Lia's relatives hail from Laos, where they raised cows and produced dried beef for market. When they visited the USA, they would make small batches of this dried beef for Lia's family. The snack became a huge hit, and a business idea was born. Crouching Cow's beef jerky is made from eye of round with minimal spices and a crispy consistency.
This Spicy is described as being made similarly to the company's Original, but tossed in a mixture of chili oil and chili flakes.
Beef, garlic, sugar, salt, soy sauce, black pepper, white sesame seed
The first flavors that hit my palate is a sweetness, followed by a light salt, and touches of sesame and garlic. The heat starts to build. I can also pick up the red chili pepper flavor. An oily flavor, much like pan-fried beef that comes in. The chewing brings on a unique, Asian-flavor, very much like the pan-fried beef but in greater definition.
Considering this brand advertises its ancient Laotian techniques in making dried beef, it definitely has that ethnic, South-Asian character. It actually has a pan-fried smokiness too. I actually envision myself in an Asian food market smelling the smoke billowing from an outdoor grill.
Overall, the primary taste profile is a natural meat flavor that tastes like it was wok-fried, or pan-fried, in some kind of oil, perhaps sesame, and flavored with soy sauce and garlic. The sweetness makes a significant contribution. The red chili pepper adds a lighter flavor. The saltiness tastes light.
The level of heat rates on my scale as "medium" (level 3 out of 5). It's hot enough to satisfy most spicy food addicts, but not so hot that it makes you pause for a drink.
The meat consistency appears to be all meat with no fat visible, though at least one piece I ate had some kind of unchewable tissue. It looks wet and sticky, and it is in fact sticky and oily to touch. But it chews dry with just a touch of initial crisp. Chewing seems overall easy to moderate, and takes on the texture of a well-done cooked steak.
This Spicy variety from Crouching Cow Beef Co. is much like the Original I reviewed last week, but offering a fair amount of heat and chili pepper flavor. Otherwise, this jerky delivers a flavor not found in another other brand. It actually tastes like it was made by Laotians, for Laotians, and nothing Americanized for mainstream audiences. Many other brands, on the other hand, have tried to reproduce the Asian cooking flavors in jerky, and many have done a good job, yet they still carry an American taste and chewing profile.
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