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The Best Jerky

Jerky is the obvious trail food. It’s energy dense and doesn’t require any preparation. High in protein and fat, it should be low in carbohydrates, especially for those of us with diabetes who need to control our blood glucose levels. But all the brands I’ve found in the stores are too heavy on the carbs.

Now, however, we can get low carb beef jerky online from a non-profit group making paleo-diet designed snack packs. The proceeds go to programs helping kids maintain fitness. Thanks to my corespondent Cheryl for turning me on to this great resource.

The group is Steve’s Club in the desperately poor city of Camden, New Jersey. Steve Liberati says that he started Steve’s Club to be “an athletic fitness club geared towards young boys and girls who aspire to greatness.”

Steve’s Club calls its jerky “Paleokits.” Professor Loren Cordain of the department of health and exercise science at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, made paleo a household word — at least a dining room one — with his books, The Paleo Diet and The Paleo Diet for Athletes. So when my correspondent told me about Paleokits, I assumed they were low carb and knew they were worth exploring.

Indeed, the Paleokits — composed of beef jerky and mixed with raw macadamia nuts, raw almonds, raw pecans, dried cranberries, and dried strawberries on the bottom of each bag as a tasty desert — can make a low-carb meal on the trail or on the road. Each small Paleokit has 14 grams of protein, 15 grams of fat, and 9 grams of carbohydrate (of which 4.5 grams is fiber) for a total of 227 calories.

They make their Paleokits from free-range flank steak. Then, they marinate it with a “secret recipe” of sea salt, pepper, paprika, garlic, and spices.

The Paleokits have a shelf-life of at least five weeks. Still, I store mine in the refrigerator.

Jerky is meat cut in strips and dried in the sun. Some people call it jerked meat instead. The term comes to us from Spanish, which in turn comes from Quechua, the most widely spoken language family of the original inhabitants of the Americas.

You can readily find jerky made from beef, turkey, and soy in many food stores. But jerky can come from just about any lean meat, including alligator, bison, deer, elk, fish, and ostrich. Like Paleokits, most jerky comes from lean cuts of beef, such as flank, round, and sirloin tip.

Paleokits are a quality product and aren’t cheap. Each small Paleokit is $3 plus shipping. But they are so healthy — and good tasting — that I have already placed my second order.

This article is based on an earlier version of my article published by HealthCentral.

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  • Tom at

    I like German “Landjaeger” better than jerky for hiking. They are heavily smoked and don’t need refrigeration. If you live near a German deli, try some.