Original Beef Jerky.
Based out of West Kingston, RI, Chef Craig's Beef Jerky was originally started by Craig Mitchell, who holds a Culinary Arts degree from Johnson & Wales University. He's been cooking professionally since 1978. Chef Craig's Beef Jerky was a way to extend his career in cooking and cuisine.
This Black Thai variety is described by the company as "The same chewy beef jerky with a taste of Asian spiciness; it leaves a lingering warm sensation in your mouth."
Beef, soy sauce, garlic chili pepper sauce, brown sugar, green curry paste (green chili, garlic, lemongrass, thai ginger, salt, shallot, spices, kaffir lime), sesame oil
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a sesame oil flavor, followed by a light soy sauce and a light, tangy chili pepper sauce. The sweetness is noticeable also, and there's a noticeable garlic to this as well.
The chewing brings in a bit more of the soy sauce, but also a flavor much like stir fry and touches of hoisin sauce. It has a tanginess, perhaps coming from the lemongrass, but a pungent character perhaps supported by the green curry. It has a very unmistakable Asian-like flavor that reminds me of Thai-style stir-fry.
For being marketed as "Black Thai", it holds up very well. From that very first sesame oil flavor, to the soy sauce, the chili pepper sauce, and the tangy/pungent green curry, this jerky oozes the words "Asian" and "Thai". It has a flavor that paints a picture of an Asian lunch cafe where chop sticks pick up noodles, slices of beef and vegetables, and bottles of fish sauce and Sriracha are squeezed. Imagine the smell of a large wok sizzling and smoking, locking in the flavors of spices, chiles, and sauces.
Otherwise, the flavors that seem to define this jerky is a tangy, savory, blend of soy sauce, chili sauce, and green curry, but laden with a noticeable sesame oil. There's also a noticeable sweetness to balance it out. Overall, it's hard to not identify this jerky as having an Asian flavor.
There's a moderate amount of heat to this as well. I'd rank it as Medium on my personal heat scale (level 3 out of 5).
I don't pick up any natural meat flavors. The marinades and seasonings seem to overpower.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced into bite-sized pieces of medium thickness. There's a fair amount of smaller sized bits too.
This is a dry jerky with a sticky, oily surface feel. These pieces have a good deal of flexibility, and seem slightly rubbery.
The chewing texture starts out with that slight rubbery feel, and offers a fair amount of chewing resistance. A few chews into it and it starts to soften, taking on a very meaty resemblance, and by the time its chewed down to a soft mass, it has a steak-like feel, though a touch rubbery.
I don't see much fat on these pieces and found no gristle or tendon. I don't encounter any stringiness, but felt a few pieces of unchewable tissues. It's mostly all meaty.
In terms of clean eating, my fingertips pick up a fair amount of oil requiring a licking and wiping before I touch the keyboard.
Chef Craig's Beef Jerky sells this Black Thai variety from its website at a price of $29.50 for a 10-pack. Each package is 1.75oz. With shipping of $5.95 to Southern California, it works out to a price of $2.03 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $2.03 per ounce price, it's a great value. I'm getting a lot of delicious flavor from this jerky with an overall good meat consistency and good chewing texture. Compare to other brands of jerky sold in stores, it's priced about the same but offers far better flavor with good chewing.
As a Thai flavored beef jerky, at the same $2.03 per ounce price, it's a great value again. This has an unmistakable Thai flavor. The sesame oil, the garlic chili sauce, the green curry, all join forces to create a flavor that's hard to not identify as Thai cuisine.
I'm giving this a best rating.
This Black Thai jerky from Chef Craig's Beef Jerky woke up my senses and rang in the "wow factor" with flavors that touched all sensory zones on my tongue. The sweet, the salty, the pungent, the savory, the spicy, the tangy, it's all in these bite-sized chunks of meat.
First, I really love the sesame oil flavor on this because it works so well in giving the garlic chili sauce and green curry that extra bit of Asian-flavor. The pungent garlic and curry create a lot of contrasting flavors against the sesame oil and brown sugar, while the soy sauce adds the savory component that makes it satisfying to chew.
The meat consistency and chewing, overall, seem good. The oiliness on the fingertips can be nuisance if you're trying to snack while typing, driving, or channel surfing. And the chewing texture maintained a light rubbery character once chewed down. But overall, the chewing is still good and the flavor is so awesome you won't even notice it.
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