Saturday, September 13, 2008

Wild Ride Beef Jerky - Jumpin' Hot & Spicy

Wild Ride Beef Jerky - Jumpin' Hot & SpicyWild Ride Jerky is a brand of owned by Distinctive Brands, Inc. of Boulder, CO. It's been around since 2001.

The company was started by Jim Davis, a fourth generation cattle rancher from Texas. He's been quoted as saying that he couldn't find a jerky that was as soft and tender as the jerky he remembers his family having made. So he decided to make it himself and sell it.

By the time he launched Wild Ride, the low-carb-high-protein craze was still all the rage, and he saw beef jerky as a perfect fit for this market. He drew upon his nutrition degree from Colorado State University to devise a recipe that would provide a unique taste in a very soft and tender consistency that would appeal to women, the primary demographic with low-carb dieting. He developed what he calls is a proprietary and patented tenderization process using papain, an enzyme found in papayas.

The result is a product that has been endorsed by Atkins Nutritionals, the company behind the Atkins diet, and has appeared in Atkins' catalogs. The jerky touts itself as being free of artificial preservatives, nitrites, and MSG. Wild Ride also offers a Zero Carb variety and a Hormone Free/Antibiotic Free variety.

In addition to this line of soft and tender jerky, Wild Ride also sells a line called "Cowboy Strips", which is more like the standard jerky, but comes with artificial preservatives, nitrites, and MSG, for all those people like the taste of that stuff.


Beef, sea salt, chilies, spices, garlic, brown sugar, citric acid, spices and corn starch.


This jerky, oddly doesn't have a lot of taste on the surface. It's not until I start chewing it that I get of something I can recognize. For the most part, this has some natural meat flavors, with a taste of the chile and garlic.

Salt is of course a flavor in this, but I don't really taste the salt as a predominant taste. Rather, it's something that builds up over several pieces and before you know it, what you have a strong saltiness on your tongue.

The natural meat flavors are well defined in this. But it has a strange meat taste, that resembles the meat in a frozen tamale. It's not a stale or rank taste at all, it just tastes overly processed. I'm guessing it's produced in part by the chili powder and tenderization. In fact, that meat flavor is the predominant taste in this jerky. The garlic and chile flavoring is only there to enhance the meat flavor, rather than become the main taste.

As for being a "Hot & Spicy" variety, it's not hot by any means. I'd rate this as mild-medium. It gives me just a little bit of a burn, but not anything I need to quench with water. The word "spicy" is perhaps the better description.

Overall, it's not a bad tasting jerky, just not a good tasting one. Either way, it does offer a decent amount of taste, but mostly in the chew. The strange meat taste may alarm you a little.

Meat Consistency

These appear to be cuts of whole meat, sliced medium to thick, and in small pieces.

This is soft and tender jerky, being semi-moist. The meat is very easy to chew. You don't need to tear this into smaller pieces, because they're already bite-sized. The pieces are so soft they fall apart just like eating pot roast. In fact, the bottom of the bag contains lots of crumbles and beef bits.

I don't think you'll even need teeth to eat this. Just use your tongue to smush it up against the roof of your mouth. In fact, this jerky has "mushy" consistency when chewed.

I didn't find any pieces of tendon, gristle, fat or connective tissue in this.

Overall, this is has a good meat consistency, being easy to eat. But I found the mushy consistency to be rather wierd.

Wild Ride Beef Jerky - Jumpin' Hot & Spicy

Wild Ride Beef Jerky - Jumpin' Hot & Spicy
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.

For general jerky snacking purposes, this has a good value, just because the low price point won't leave you feeling too disappointed. I still find this rather snackable, even though the taste is mediocre. I think it's the chile, I just love peppery flavored food.

But as a Hot & Spicy variety, it's a so-so value. It's not hot at all, though it does give off a slight burn. But it's more appropriate to say this is spicy, if you consider "spicy" to be different than "hot".

But since this jerky was created to appeal to the low-carb-high-protein diet addicts, specifically women snackers, I think it's a great value. You can't beat a price of $0.88 per ounce, it doesn't taste bad, and it's very low in fat and carbs. Oh, and it's very easy to eat.


I'm giving this a fair rating.

It's mostly the strange meat taste and the mushy meat consistency that makes this score so low. This is definitely not a jerky for jerky lovers.

But while this has a strange meat flavor, it's not that bad actually. I kinda like it just because it tastes so much different than most of the jerkies out there. I do like the taste of chile powder on this. And I happen to like frozen tamales anyways.

But I'm not sure this Hot & Spicy variety from Wild Ride will sell very well with the all chicks caught up on the low-carb dieting trend. The meat in this jerky doesn't say "fresh", rather it says, "over processed", "factory", and "something wrong here".

If I was going to have a beer with this, a wheat beer, or hefeweizen, might be good.

Rating: Fair

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