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Savoury "Protein Bars"

I need to get a fair amount of protein intake throughout the day. I can process around, roughly, 25 grams of protein at a time, which means if I eat more than that at a sitting, I'm mostly wasting the protein over that amount. So I try to increase my protein intake throughout the day with smaller snacks. I need to get in around 106 grams of protein a day, and my husband needs to get in around 158 grams per day.

So we've been trying protein bars, but my major complaint about them is that the ones I've found, they're all sweet. I don't want sweet that often during the day. I want savoury. So the conversation went like this:

Me: I'm tired of all the sweet protein bars, so I'm thinking of looking for ones that are savoury
Him: You mean like chicken flavoured or something?
Me: or something like that
Him: Wouldn't that just be, oh, meat?

My husband is nothing if not sensible. The issue is stability and spoilage, mainly. Beef jerky is, generally, too tough for us, hard on our stomachs (we had surgery) and hard to process, so I'm looking for something softer. We were brainstorming and thinking maybe strips of meat, slightly thicker than jerky, that I smoke using my smoker. Then I can use my food saver to make packets of them, and even store some in the freezer to make them last longer.

So that's what I'm looking for. Ideas for sorta.. well, I guess preserved meats that aren't quite as dry and hard as jerky, and recipes for that. Anyone have any thoughts on that? :)

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  1. This made me think of the freeze-dried liver treats we buy for my dog. Might sound gross but they are super light, keep forever, and are supposed to be super-nutritious. (Though watch out if you are trying to avoid cholesterol...) They crumble into pieces so I know toughness would not be an issue.

    Note: I'm not suggesting necessarily eating the actual dog treats themselves, but rather finding a way to replicate this same processing technique, on liver and other meats to see if it would work. :-)

    1 Reply
    1. re: anachemia

      Won't do for my husband, he hates liver. And I love liver, but only occasionally. As a daily thing it'd be too much. :) Good thought though! Thanks!

    2. Clif has new mojo bars which come is slightly more savory/salty flavors with salted peanuts/pretzel sticks embedded in them which may help you as you fine tune your homemade protein ideas.

      Maybe if you make homemade smoked turkey breast (or chicken/fish/beef) and slice thin like deli meat and then foodsaver those, it would last at least a few days in the fridge but i'm not sure if you wanted something that needs constant refrigeration.

      i can't help with jerky type ideas as I have no clue what is needed to properly store cooked meat but I'd imagine smoking alone wouldn't work as it would still need to be preserved like dehydrating jerky preserves it, so unless you are making some homemade charcuterie you would still need to freeze/cook everything.

      I recommend doing a little researching on weightlifting websites to see what they eat for various snacks. They need lots of protein and usually eat 6-8 times per day, so they might give you some ideas of what they eat that you can tinker with for your palate.

      1. Back in the day when SO and I were backpackers, we would buy these compressed meat bars at the camping supply stores. They were made by Armour or one of the other packers and contained an enormous amount of meat in a small 3" x 1" x 1" bar. It was more the kind of thing that tastes better outdoors, but definitely meat.

        1 Reply
        1. re: mnosyne

          I'll check out our camping supply sites and shops. :) Thanks!

        2. Are you concerned about the amount of fat you're consuming?

          If not, then try peanut butter on whole-grain, high protein bread, or even on a bagel.

          High protein, rye bread: http://www.pema.de/xist4c/web/RYE-BRE...

          3 Replies
          1. re: ipsedixit

            Fat content does matter, it can cause uhm.. some unpleasant digestion side effects if we have a lot at a sitting. We do eat peanut butter, though, and that's a good one. :) I even have some sitting here next to me at work. I'll encourage my husband to eat a little more of that.

            I also add whey protein to my morning yogurt (have to have yogurt every day), and that helps. too. :) Good thought on the high protein bread, I'll look into that. I have a bread maker, and I was looking for more ways to use it creatively. ;D

            1. re: Morganna

              This isn't about meat, but since you mentioned that you have to have yogurt everyday: I saw this today and am sort of excited about it.

              http://www.fixmeasnack.com/2010/08/yo...

              1. re: darklyglimmer

                OH that's awesome, thanks!

                I've actually turned to nonfat Greek yogurt (which has WAY more protein in it), and I've done my own flavoring in it. I made tzatziki and my own vanilla yogurt with real vanilla and splenda. It works well. I've also added chocolate milk mix to it and thoroughly enjoyed that. I'm liking the whole "add things to plain" process. :)

          2. There is a South African jerky called biltong, which can be cured to a soft or hard stage. It's usually sliced as opposed to a stick, so it can be easier to chew. Other cured meats that might work as well including air dried beef (Weaver's is a US brand in good delis, Italian dried beef is called bresaola, Germans have bunderfleisch) prosciutto, speck or other dried ham products, salami, etc.

            Hard-boiled eggs are nice and portable.

            What about some hard cheese, like parmesean or aged gouda?

            I've seen recipes for cheese biscotti or cheese crackers. You can also simply fry up grated cheese in a nonstick skillet or bake it on a silpat, let cool completely and you have really tasty cheese wafers.

            4 Replies
            1. re: dct

              I'm looking at some recipes for biltong and it looks an awful lot like jerky. Though the sites I'm looking at emphatically state it's not jerky. Can you describe for me how it is different from jerky? :)

              1. re: Morganna

                hmm..I'm not sure why you wouldn't call it jerky-like, at least. Like jerky it's cured and then air dried. Maybe it's a nationalism thing.

                Anyway--when I lived in South Africa you could buy it a lot of places, though people made their own. The style I had most frequently was sliced about an eight of an inch thick--it was suppler than American jerky, but still shelf stable. The texture was more like really thick fruit leather. You could eat it by the piece or make a sandwich out of it with a roll and butter.

                The spicing is different than American jerky. It's not smoky, maybe a bit fruity, with warm spices like pepper and ginger.

                1. re: dct

                  Ok, thanks. I'm gonna try making thicker strips this weekend. I'll cut up some eye round ('cos it's lean) and maybe some pork tenderloin, and I'm gonna put a rub on it, then smoke it, then air dry it and see what I get. :)

                2. re: Morganna

                  biltong although simerlar to beef jerky is not cooked , it is raw air dried meet , check out this site http://www.squidoo.com/beef-biltong It is an obsession among South Africans and Zimbabweans - very tasty and very nutritious and all natural .