The next review for Crazy Mike’s Beef Jerky will focus on a 2.3 ounce/70 gram bag of their original hickory flavored beef jerky. We previously reviewed this hickory flavor in September 2017, where the bag design has since changed, and how the jerky is dried has changed. This handcrafted original hickory beef jerky flavor is described as a tried and true recipe since 1994, with a proprietary marinade mix that permeates without overpowering the top round beef to fill your taste buds with wonderful flavors. The jerky was kindly submitted for review by the Founder/Owner, Mike Merwin.
From his origins on the family farm in Northeast Montana circa 1970s, Mike has always loved beef jerky; but had to settle for mediocre brands. He perfected his recipe in 1994 while in the U.S. Navy after a failed search for a great tasting, high protein beef jerky snack to re-fuel his body after exhaustive workouts. “Crazy Mike” was dubbed by his friends due to his passion for life and his crazy adventures. Skydiving from 14,000 feet, scuba diving past 100 feet, marathons, triathlons, 100-mile bicycle rides, and globe-trotting underwater on nuclear submarines to name a few! This Crazy Mike’s Beef Jerky brand name is located in Altamont, New York, and it is distributed under the name of Crazy Mike’s Beef Jerky Company, LLC.
Ingredients: Top Round Beef, Water, Wheat Gluten, Sugar, Salt, Soybean, Caramel Coloring, Ginger, Garlic, Natural Hickory Liquid Smoke. Less Than 0.1% Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Sorbate (Preservatives). Allergen Warnings: Soy, Wheat
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 only liquid marinade used here is plain old water. There are soybeans and wheat used, but soy sauce itself is not a listed ingredient.
Many people consider garlic and ginger to be in the superfood group. Garlic is part of the allium family, which interestingly heals people differently depending on an individual’s needs.
The sugar level is good at 2 grams of sugar per 28 grams of jerky. The salt level is high at 470mg of salt per 28 grams of jerky to lose a rating. Our preference is 350mg of salt or less per 28 grams of jerky.
This jerky does not qualify to have no sodium nitrite, where similar preservatives sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate are used to lose a rating. Commendably, there is no MSG added.
Alright (6/10) – Ingredient Rating
These strips of jerky are small to medium in size, and sliced thin. The texture is sort of in between soft and dry, which is fairly easy to chew being so thinly cut. The aroma is of an unmistakable hickory smoke flavor.
The first flavor encountered is a moderately strong level of hickory smoke. That is followed by a moderately strong level of soy, and a little bit of sweetness to balance this flavor. Also detected is a mild to medium level of saltiness, and a light level of garlic. All along is a decent amount of natural beef flavor.
Here is what Paul had to say about this flavor, who historically has a hard time detecting smoke flavor: “When I bite into the jerky I taste salt, pepper, garlic, a juice, which I’ll guess is pineapple juice, not much in the line of sweet, which is good. The hickory flavor is lightly coming through in the background, but it is not prominent, which I would have presumed would be so in light of the fact that this jerky is listed as such, but not really delivering on that statement to a satisfactory level. I really am enjoying this flavor, but nothing is really jumping out at me, it’s not bringing out my colorful verbiage, my articulate fawning, so I am awarding this flavor of jerky as a 9/10, but would settle for an 8/10.”
Stephane and I disagree with Paul, where both the smell and taste of hickory smoke is abundantly apparent. This flavor delivers on how its advertised. Personally, I could not get enough of this flavor, and found it to be extremely addictive, where I kept reaching into the bag until it was empty far too early. This Original Hickory flavor is downright delicious and tastes like more. As for the Group of Seven, the less experienced jerky reviewers inserted their personal biases into their ratings. Here are the official ratings between the Group of Seven (Mark – 10, Paul – 9, Stephane – 10, Nolan – 9, Mark M. – 9.5, Sid – 8, Ava – 7).
A 2.3 ounce/65 gram bag sells online for $6.97. That works out to $3.03 an ounce, which rates as an expensive price.
Excellent (10/10) – Taste Rating
This resealable clear plastic bag has a label affixed to the front, and nothing on the back. Crazy Mike’s Beef Jerky logo has a blue, red, and white depiction of Crazy Mike himself.
Some slogans printed on this bag are “It’s not good… It’s CRAZY GOOD” and “When it’s snack TIME… It’s TIME for Crazy Mike’s”. Some facts printed on this bag are “Proudly Made in the U.S.A.”, “USA Veteran Owned Business”, and “High Protein”.
The only minor bag category missing is the jerky weight is not stated in grams. A good blurb is printed about Crazy Mike’s Beef Jerky.
Order their jerky online: www.crazymikesjerky.com
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