Saturday, April 12, 2008

Wild Ride Beef Jerky - Gallopin' Pepper

Wild Ride Beef Jerky - Gallopin' PepperWild Ride Beef Jerky is a product of Distinctive Brands, Inc. of Boulder, CO. The company offers five beef jerky flavors in all, and for each flavor they also offer a Zero Carb variety and a Hormone Free/Antibiotic Free variety.

Jim Davis, the COO and founder of Distinctive Brands, has the advantage of growing up on his family's cattle ranch, and knew the secrets of making great jerky. He also has a nutrition degree from Colorado State University, and apparently that nutrition degree is the root of how Wild Ride Beef Jerky came about.

With all the rage over low-carb, high protein dieting, Davis saw a unique opportunity with meat snacking, and sought to create a market for beef jerky as a dieting aid. But since beef jerky largely has a reputation for being tough and chewy, it's something that dieters tend to stay away from.

To answer this, comes Davis' proprietary and patented process of making soft beef jerky. According to the packaging, he softens it with papain, an enzyme found in papayas. Wild Ride Beef Jerky is indeed soft.


The ingredients list shows the following: beef, water, corn syrup, dextrose, salt, potassium chloride, spices, garlic powder, citric acid, corn starch, turbinado sugar.

I have to commend Wild Ride Beef Jerky from excluding MSG, unlike 90% of the other jerky brands.

What I taste mostly is a combination of the natural beef flavors, salt, and pepper. There is a very subtle sweetness to it as well. The peppery flavor is very evident, as would be expected in a pepper variety.

Meat Consistency

It appears Wild Ride uses real cuts of beef.

The pieces are quite small. I'd say each piece is bite-sized, which may be perfect for popping into your mouth. But it seems to rob you from the carnal instinct of tearing off flesh.

I found many pieces to contain gristle, or tendon, making them rather chewy. Wild Ride uses cheaper cuts of beef, and relies on their flavoring and tenderization process to compensate.

The pieces are definitely tender. Some pieces I'd consider to be "too tender". That is, you pop one into your mouth and it just crumbles apart. The company's tenderization process seems to have made the meat somewhat mushy after it has been chewed. There are, however, other pieces in the bag that were tender but still offered some meaty chewiness.

Most of the pieces are cut very thick.

Product Value

I paid $3.50 for this four ounce bag at a Big Lots store in Murrieta, CA. That works out to $0.88 per ounce, putting this in the cheap category. Note that if you buy this online directly from Wild Ride, it'll cost $5.49 for the same bag, or $1.37 per ounce. That's on the lower-end of being average priced. Either way, it's priced low.

As a beef jerky, Wild Ride fails to impress me. But then again, Distinctive Brands appears to be marketing Wild Ride towards the low carb/high protein dieters, and for that reason, it might be a good value.

I also don't like the small pieces. I prefer to grab a large piece and tear it off with my teeth. Some pieces are just too soft, and I wonder "what the heck did I just put into mouth?"

There is what appears to be almost a full ounce of beef jerky crumbles sitting in the bottom of the bag. These are the tiny pieces of jerky you always find after eating all the big pieces. It appears the company's tenderization process made the pieces so tender, that they break apart in the packaging process.

As a peppered variety, you're definitely getting great peppery taste.

For general purpose snacking, it's good.

I also have to point out that Wild Ride Beef Jerky comes in smaller-than-normal bag, with still the industry standard 4 ounce size. That makes it more attractive to pack in a fanny pack or purse.

Wild Ride Beef Jerky - Gallopin' Pepper

Wild Ride Beef Jerky - Gallopin' Pepper


I'm giving this a fair rating. For general beef jerky purposes, it's really not that great. It's mostly the tenderization process. The meat tends to fall apart and it becomes somewhat mushy as you chew it. It's clear that what you just put into your mouth is beef that has been doctored up.

I can appreciate this company trying to simulate eating a real piece of steak, but when I put a piece of their jerky into my mouth, it's clear that I'm not eating a real piece of steak. If they had called this "beef chunks", or "beef tenders", then perhaps it would be well received as a new type of meat snack. As a diet aid, it may score very well.

It does offer great peppery taste, and you can definitely taste the natural beef flavors.

Rating: Fair

Buy this from Wild Ride All-Natural Beef Jerky, Gallopin Pepper, 4-Ounce Bags (Pack of 6)


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