Friday, November 14, 2008

Wind River Jerky - El Paso Buffalo

Wind River Jerky - El Paso BuffaloWind River Jerky Company is a tiny "mom and pop" business making gourmet jerky in Orem, UT. The business is so small, it's difficult to find their jerky anywhere. It's so small, they're website isn't even functional, that's how small it is. But the good news is you can still buy their stuff online from one of their distributors, Climax Jerky.

Brooke Comai, the owner of Climax Jerky, says Wind River mostly sells their jerky at local gun shows. She's been distributing the jerky since Wind River got started and describes it as a "really gourmet" jerky, where they go through extreme lengths to cultivate the most taste they can cultivate. This particular variety called "El Paso", is a buffalo jerky encrusted with tomatoes and peppers, similar to salsa.

Upon opening the package, it's very aromatic. Upon feeling it, it's very soft and moist. It practically has my mouth watering writing all this.


Buffalo, flavorings, tomatoes, chilies, honey, soy sauce, vinegar, lemon juice.


The tastes that I pick up from the surface of these pieces is tomatoes, soy sauce, salt, chili peppers, a sweetness (honey), in that order. I can also pick up a tangy taste, which I wonder may be the vinegar and/or lemon juice. Moving into the chewing, I can pick up some meat flavors, and more of that tanginess.

Tangy is probably a good word to describe this jerky. In fact the more I eat this, the more I feel that quality dominates this jerky. I tend to think it comes more from the lemon juice than the vinegar, but could be both.

That tangy taste also mixes pretty well with the chili pepper taste. It's not a hot jerky at all, I'd rate it as mild. But there is definitely a taste of chilies in this, mostly off the surface taste after you've let it moisten in your mouth for a few seconds.

There are actually bits of tomatoes covering these pieces, and I can feel them in my mouth, and get a good taste of them. It's interesting that Brooke Comai used the word "salsa" to describe this jerky, because I do indeed find this jerky's overall taste to resemble salsa. I get a garlic or onion taste, the tomato, chilies, and lemon juice, all of which are primary salsa ingredients.

It's not a salty jerky at all, even though I can taste the saltiness. It doesn't leave my mouth begging for a drink. Note that there is no nutrition facts label provided.

The natural meat flavors are light. I can mostly taste them after letting a piece moisten up in my mouth for a bit, and then chewing. Otherwise, you're not going to get a strong meat taste from this.

Overall, this is a very delicious jerky, packed with lots of flavor, and a good deal of flavor complexity. That tanginess is largely what dominates the flavor. I think "salsa-flavored" jerky is a good way to describe this.

Meat Consistency

These are slices of whole meat, sliced thick, and in small to medium sized pieces.

This is a soft and tender jerky, being rather moist. It's very easy to tear a piece off with just your fingers. And it's very easy to eat, it practically falls apart in my mouth.

As soft as this is, it's got a certain amount of mushiness to it, but still some steak-like characteristics.

It doesn't leave much residue on my fingers, though there is a thin layer of moisture left behind. Here and there, pieces of meat or tomatoes fall off.

The best I can tell it's a pretty lean jerky, and while I don't find any tendon or gristle, I do find small balls of membranous tissue left in my mouth. They can be easily swallowed.

Wind River Jerky - El Paso Buffalo

Wind River Jerky - El Paso Buffalo
Product Value

This El Paso Buffalo variety from Wind River Jerky retails for $14.00 for four ounce package on Climax Jerky's website. That works out to a price of $3.50 per ounce, making this a very expensive jerky.

For general jerky snacking purposes, it's a decent value only because the taste is very good. If you can somehow find it for a cheaper price, it's snacking value goes up. Once I ate a piece, I couldn't hold myself back from eating more.

As a buffalo jerky, you might find it a slightly better value because buffalo jerky tends to be priced higher than beef jerky. But you won't realize any of that value in meat flavors. This jerky has little meat flavor, the flavor is mostly the marinade, seasonings and coverings.


I'm giving this a best rating.

I really like the flavor of this. The thick covering of tomatoes and chiles will give you a tangy taste right off the bat, and that tanginess continues with its lemon juice and vinegar. You've also got the soy sauce working there, and what I think is some garlic and onion in the "flavorings". I can even detect the honey sweetness too. A lot of flavor complexity for the cultivated beef jerky snacker.

While the natural meat flavors are light on taste, this jerky is all about the those other flavors I described above. But you still get some meat flavors in this. And while I also described the chewing texture to be mushy, I think the overall taste of this will divert your attention away. This is a jerky to savor the flavor.

Even though the high cost of this may prohibit its use as your mainstay snack, I'd recommend folks try it at least once. Maybe buy it as a Christmas stocking stuffer for the meat snacker in your life.

I'd recommend a light ale, like a honey blond, as my beer choice.

Rating: Best

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