The Tanka Bar

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Four bucks will buy you a one-ounce Tanka Bar at the Seward Co-op, a price that must surely rank it among the most expensive bar-shaped foods in the Midwest, on a by-weight basis. A Tanka Bar is — to quote the packaging — “From the traditions of Native American peoples!”, and is manufactured and naturally cured by Native American Natural Foods in Kyle, SD. The company describes itself as being a group of Oglala Lakotas, affirms its commitment to helping the buffalo and Mother Earth, and furthermore offers 48 Tanka Bars for $99 if you order online.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Tanka Bars are a kind of energy bar / jerky hybrid, comprised of 100 percent natural buffalo meat and dried cranberries with minimal seasonings (salt, red pepper, granulated onion, and garlic). The result is a mellow, nutty, ably balanced buffalo bar with a mild cranberry undernote and a hint of smoke. The bars lack any of the off-notes that so often creep into artificially flavored or preserved foods — the taste is clean and pleasantly layered. With seven grams of protein and 70 calories, Tanka Bars could play a pricey but tasty role as a protein snack or long-distance driving fast food break alternative. And there’s always that $99 deal if you get really, really serious about the things.


  1. Kris

    That sounds pretty tasty! Just saw these myself over at Golden Fig but didn’t take the leap and pick one up. Maybe next time.

  2. Kathy

    Hey, far out! One of my old (40+ years) church cookbooks has several pioneer-era recipes from a old woman who kept alive such traditions, and one of them was for a dish very like this. I believe it was pemmican.

    However, an energy bar by that name already exists. Fascinating how the old things come around again.

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