Caffiend: Perky Jerky (High-Octane Beef Snacks)

For anybody who thought caffeinated mints and granola bars were wacky, I've got three words for you: caffeinated beef jerky.

Yes, seriously. It would seem that the number of consumables powered up with caffeine knows no end: coffee, tea, soda, energy drinks, Midol menstrual relief pills, chocolate, mints, and now, Perky Jerky.

This high-octane beef snack, available for purchase at, boasts 150 mg of caffeine per two-ounce bag, slightly less than the amount of caffeine in two Red Bull energy drinks. The packaging proudly proclaims the jerky is "flavored with Guarana" (Guarana being a climbing plant native to the Amazon basin, the seeds of which are said to contain twice the amount of caffeine in a coffee bean.)

Since I've never tasted Guarana by itself, I was leery of how Perky Jerky would taste. Turns out, it tastes just like beef jerky, with no funky aftertaste or weird additive flavor at all. In fact, Perky Jerky tastes as good as (maybe even better than) some of the major jerky brands on the market right now, like Jack Link's or Pemmican. It's certainly flavorful, brimming with a rich, meaty Teriyaki taste and topped off with a subtle, peppery kick. Perky Jerky is slightly sticky and very tender, making it a viable, malleable option for people on the go (who wants to try and masticate tough jerky for ten minutes while hiking?)

So Perky Jerky passes the flavor test with an A+ grade. But how's the caffeine effect?

Again, Perky Jerky is surprising. The manufacturers don't recommend consuming more than one two-ounce bag at a time, but the jerky was so tasty that I ate two bags at once. I mean, it's beef jerky -- how amped up could I possibly get from it? Turns out, the caffeine kick is quite impressive. Not only did the jerky sate my appetite and need for protein, but it also wired me awake and made me feel more mentally alert. It had a physical effect as well, as I could feel my heart rate increase slightly.

Maybe it's better to stick with the recommended single bag, but if you're hungry, that might not be enough. One thing's for sure, though: I won't be needing a Red Bull or a Monster today.

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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea