Mike, who's known by his friends as "Crazy Mike", had been making jerky himself since 1994 when a friend bought him a dehydrator on a BOGO deal after watching a late night infomercial. Mike had been making homebrew and winning chili cook-offs at the time, so making jerky was right up his alley.
Crazy Mike's Beef Jerky is made from USDA Choice Beef, Eye Round, hickory smoked, and then slow cooked. It currently sells online from its website, as well as in one of Mike's friend's bars.
USDA Choice Beef, water, wheat gluten, salt, soybeans, sugar, ginger, garlic, caramel coloring, natural hickory smoke flavoring.
The first flavors to hit my tongue is a light sweet and a smokiness. There's a touch of soy sauce coming in afterwards. The chewing brings on a bit more sweetness, along with more of the smoke, and some natural meat flavors. I can also pick up some light seasonings.
Definitely, the flavors that define this jerky is hickory smoke, sweet, and the light soy sauce. The hickory smoke has that "real wood smoked" character, which really gives this jerky its signature profile. The garlic and ginger seasonings listed in the ingredients are not well noticeable on their own, but they do seem to add to the overall taste of this jerky.
As the company's "Original" flavor, this jerky is very mild, with no spiciness or heat. But it's still very flavorable with its smoky and sweet character. The level of saltiness seems just right.
The meat consistency looks excellent, seeing only small bits of fat here and there. These strips bite off easily and vary between chewing tender to chewy. They have a very meaty feel, and once chewed down soft, they feel just like pieces of real steak.
This Original beef jerky from Crazy Mike's actually is "crazy good" mostly for its rich, real wood smoke flavor, and it's excellent meat consistency. I really like the meaty, steak-like chewing, and the flavor of real, hickory smoke. The overall flavor itself is rather simple, and one-dimensional, with the smoke flavor being the only spotlighted taste. But, it's a great base to launch an array of derivative flavors.
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