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. Some soy sauce flavor comes in next, while a faint bit of heat comes on. The chewing brings on more of the sweet and smoke, along with a natural meat flavor.
For being identified as "Hot", it kinda fits the bill. There definitely is a low level of heat to this that stems from some kind of chile pepper. It certainly is not "Hot" however. On my personal heat scale, I'd rate this as "mild-medium" (level 2 out of 5). The heat is still light enough that I think it's tolerable for most people.
I don't really pick up any chile pepper flavor.
Otherwise, the flavors that define this jerky are pretty much the same as with the company's "Original" flavor, sweet and smoke. It's the same real wood hickory smoke, which actually takes over the spotlight ingredient. There's also a light soy sauce marinade and the natural meat flavors.
The meat consistency looks excellent. 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 Hot beef jerky from Crazy Mike's tastes much like the company's, "Original" variety, but with a light amount of heat. Even though the ingredients shows "various hot peppers", I don't taste any chile pepper flavor. The real wood smoke flavoring remains the star of this jerky, along with the excellent meat consistency and chewing. Overall, it's still quite tasty and delicious as a hickory smoked jerky, and worth the buy over the big national brands. I still find this one rather one-dimensional in flavor, however, with the smoke as the only significant ingredient.
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