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Epic bars: Do they live up to their name?

Grace Kerfoot

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Food columnist Grace Kerfoot reviews Epic meat bars to see if they make the grade. Photo credit: Grace Kerfoot

Most snack bars are a fine line away from being considered candy. However, Epic bars are an exception.

Instead of containing sugar, rolled oats and isolated protein powder, Epic bars are made of meat, berries and a dash of spice. Who knew you could eat meat between meals?

As college students — and regular snackers — Epic bars offer a savory solution to the cloyingly sweet granola bar. They boast high-quality fats and proteins to keep your primal hunger at bay.

But do they also deliver epic flavor?

To answer this question, I decided to try a few.

Epic bars come in a variety of animal options: turkey, bison, beef, lamb and liver (yes, liver) and can be found at Chico Natural Foods Cooperative. I grabbed the turkey bar, the bison bar and — just for the hell of it — the lamb.

Admittedly, I did feel like a paleo junkie as I dumped my meaty, gluten-free loot onto the checkout counter, but the cashier didn’t say a word. Maybe everyone buys them?

Eight dollars later, I was ready to give these bars a go.

Visually, Epic bars are not much to look at. Their size is measly in comparison to their impressive packaging, although that’s nothing new to anyone who buys bagged chips. They also have a striking visual resemblance to dog treats.

However, upon opening the vacuum-sealed package, each bar elicits a savory smell reminiscent of jerky or barbecue. A gentle reminder that they are, in fact, people food.

Here’s how the taste test went:

Turkey + cranberry + almond

I wanted to love this bar, but it left me disappointed. With a combo like turkey and cranberry, I was expecting a mouthful of Thanksgiving but was delivered a taste of a somewhat glorified Slim Jim. Despite the never-ending obstacles of almond chunks, the bar was dry, uneventful and not worth a recommendation.

Score: 2/5

Bison + cranberry + bacon

This bar was the best. The texture was neither too dry nor too greasy, and the flavor blend of smoky, salty bacon and tart cranberries was pure gold. Let’s give a high-five to the person who just made bacon an appropriate part of snack time.

Score: 5/5

Lamb + currants + mint

Knowing lamb’s distinct potency, I saved this bar for last. The mint and lamb combo yields an intense mouthful that is well balanced by the currants. It’s just like you would imagine a lamb dinner to taste — only condensed into about five bites. Somehow this bar worked, and I would certainly try it again.

Score: 4/5

Overall

Obviously, Epic bars aren’t for everyone. But if you are looking for something nutritious, filling and savory, I’d say give them a go — and definitely try the bison. At $2.49 a bar, they do fall on the pricier end of the snack bar spectrum. Just keep in mind you’re paying for high-quality ingredients instead of a sugar crash down the road.

Grace Kerfoot can be reached at [email protected] or @gracekerf on Twitter.

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Epic bars: Do they live up to their name?