well as pest and weed control. However we did learn, essentially, that we are still learning a lot in this field of study, and that tests must be performed and caution must be taken each step of the way.

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We also heard from SUNY Cobleskill Assistant Professor Dr. Jason Evans about the economics of the cattle industry. Growing up on a farm, he was able to discuss, with personal experience, the various hurdles and challenges within the field. With his educational background in economics, he also discussed possible ways that the industry can improve operations, going forward, given certain cycles and trends that he monitors.

The whole experience was very eye opening and informative. It dispelled many myths that you see floating around, and provided us with a lot of information to take away, with which we could continue researching and learning.

WALBRIDGE FARM MARKET
538 Route 343
Millbrook, NY 12545

Lawless Jerky

Attorney Matt Tolnick created Lawless Jerky and got the fuck out of the lawyering game. God bless him, and good for him. I’m trying to do the same (though not with jerky, of course), so I know how real that struggle can be.

Anyway this stuff is essentially craft beef jerky, all natural, no preservatives, no nitrates/nitrites, and with real flavors that are different from all the rest of the slimy, waxy, over-processed shit you’re seeing out there today at gas stations and in supermarket check-out aisles around the country. You can actually pronounce the list of ingredients, like onion powder and paprika. No chemical garbage. And all the jerky is made from 100% grass-fed beef, so it’s lean, and only 80-85 calories per serving, depending on the flavor. That’s great for weight-conscious guys like me, and it comes in re-sealable ziplock style packages, so you can lock in the freshness if you don’t devour the entire bag at once.

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How did I hear about this shit? A buddy of mine told me about this stuff and dropped a coupon code on me so I could try a bunch at a good price. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that this code was reserved for military personnel only, shipping only to legit military addresses. I felt like a big, fat dick when the good people at Lawless Jerky contacted me, asking for my bona fides to make sure I was legit military. I’m not. And I’m glad to see that these guys are actually checking up on things to make sure the sanctity of that coupon code only applies to our brave soldiers who sacrifice every day for our pathetic asses. Good on you, Lawless Jerky! And I apologize for the mix-up.

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The gents quickly and painlessly refunded me, but also sent along a sampling of jerky to me anyway, free of charge. I was shocked! I was totally ready and willing to pay full price, as I had heard great things and the flavor descriptions are very enticing.

What are these flavors, you ask?

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Japanese Curry; Pho; Sweet Sriracha; Aloha Teriyaki; Honey Chipotle; and Mango Habanero. HOLY FUCK! How can you try one and not any of the others?!?? I will eat pho flavored shit if served to me on a nice plate… maybe… But seriously, just reading these flavors caused a hair-raising, salivary gland-squeezing, teeth watering (yes… teeth watering) crave to sweep over my entire gustatory system. I needed these things in my gut at once.

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So what’s my verdict? My holding, my decision, if you will? AWESOME! Get these fucking things ASAP. Every single flavor has something special about it that you will want to have again and again. But here’s a breakdown of the specifics of each flavor, incase you’re a big throbbing pussy and you don’t want to go in for the full sampler pack:

Japanese Curry: This definitely tasted exactly like you would expect. I was actually hoping for MORE of that characteristic curry flavor, but I was happy to see the beef shine through as the star of the show. Actually, I think this flavor would be really great on something like chicken or turkey jerky as well. I wonder if the guys at Lawless are thinking about getting into the non-beef stuff as well?

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Pho: All of the right ingredients for pho are represented here in the jerky: cilantro, lime, anise, and other aromatics that you get with a delicious bowl of Vietnamese beef soup. This was a very tasty bag, but not my favorite of the six (which I had expected it to be). The great thing about this flavor is that you can really taste that meaty flavor. Like pho, this jerky is all about the meat itself as opposed to the coating of flavor.

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Sweet Sriracha: Candidate for best flavor of the group, this was the right balance of sweet and spicy together, with a generous coating of flavoring on each piece of beef in the bag. And with the meteoric rise in popularity of Sriracha sauce, this baby should catch on as a big money maker for Lawless. Well played!

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Aloha Teriyaki: This was nice because it had sesame seeds sprinkled on the beef. The flavoring was more of a glaze, as you might expect, as opposed to the dry seasonings on the Sweet Sriracha and Japanese Curry flavors. But it wasn’t wet like some Asian flavored jerky is. This is a comfortable and easy to eat jerky. A definite pleaser for all fans of jerky.

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Honey Chipotle: This was my least favorite of the bunch, but that doesn’t mean it was bad by any means. I really enjoyed it. I think, for me, this simply was the most “safe” or “common” flavor of the group, aside from maybe the Aloha Teriyaki flavor. As such, I wasn’t as excited about it, but I still kept reaching in for more. This, like Aloha Teriyaki, is a crowd pleaser as well. Easily scarfed down at parties or while making a long cross country drive.

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Mango Habanero: This was very close to being my favorite. It’s neck and neck with the Sweet Sriracha for me, but my wife gave this one her choice for favorite. It, too, has the right balance of sweet and spicy. Really nice. There’s something magical about this flavor combination. I even love it at Buffalo Wild Wings. Ha!

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So there you have it. I think these would even be good with dipping sauces that you can make at home to match the flavors listed on the bag. So good. Be a man and get them all, and tell your military pals about the deal. I think they’re still offering some deals for active military. Check out their Twitter page for updates and other deals.