A few weeks ago, Wilde Brands sent me out some Jerky bars to review. If you know me at all, you know I love jerky. Of all variety. High in protein, satisfying and generally not too many ingredients. My favorite gas station variety is Old Trapper, and my favorite “fancy” jerky snack has been Epic Bars for a handful of years. I am always trying new jerky products and generally speaking, they tend to be hit or miss. Big time. Especially brands that are trying to break on to the market as organic, grass fed or non-GMO. I don’t know if it’s the curing process or simply the ingredients used, but many of these jerky’s end up dry, too chewy or just...bland.
Wilde Brand claims to create meat snacks that are healthy and flavorful. The founder wanted a bar that contained protein, complex carbs and healthy fats. A sort of mix of a nutrition bar and jerky if you will- the best of two worlds. All the meat this company uses is from sustainable farms. The lean meat (birds) is free-range and the beef and pork are grass fed. Beef comes from Colorado, poultry from California and pork from Texas. All of the additional ingredients, spices, grains, dried fruits, ect- are selected based on nutrition profiles or health benefits.
The price point on these jerky bars is around $40.00usd for a case of 15 bars. Making it about average. A case of Epic Bars will run you $34.00usd for 12 bars. Making the price difference between the two very similar- Epic runs about $0.20 more expensive. Moving forward, I will probably compare the bars often as they are quite similar and reach for many of the same goals.
I was sent three flavors; Maple Blueberry, Sweet Thai Basil and Turkey Cranberry. Interacting with the Wilde Brands customer service was informative and easy, which is always something I appreciate in a company. HUGE “no thanks!” to companies that have poor customer service or who offer little information when poked.
I am in no way attached to this company and have not been paid for a favorable review. I’m just a woman who loves jerky and wants to inform the world on which kinds are best.
Maple Blueberry (turkey and uncured bacon with added smoke flavor)
This sounds good, right? Maple- good! Blueberry- good! Bacon- gooood! The combination is on point. However, the maple flavor in this bar is a little bit much. It overwhelms the senses with sweetness and an almost syrupy mouthfeel. Which is weird. It’s not horrible or anything, and I love maple syrup, but it’s pretty strange to eat meat that is more maple than anything else. The texture of the bar is strange as well. Because of that syrupy mouthfeel you’d think it would be moist, but it’s actually quite dry. I don’t taste any bacon when I eat this. And that is totally fine, because there is so much overwhelming flavor already with the maple.
I would eat this bar anytime if it was given to me or free. I don’t know that I would buy it. Epic Bar has a Smoked Maple Bacon Bar and a Smoked Salmon Maple Bar. I would gladly eat either of those before the Maple Blueberry Wilde Bar.
Sweet Thai Basil (slow roasted chicken)
I like the general flavor of this bar. And I love an option for a chicken jerky. But holy moly... the basil is so overwhelming. The overall thought I have on this bar is that it has way too much flavor. The texture is sort of dry and extremely gritty. The grittiness seems to come from the basil, so to throw a positive spin on this, at least they’re using real ingredients. Because that is awesome and something sooo many brands cannot claim. But I cant get past the grit and strong basil. I ate one of these on a long hike and it kind of ended up making me nauseous. I love flavor. But much like the Blueberry Maple, it is way too much. And the contrast of dry meat with powerful and textured flavor is just not right.
I cannot eat this bar when I’m being active. It makes me feel “off” and the aftertaste takes a bit to wear off. The closest bar Epic makes to this would be the Lamb Currant Mint. Which is not really even close to the same. I give Wilde props for making a unique flavor. It sounds great and could be great, but it’s just too much. Sorry Wilde... I straight up don’t like this one.
When it comes to Wilde Bars, the simpler the better. Out of the three flavors I was given, this is my favorite. There isn’t a whole lot I can say here- there is turkey and there are cranberries. This Thanksgiving-ish combo is a classic. But I’m sorry to say that this bar is once again very dry. Even the cranberries seem to be too dry.
Epic Bar makes a Turkey Almond Cranberry. They also make Bison Bacon Cranberry. Go Epic.
I don’t mean to compare Wilde to Epic in such a very plain manner and that was certainly not my intention going into this. But I cannot get over how similar these two companies are and how much tastier Epic Bars are. The fact is that these meat bars are expensive. So you should not spend that money on an inferior product. And unfortunately, that is what Wilde Bars are. If you’re given them for free- yummy! Free food that is healthy! But if you’re spending your own hard earned money...
What are your favorite jerky’s or meat bars? What are your thoughts on Wilde Bars? I was actually quite surprised by my dislike for them. The flavors sounded great and even more than that, I appreciate a company that cares about animal welfare and sustainable practices. I look forward to watching this company grow. I am positive they will nail down recipes that are more moist and have more balanced flavors. But for now, I will pass on Wilde Bars.