Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Climax Jerky - Elk

Climax Jerky - Elk JerkyClimax Jerky is a brand based out of Dillon, CO, owned and operated by Brooke Comai. She got it started in 1998, selling jerky atop of Fremont Pass, some 11,000 ft above sea level where bicyclists, motorcyclists, and other tourists dared to brave the thin atmosphere.

As I continue to read forum posts across the Internet, it appears elk jerky is getting talked about more and more. People seem to believe that it provides a good balance between the gamey venison and the mild beef.

I had actually reviewed another elk jerky for Climax Jerky, it was their "smoked elk" which is actually a far different product than this standard elk jerky. This particular elk is Climax's "brisket cut", which Brooke describes as being more chewy. The smoked elk actually earned an award from Men's Journal magazine in July 2007 as the "best jerky in the country".

It'll be interesting to see how this brisket cut elk jerky stands in comparison.


Elk, water, salt, brown sugar, spices, soy powder, flavorings.


The tastes I pick up from the surface is a meaty aroma, and maybe smidgeon of sweet. Not much on the surface at all. In the chewing, I get some salty taste, and a good deal of meat flavors. I can detect some black pepper in the swallowing.

It's mostly the natural meat flavors that I taste in this jerky, with it's salty soy sauce marinade. It's not an overpowering meat flavor, but strong enough to be enjoyed. I don't get any gamey taste, just the great taste of elk.

The salt intensity in this is moderate. It's probably more salt than soy sauce. It seems to stay enough in the background not to overpower the elk taste.

There is a black pepper aftertaste that sits in the back of my mouth, but light.

Overall it's a good tasting jerky, though not necessarily a flavorful one. The flavor-intensity is light overall. The natural meat flavors provide the dominant taste, the salty flavor having a second-strongest flavor, and the black pepper with a faint and distant third.

Meat Consistency

These appear to be strips of whole meat, cut into widths of about 1/4 to 1/2 inches, and lengths of about 2-3 inches.

It's a semi-moist jerky, being rather soft and tender. It's not clearly as moist as Climax's Smoked Elk jerky, however. It's easy to tear apart, and even more easier to chew.

The chewing texture has a mushy consistency, almost like fried liver, but not quite as soft, and more fibrous. The jerky is actually quite chewy at first, but after several chews, with some hydration, it mushes up. Since I haven't eaten a lot of elk, this is perhaps more a character of elk than just this jerky.

It's pretty clean eating, it doesn't leave any fallen fragments or residue on my fingers. And it's very lean, seeing no pieces of fat or connective tissue.

Snack Value

Climax Jerky sells this elk jerky from its website at a price of $10.00 for a 3.5 ounce package. That works out to a price of $2.86 per ounce, making this an expensive buy.

For general jerky snacking purposes, at this price, it presents a fair value. I found it very snackable with its natural meat flavors, and easy-to-eat consistency. With the small one ounce review sample that I was given, it was tough to throttle myself down and eat this slowly.

As an elk jerky, it's a good value. It provides a moderate amount of natural meat flavors, with just barely enough seasonings in the salt and black pepper to give the meat some additional taste interest. Elk is always going to be more pricey than beef, so a price of $2.86 per ounce really isn't too bad.


I'm giving this a good rating.

It wins by putting focus on it's natural meat flavors, which is something you want to taste when eating an exotic meat jerky like elk. Combine that with its easy-to-eat consistency, and it makes for a very snackable jerky.

The only complaint I have is that the meat flavors are not strong enough for me, it's moderate at best. I need more! If the meat flavors were stronger, then the seasonings and marinade can be stronger to provide a very flavor-intense jerky.

In comparison to Climax's smoked elk jerky, this stuff is not as good, the flavor is not as intense. The smoked elk gives you more natural meat flavors than this stuff.

Well, I tend to agree with others that elk jerky is a pretty good alternative to beef. It's taste is substantially different than beef, unlike buffalo or ostrich, but not quite as gamey as with deer.

Perhaps a nice beer companion to this is an IPA.

Rating: Good

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