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!
There is exciting news in that Crazy Mike’s Beef Jerky is working on developing some new flavors set to be released in 2020. 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.
The next review for Crazy Mike’s Beef Jerky will focus on a 2.3 ounce/70 gram bag of their ghost peppered flavored beef jerky. This handcrafted ghost peppered beef jerky flavor is described as for those that love the original hickory flavor with some kick! The jerky was kindly submitted for review by the Founder/Owner, Mike Merwin.
Ingredients: Top Round Beef, Water, Wheat Gluten, Sugar, Salt, Soybean, Caramel Coloring, Ginger, Garlic, Ghost Pepper, 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. Ghost peppers are used to achieve the heat here, where hot peppers are healthy if eaten in moderation, which flushes toxins out of the body.
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.
CRAZY MIKE’S BEEF JERKY – GHOST PEPPERED BEEF JERKY
Written by guest jerky reviewer Paul Rekker
When I open the bag, I am surprised that I only smell the natural beef. I would have thought that the ghost pepper would have taken central ground. The jerky is basically uniform in size. It is medium, borderline large in size, and it is sliced rather thin. The outer hue of the jerky is rather dark, at least darker than usual. Not sure why that is, maybe more marinade than usual? The jerky is not soft, not hard, somewhere in-between, but it is rather easy to chew. This jerky texture leaves no oily residue on your fingers.
The first flavors I encounter are salt, at a spectacular level, garlic, again, at an excellent level. I also taste minimal sweet, and copious amounts of natural beef.
Now, let’s progress to the heat level. I definitely detect a kick, but by no means even remotely close to ghost pepper. Before I give up, I’m going to finish this strip of jerky and try another, in case the marinade isn’t consistent.
I just grabbed a smaller and thinner piece, this should determine all.
Okay, the second piece has been ravaged, and again, unfortunately, no ghost pepper flavor.
But, let’s take a step back and reassess, while this flavor has not lived up to it’s ‘ghost pepper’ moniker, it’s still A++++ tasting jerky. I cannot get it into my gaping pie hole quick enough, and the devour factor is over-the-top, holy frickin’ crap!!
Maybe Crazy Mike’s just needed to change the flavor name from ghost peppered to ‘crack’ peppered beef jerky, because this jerky is bloody crack in a bag. I know I’ve said this before, and meant it before, but now is no different, this jerky better not be packed in my suitcase to the Philippines, because the crack dogs will sniff it out from 10 miles away.
I suppose in keeping with our standards here at jerkyingredients.com, I have to deduct a point because it does not qualify as ghost pepper, but this jerky is some kind of ridiculously tasty, and I’m feeling like a traitor not giving it a 10/10. A very begrudging, please forgive me Mr. Crazy Mike’s, 9/10. If you multiply it by 6.4, divide it by the square root of Pi, and carry the 43.9 over the circumference of the hypotenuse, do we then come up with a 10/10?
Believe me Mr. Crazy Mike, I tried…
Here is what Stéphane had to say: “I share Paul’s feeling towards Crazy Mike’s Ghost Peppered Beef Jerky; it is packed with great flavors and I really appreciate the heat level. I like the flavor of hot peppers and do not care much for the pain and numbness sometimes associated with it. The bag states Ghost Pepper and it does not state at which heat level or make any promise of destroying anyone’s taste buds.”
“I would arguably say the somewhat lighter amount of Ghost pepper (approximately 2/5) is very nice and noticeable. I’ve noticed some variation in spiciness between strips. The spiciness does not melt anyone’s fillings in any way and I find, it simply opens up my taste buds and brings out all the other flavors in the forefront.
I really enjoyed Crazy Mike’s Ghost Peppered Beef Jerky and I believe most people will likely feel the same way. It is a very tasty representation of Ghost Pepper and it is definitely worth an Excellent 10/10 taste rating in my own opinion.”
Here is what Mark had to say about this ghost peppered beef jerky flavor from Crazy Mike’s Beef Jerky: “Thanks Stéphane and Paul for the wickedly descriptive taste reviews. As a jerky reviewer, there are generally three levels of hot: spicy, hot, and ghost pepper/Carolina reaper. Similar to Paul, after I finished my first strip, I felt a wave of disappointment as the jerky strip was definitely in the mildly spicy level camp.
While I can understand why, it pisses me off that jerky makers pander to the masses (Stéphane) instead of to the true spicy aficionados (Paul and I) who can handle the heat. Yes, totally agreed that the base flavor is fantastically addictive being deeply marinated as with all of Crazy Mike’s Beef Jerky flavors.”
“This jerky was shared between the Group of Seven including four other people, where eight of them were only given one strip, or half a strip. The reactions to the heat level were all over the map, where it’s true that the ghost peppers are not evenly distributed between the jerky strips, or bite to bite.”
“Stéphane and I have had many heated arguments about this exact issue regarding ghost pepper heat levels over the years, where we have almost come to blows on multiple occasions, and this review is no exception. 😉 A ghost peppered flavor name simply infers an expected sort of heat level in my humble opinion. If this flavor were named spicy, I would happily have awarded a 10 taste rating. Stéphane and I will agree to disagree as usual in this case regarding ghost pepper or Carolina reaper flavors. Stéphane, I challenge you to a duel!”
Paul and Stéphane could have written the most compelling taste reviews in history here to justify a 10 taste rating. Regardless, I would have absolutely refused to bend here, and award a Very Good (9/10) taste rating as this flavor heat level simply does not live up to the Ghost Peppered name. It’s not even close or up for discussion.”
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 Crazy Mike’s Beef Jerky.
Order their jerky online: www.crazymikesjerky.com