[Shameless Editor’s Comment: Stay tuned, this article is getting a followup. For now, I would recommend against listening to anything good I said about this product.]
Epic Bar’s pulled pork pineapple bar includes 100% natural pork, immediately setting it apart from its competition Terrible Bar, which mostly uses recycled paper that children drew pigs on with crayon. Incidentally, the Shameless Consumer gave Terrible Bar’s three-legged-pig drawing a 2/5, owing to its waxy taste and use of non-toxic crayons, with extra points for drawing inside the lines.
The pulled pork pineapple bar takes its cue from wasna, a dish created by Native American tribes who would combine acidic fruits with meat in order to preserve them. It is not to be confused with Wasna Ahmed, Indian actress most known for her role as Dhara in the popular soap opera Kasautii Zindagii Kay, or the Wasba, a celebration of life wherein the residents of Sheboygen Wisconsin get drunk on rye and beat each other with shovels.
I have to say that I’m really disappointed in this bar.
First off, the name is misleading, this isn’t pulled pork. Pulled pork is slow cooked to the point where it becomes tender enough to pull apart. The meat that Epic uses in their bar isn’t the same stringy meat you’d get in a pulled pork sandwich, it’s ground pork.
Pulled pork is a product that relies on some form of fixing to bring out the taste, be it spices or barbecue sauce. Think of it like George Lucas, incapable of wiping its own posterior but with the help of intelligent handlers, capable of blowing your mind.
This bar, however, doesn’t have handlers. It is the prequel trilogy of protein bars. It’s like eating a snake, you’d think from the shiny outer coating that it’d be nice and moist, but it’s actually pretty dry and tasteless, not to mention more poisonous. I recently tried primal strips, a vegan jerky that manages to get the meat texture better than Epic does utilizing nothing but wheat protein and the power of self-importance.
It even smells faintly of barbecue sauce, perhaps from the combination of garlic and pepper, but there isn’t any that I can detect in the taste. The pineapple has far less flavor than a fruit of its caliber has any right to be, and it almost seems like the folks at Epic went out of their way to de-flavor the bar. I’m not sure how you take this ingredient list and end up with a product so bland, but Epic has found a way.
Ingredient list: Natural pork, dried pineapple, garlic, lactic acid, sea salt, celery powder, paprika, cumin, onion, black pepper, cilantro, oregano.
To salvage whatever I could out of this snack, I decided to grab a bottle of barbecue sauce and use it for dipping. It helped make the bar palatable, but for something that is intended to be eaten on the go, heavy doctoring should not be a requirement.
The explosion of protein bars has essentially followed the logic of the energy drink industry, when companies realized that they could expand beyond the protein number bros and into a wider audience if they focused on a lacking factor called taste. It’s disappointing to see that some companies still haven’t gotten that memo.
Perhaps it’s a telling sign that my research into other reviews for Epic bars came up with nothing but PR-speak, endless blogs discussing how the bars aren’t tasteless like their competition but refusing to go into any detail. Almost like they hadn’t actually tried it, go figure. Incidentally, the pulled pork version is the only one that has absolutely zero reviews on Amazon, although the reviews on other Epic products refer to it indirectly as tasteless and horrible.
Verdict: 1.5/5 – The Epic bar isn’t revolting, but it isn’t pleasing either. Manages to take multiple strong flavors and dull them into obscurity. Probably tastes like grandma.