Friday, September 19, 2008

Wild Ride Cowboy Strips - Teriyaki

Wild Ride Cowboy Strips - TeriyakiWild Ride Jerky is a brand of beef jerky owned by Distinctive Brands, Inc. of Boulder, CO. The brand has been around since 2001.

The company was launched 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 world was abuzz with the low-carb-high-protein craze, and his quest to introduce a really soft and tender jerky seemed poised to benefit. He drew upon his nutrition degree from Colorado State University to help devise a recipe that would strike it rich with this unique demographic of dieters. He developed what he calls is a proprietary and patented tenderization process using papain, an enzyme found in papayas.

Wild Ride also offers a Zero Carb variety and a Hormone Free/Antibiotic Free variety.

The subject of this review, however, is their "Cowboy Strips" variety, which is more like the standard jerky, filled with artificial preservatives, nitrites, and MSG. That's contrasted by the company's flagship jerky, described in the paragraphs above, meant to appeal to the female dieters, being free of preservatives, nitrites, and MSG.


Beef, sugar, brown sugar, teriyaki sauce, natural hickory smoke flavoring, salt, sodium nitrite.


There's a good amount of smoke flavor that hits my tongue right away, and that's followed soon by a sweetness off the surface of these pieces. A meaty aroma permeates up into my nostrils. As I start chewing, I can pick up some of the natural meat flavors.

In terms of standing up to its advertised teriyaki flavor, it doesn't. I don't really get a strong sense of this being teriyaki flavored. It does have the sweetness one finds in teriyaki, but it largely stops there. There is a taste that transcends the sweet to a good degree, but it's hard to discern that from being the liquid smoke or the teriyaki.

The natural meat flavors can be detected, but they're not very strong. There's enough fat on these pieces that they add to the overall flavor, and give it a "beefy" taste. Some of the meat taste that I'm picking up could very well be the taste of fat as well.

In fact after several pieces, I'm getting a coating of fat inside in my mouth that gives off a rather unpleasant "fatty" aftertaste. I don't mind some fat on jerky, and I actually enjoy the taste, but there's tad too much on these pieces, and the fat on this is somewhat spoiled.

There's very little salt to be tasted here, which is what I tend to prefer. The low amount of sodium listed in the nutrition label below backs that up.

Overall, this is a rather bland tasting jerky. The sweet and smoky aroma is largely what dominates the taste, with the pockets of fat adding a burst of stale-meat flavor. The actual natural meat flavor is slight, though detectable. Worse yet, is that this is a teriyaki variety that doesn't have any teriyaki taste.

Meat Consistency

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

This is a soft and tender style of jerky, with a slight amount of moisture to it. It's soft enough that I can bite a chunk off agains the grain, despite the thicker slices. Chewing is rather easy as well.

The package says that the beef sourced is from USA, Uruguay, New Zealand, or Australia. I guess that nails it down.

Again, there's quite a bit of fat I've found on these pieces. I did find some tendon or connective tissue on a couple of pieces. But no gristle to be found.

Overall, it's a rather subpar meat consistency that's still rather easy to tear apart and chew.

Wild Ride Cowboy Strips - Teriyaki

Wild Ride Cowboy Strips - Teriyaki
Product Value

I paid $3.50 for this 3.65 ounce package at a Big Lots store in Murrieta, CA. That works out to a price of $0.96 per ounce, putting this into the cheap category.

I'd say this has a fair value, mostly because the taste is not that good, and doesn't offer much snackability as a result. All you're really getting is a sugary-smoky taste, and just a smidgeon of meat taste. Even the gobs of fat that I found one these pieces doesn't help. I'd give it worse value, except that the price of $0.96 per ounce is a cheap price.

As a teriyaki variety, it's also a fair value. Actually, there's very little teriyaki to taste in this; it's mostly a sugary taste. But again, the low price of $0.96 per ounce, keeps your disappointment in check.


I'm giving this a dog treats rating.

I was actually on the border with making this a "fair" rating. But these pieces had enough fat on them, or should I say too much fat on them, that I found myself with a somewhat foul aftertaste in my mouth. There were, however, some pieces with no fat on them, but again, after I had eaten the entire contents this foul aftertaste remained in my mouth.

Oddly, this jerky offers little taste on a piece-by-piece basis. It's mostly a sweet and smoky flavor that this offers, and only a spattering of meat taste. Even as a teriyaki variety, it fails to live up to that advertisement. That basically results in a jerky with little snackability.

I'm hoping that this teriyaki variety is the worse that it gets for Wild Ride. I actually rated their pepper variety as "good".

As for my beer recommendation, get something with a smoky malt flavor, like a brown ale.

Rating: Dog Treats

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  1. Thanks for this detailed review. Yeah some brands advertise the teriyaki flavoring but taste-wise don't deliver. Some just go overboard with the salt for a substitute though by this review it doesn't appear to be the case. The photos you posted actually don't look too fatty, but I'll take your word.

  2. I just purchased a bag of Wild Ride "original flavor" and found the pieces to be quite lean. While I'm no jerky afficianado, I must say that I also like the tamer flavor offered up in this brand. Extreme taste profiles are a bit too artificial for my liking and I found this to be a return to form of the jerky I knew years ago.

  3. The fatty pieces you got might have just been a bad batch since you liked the pepper one.
    Thanks for the review though.