Time to unleash your inner Arrr! Jerky–energy bar hybrids are at the forefront of the energy bar revolution. Consider this tender and protein-packed DIY version your tribute to the mammoth-hunting caveman of yesteryear. Each bar also supplies a shot of energy-boosting iron, particularly important for active women.
There are two important ingredients that keep these bars from tasting like leftover meatloaf. First, the cranberries offer up some of the sweetness that you would expect in a bar. And round steak, one of the leanest cuts available, is used to keep the fat levels low and help the mixture dry out in the oven. Too much fat will encourage the bars to go rancid more quickly. A longer cooking time at a low temp helps with the drying process.
Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Paleo-friendly
ACTIVE TIME: 20 min.
Consider opting for grass-fed or organic beef. Studies suggest that steaks from grass-fed cattle are more nutrient dense than those from their grain-fed brethren, while organic beef is not administered hormones or antibiotics.
10 ounces round steak (eye, top, or bottom cut)
1 cup dried cranberries
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 teaspoons orange zest
½ teaspoon salt
Trim any excess fat from meat and cut into 1-inch cubes. Place on a parchment paper–lined baking sheet and freeze until edges are stiff but not frozen all the way through, about 20 minutes. This will help the meat grind more uniformly.
Preheat oven to 225°F. Place partially frozen meat and cranberries in a food processor and pulse until meat is coarsely ground. Pulse in remaining ingredients.
Line an 8 × 8–inch square baking pan with a piece of parchment paper large enough so there is a 1-inch overhang. Place meat mixture in pan and spread out into an even layer. Bake for 30 minutes, pour off any accumulated juices, and then bake for another 50 minutes. Let cool completely in pan before lifting out with parchment overhang and cutting into 9 bars. Keep chilled for up to 1 week.
Game Changers: Try dried cherries instead of cranberries + Use liquid aminos or gluten-free soy sauce instead of regular soy sauce + Replace sesame seeds with hemp seeds + Swap out the orange zest for lemon zest