It’s always fun to discover new, local, independent food producers.
Charqs, an Illinois-based pork jerky producer, has made several appearances this past year at local Chicago street festivals. They recently sent us a package of their pork jerky to sample and we were happy to see what their jerky was all about.
We received a resealable package of the pork jerky. The texture was nice, not stiff like cardboard and not rubbery either. The taste reminded us of Chinese pork jerky, or bak kwa, the BBQ dried meat that’s popular during Lunar New Year. Looking at the ingredients, there’s definitely some similarity. The basic Chinese pork jerky recipe uses pork, soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil, fish sauce, honey, five spice, salt and pepper. Commonly prepared by grilling over charcoal. The variations depends on the type of pork used and the exact proportions of the marinate and seasonings. Some are sweeter. Some are smokier. Some may even add food coloring to give it more vibrant colors. Charqs is kind of like their unique, personal take on BBQ dried meat.
Charqs Jerky is made with all natural ingredients and does not contain any MSG, chemicals, or artificial ingredients. No fillers. Just lean pork, with pure cane sugar, gluten-free soy sauce, and a blend of spices and seasoning for its flavor. Charqs is then flash-grilled to produce a savory and tender jerky.
Enjoy Charqs as a (somewhat indulgent) snack or incorporate it into other dishes as you might with bacon or something alike. Shred a couple pieces. Toss it over salad. Add it to rice. Mix it into omelettes. Put it in sandwiches. Simply treat it like bacon and enjoy sparingly.
According to the owner, Charqs Jerky was born after many attempts in the kitchen trying to recreate the flavors of local street foods they found while traveling abroad. After about 250 batches and many consultations with jerky and flavor experts, they created Charqs Jerky. They launched the product last year at Taste of Lincoln Avenue, where they grilled it live and served it hot. It was a big hit. From there, they moved production to a USDA facility in West Bend, Iowa, where it is still grilled on an open flame. Charqs was then re-launched as a packaged, ready-to-eat snack earlier this June.
Where to find Charqs?
Charqs is available on-line at www.charqs.com. In Chicago, you can find them at the Goddess and Grocer at 1649 N. Damen. They will also be at the Randolph Street Market on September 26th and 27th.
Now for a giveaway!
Charqs would like to send 10 lucky readers a package of Charqs Jerky to try.
Open to US residents. Giveaway ends Thursday, September 17th at 11:59pm EST and ten winners will be randomly selected shortly after.
Want to try Charqs now?
Use discount code lookytasty and receive 20% off your first order at www.charqs.com until September 24th, 2015.
Disclaimer: The information and materials above were provided by Charqs. Samples were provided for my review. No other compensation was received for this post. The giveaway is sponsored by Charqs. All opinions expressed are my own.