Jerk That Perks

Perky Jerky

Perky Jerky

I Paid: $4.99 for 2 ounces of jerky (prices may vary by region)

Taste: 4 stars

Marketing: 4 stars

Finally: a beef jerky equally at home in the wilderness or at the club. At first glance the guarana-laced, beef Perky Jerky seems to be pretty much a dance-party thing. Its shiny silver-foil-and-flames packaging screams “urban,” as does the caffeine-via-guarana claim to be “invigorating.” Inasmuch as the maker of Perky Jerky was trying to sell the public on the notion of club-ready caffeinated jerky, the packaging seems to be spot-on. The stuff is sold at Sports Authority stores from coast to coast.

Does it, well, perk? The product boasts about 150 milligrams of caffeine, which makes it roughly equivalent to a strong cup of coffee. Sure, I felt invigorated after eating a couple ounces of the stuff. Not necessarily “rave till dawn” invigorated, but “stay awake for the entire afternoon” invigorated, certainly.

The jerky itself is reasonably tasty: It has a strong beefy, brown sugar kick, is salty but not overly so, and is reasonably chewy, if a bit too moist. The inclusion of a packet of desiccant among the jerky bits is a little scary—make sure you chew your Perky Jerky at a deliberate pace lest you desiccate yourself into a coma. Ultimately, if you’re ever in a situation where you can’t just have a cup of coffee along with your beef jerky (hanging out in the deer stand, perhaps?), Perky Jerky seems to be your go-to product.

James Norton edits the Upper Midwestern food journal Heavy Table. He's also the coauthor of a book on Wisconsin's master cheesemakers. Follow Chowhound on Twitter, and become a fan on Facebook.

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