Crazy Ed's Roadkill Awesome Beef Jerky is a brand of MTL Enterprises, Inc. based out of Sunderland, VT.
I think this may be the first beef jerky brand I've come across with six or more words in the name. It's the creation of one Jeramie Westbay, who started making beef jerky nearly 20 years ago, but only recently started selling it commercially. His Crazy Ed's Roadkill brand first hit store shelves last September.
The name "Crazy Ed's" is in tribute to his late friend, Ed Colomb, a biker who taught Westbay how to make beef jerky. The Crazy Ed's Roadkill brand is smoked with real hickory wood over charcoal, and is made in Westbay's own USDA facility. He says it's cooked hotter and faster than most jerky, and claims this retains more of the taste of beef.
Beef, soy sauce, garlic, jalapeno peppers, habanero, black pepper, and other natural flavors.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a smoky flavor, followed by a light saltiness. I can detect a faint black pepper flavor, and a faint meat flavor.
The chewing flavor starts with a more stronger smoky natural meat flavor, a stronger black pepper flavor, a slightly increased saltiness, and a faint soy sauce flavor.
For being labeled a Black Pepper variety, I do taste a fair amount black pepper, mostly in the chewing. It's not a strong black pepper flavor, but just enough to notice.
The flavor I seem to taste more than the others is the smoky natural meat flavor, but with the black pepper and saltiness still close behind. The smokiness is perhaps as equally as pronounced as the meat flavor, so I can't really say one is more dominant than the other. Overall, the meat flavor is not a strong flavor, but still seems to sit in the middle of my tongue and hence becomes more noticeable than the other flavors.
The saltiness seems to be at a moderate intensity for a single piece, but seems to build up to a high level after several pieces.
The soy sauce has a light flavor in this, but I think provides enough "body" to create a savory quality.
The garlic listed in the ingredients is not well noticed, and the jalapeno and habanero are not well detectable either. This jerky isn't hot at all, still quite mild in terms of heat, but moderate in terms of spiciness.
Overall, what you're going to notice in this jerky the most is a smoky natural meat flavor, with a moderate bite of black pepper, and a savory/salty flavor from the soy sauce.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced to a medium thickness, and in medium sized pieces.
This is a dry jerky, with a dry touch. The pieces are mostly easy to tear apart with my fingers, but provide a light amount of resistance. Chewing is moderately easy.
The chewing texture starts out feeling stiff and brittle, and with some light chewing, it breaks down. There's actually some crunchiness to this, which I think creates a little bit more snackability. It eventually chews down to a soft mass in about 15-20 seconds, and at that point it feels just like a piece of steak, but quite dry. It's comparable to a well-done cooked steak, just a bit more dry.
I can see some small streaks of fat marbilization on these pieces, and when I tear pieces apart with my fingers I encounter quite a bit of stringiness keeping the grains together. In the chewing however, I don't really feel much of that stringiness, and didn't encounter anything unchewable in the way of gristle or tendon.
In terms of clean eating, my finger's don't pick up any residue, however I'm getting a lot of black pepper bits flying off on to my lap and desk as I tear pieces apart. In fact with all the black pepper bits falling off, I wonder how much that flavor I'm missing.
Crazy Ed's Roadkill Awesome Beef Jerky sells this Black Pepper variety from its website at a price of $21.95 for one pound package. Add to that shipping costs of $8.50 (shipping to Southern California), and it creates a total of $30.45. That works out to a price of $1.90 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $1.90 price per ounce, it seems to present a good value. I'm getting a good deal of snackability for its good overall flavor, and good chewing texture. The $1.90 price per ounce is within the ballpark of the mass-market brands you find at the grocery store, yet I think it provides more snackability.
As a Black Pepper variety of beef jerky, at the same $1.90 price per ounce, it's a decent value. I taste a good deal of black pepper, but in comparison to the mass-market brands, it seems to provide the same level of flavor at a similar price.
I'm giving this a good rating.
This Black Pepper variety from Crazy Ed's Roadkill Awesome Beef Jerky has an easily recognizable smoky natural meat flavor, contrasted by a moderate bite of black pepper, and a savory/salty soy sauce base flavor. Overall it's a good tasting jerky, mostly for that smoky meat flavor.
Dry jerky can often be tough to eat, but this still manages to remain fairly easy to tear apart and chew. It is still, however, dry. But if you enjoy beef jerky with a good deal of smokiness and natural meat flavors, this is worth trying out. I also appreciate the chewing texture, with a bit of crunchiness but softening up to a steak-like feel.
If anything kept me from assigning the top "Best" rating, it's that this jerky doesn't quite have the knockout punch of flavor that I look for. The smoky natural meat flavor is noticeable enough to be enjoyable, but not quite strong enough to create that "wow factor". The black pepper and soy sauce flavors are good, but are still very common in comparison with all the other jerky brands I've had.
I think a good beer pairing for this is a simple brown ale, like a Moose Drool.
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