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, various hot peppers
The first flavors to hit my tongue is a light sweet and smoke. There's a bit of soy sauce flavor that comes in soon after. Some bits of heat start to ramp up. The chewing brings on more of the sweet and smoke, and some natural meat flavors.
How hot is "Ass Flamin' Hot"? Well, on my personal heat scale, I'd rate it as "medium" (level 3 out of 5). It's hotter than the company's "Hot" variety, but in context with other jerky brands that make claims of being super hot, this is rather tame.
Otherwise, the flavors that seem to define this jerky lies mainly with the sweet and smoky. Throw a little soy sauce marinade, some saltiness, and that's largely what this is. The "various hot peppers" listed in the ingredients" doesn't add any flavor. It's actually very comparable to the flavor of their "Original" variety, just with a moderate level of heat to it.
The meat consistency continues on as excellent, just as with Crazy Mike's other varieties. I see only small bits of fat here and there, otherwise it's all meat. These strips bite off easily and vary between chewing tender to chewy, though most are tender. They have a very meaty feel, and once chewed down soft, they feel just like pieces of real steak.
This "Ass Flamin' Hot" beef jerky from Crazy Mike's offers a good deal of brown sugar sweet, and real hickory wood smokiness. It actually is not as hot as the name suggests. It's perhaps moderately hot at best. The smoke flavor is largely the key flavor in this jerky. I feel there needs to be something else, perhaps the flavor of fresh habanero chiles, considering this is supposed to be "Ass Flamin' Hot". Otherwise, the meat consistency and chewing texture is the real winner in this jerky. And when paired up with the goodness of real wood smoke, it really creates a lot of snackability, and a taste of the real old west.
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