The first review on Chef Craig’s Beef Jerky will focus on a 1.75 ounce/50 gram bag of their original flavored beef jerky. The flavor is described as having a dry, chewy texture that is slightly spicy with a good deal of sweet and smokiness. This flavor was kindly submitted for review by the founder, Chef Craig Mitchell.
The Chef Craig’s Beef Jerky jerky brand name is distributed by CJM Products, located in West Kingston, Rhode Island. Craig received a Culinary Arts degree from Johnson & Wales University, and has been cooking professionally since 1978. After receiving enough positive feedback and demand from friends about his homemade beef jerky, Craig started researching launching a jerky company. In October 2011, the Chef Craig’s Beef Jerky brand name was launched.
Ingredients: Beef, Brown Sugar, Soy Sauce (Water, Salt, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Corn Syrup, Caramel Color, Potassium Sorbate), Hot Sauce (Aged Cayenne Red Peppers, Vinegar, Water, Salt, and Garlic Powder), Liquid Smoke (Water, Natural Hickory Smoke Concentrate), Browning Sauce (Caramel, Vegetable Base (Water, Carrots, Onions, Celery, Parsnips, Turnips, Salt, Parsley, Spices), Sodium Benzoate (Less than 0.1 of 1% to Preserve Freshness), Worcestershire Sauce (Distilled White Vinegar, Molasses, Sugar, Water, Salt, Onions, Anchovies, Garlic, Cloves, Tamarind Extract, Natural Flavorings, Chili Pepper Extract), Black Pepper, Steak Seasoning (Kosher Salt, Pepper, Dehydrated Garlic and Spices), Red Pepper, Lemon Pepper (Dextrose, Salt, Pepper, Dehydrated Onion, Dehydrated Garlic, Citric Acid, and Lemon Oil), Garlic, Onion, Chili Powder, Chipotle Chile Powder. Allergen Warnings: Soy, Anchovies
The beef used is not guaranteed to be free of growth hormones or additional antibiotics. Also, the beef is not guaranteed to have at least partial free range access to graze on grass. As a result, the highest ingredient rating that can be awarded is a Good (8/10) rating.
The liquid marinade is comprised of a bad soy sauce, a good hot sauce, a decent liquid smoke, a decent browning sauce, and a good Worcestershire sauce.
There are several healthy spices added such as black pepper, chili powder, and chipotle powder. A number of healthy vegetables are used such as carrots, onions, garlic, celery, parsnips, and turnips.
There is no nutrition facts table provided. As a result, the exact sugar and salt levels are unknown.
This jerky does qualify to be sodium nitrite free, nor does it use any other unhealthy preservatives. Instead, salt is the main preservative used.
This jerky does not qualify to be MSG free because the highly processed flavor enhancer hydrolyzed soy protein is used. Being hydrolyzed, that also makes it an unhealthy form of trans fat.
Decent (7/10) – Ingredient Rating
These strips of jerky are mostly small in size, and almost sliced thin. There is a dry texture, but not overly dry. Apart from the odd piece of jerky that is a hard wad to chew, this jerky is relatively easy to chew. There are very little visible signs of fat, and handling this jerky does leave an oily residue on your fingers.
The first taste detected is a moderate soy flavor mixed in with Worcestershire sauce. Then a bunch of other flavors set it. While there is a moderate sweetness with this flavor, it is largely masked by a strong combination of other flavors. As advertised, there is a noticeable hickory smoked taste in the background. A pleasant mild mixture of garlic and onion, and perhaps the other vegetables add to the overall flavor.
The spiciness starts off slowly, and does not exceed a 1 or 2 out of 4 on the heat scale depending on your tolerance for spiciness. There is a moderate salt level, and a light peppered level. A light tang is detected from the lemon flavor. All along there is a decent amount of natural beef flavor. Overall, for an original flavor, this is extremely flavorful and tasty, which does not disappoint, and is very addictive.
A 1.75 ounce/50 gram bag of jerky sells online for $3.60 if you buy a minimum of five bags for $18. That works out to $2.05 an ounce, which rates as an average price. This jerky is absolutely recommended from a taste perspective.
Excellent (10/10) – Taste Rating
This is a fairly small and narrow clear plastic bag that is not resealable. There is a label affixed to the front, and nothing on the back. The most important feature is that it’s vacuum sealed, the best method to keep jerky fresh.
The logo is interesting with a human skull wearing a chef’s hat, and various kitchen utensils to make an ‘X’ through the skull. There are no slogans printed on this bag. The only fact displayed is “Smoke Flavor Added”.
There are some bag categories missing such as a nutrition facts table, soy and anchovy allergen alerts, the jerky weight not stated in grams, slits to easily open the bag, and a best before date. There is no blurb printed about this jerky or flavor, but granted there is no available room.
Order their jerky online: www.chefcraigsbeefjerky.com/
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