Saturday, March 3, 2012

Nomad Grass-Fed Beef Jerky - Black Pepper

nomad grass-fed jerkyNomad Grass-Fed Beef Jerky is a relatively new jerky brand based out of West Des Moines, IA. The company was founded by Bill Van Werden, who had been making jerky for 15 years for friends and family.

The recent "Paleolithic Diet" caused Van Werden to focus on using grass-fed beef, sourced from cattle in Dorchester, IA. Even the name "Nomad" suggests the concept of early man traveling with herds of caribou and woolly mammoths.

Thus far the company produces only two flavors, this Black Pepper, and a Chipotle Curry.


Beef, sea salt, onion powder, black pepper, garlic powder, coriander, tumeric, natural hickory smoke flavor, sodium nitrite


The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a smoky flavor, followed by a light black pepper flavor.

The chewing flavor adds mostly a light natural meat flavor to the surface flavors, while the black pepper continues to increase its effect.

For being marketed as a Black Pepper variety of beef jerky, I do taste a fair amount of black pepper flavor, but it's not overwhelming. These pieces are liberally covered with grated black pepper bits.

And as for this being grass-fed beef instead of grain-fed, I don't taste anything different, and I'm not certain I'm supposed to. The grass-fed concept has mostly to do with health benefits.

The natural meat flavors are noticeable to a very light degree.

Otherwise, the primary flavor I'm picking up in this jerky is largely the hickory smoke flavor, followed by a moderate bite of black pepper, and a light saltiness.

Meat Consistency

These are slices of whole meat, sliced into strips of about four to five inches in length, and sliced thick.

This a dry jerky with a dry surface feel. The strips have little flexibility in that they crack open easily. Biting off chunks requires a little gnawing and pulling, while chewing seems to be overall moderate to chewy.

The chewing texture starts out feeling dry and woody with a fair amount of initial chewing resistance. But it seems to break down quickly after several chews. Once chewed down to a soft mass, it seems to have a steak-like texture, similar to one cooked medium-well.

I can see small streaks of fat on most strips, though I didn't notice any gristle. But I do feel quite a bit of stringy tissues in the chewing.

As for clean eating, I don't get any residue stuck to my fingers, though a small amount of black pepper falls from these strips while trying to bite off pieces.

peppered beef jerky

black pepper beef jerky
Snack Value

Nomad Grass-Fed Jerky sells this Black Pepper variety from its website at a price of $6.50 for a 2oz package. Shipping is free when you buy 11 or more packages. If you bought 12 packages, it works out to a price of $3.25 per ounce.

For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $3.25 per ounce price, it's a weak value. I get a moderate level of snackability from this jerky's satisfactory flavor, and good meat consistency. Compared to other grass-fed jerky brands I've reviewed, it's comparably priced, but seems to offer less snacking satisfaction.


nomad jerky nutritionI'm giving this an average rating.

This Black Pepper variety from Nomad Grass-Fed Jerky offers up mostly a hickory smoke flavor with a fair amount of black pepper bite. Aside from that, there's a light saltiness, and faint bit of natural meat flavor.

If grass-fed beef is important to you, then perhaps there's some value in this. But as a general jerky aficionado, I'm not really getting much excitement in the flavor. It seems to pack the same wallop as the plain flavor of Jack Links.

But it's a better meat consistency that Jacks, and seems to chew like real meat.

My recommended beer pairing for this, go with a brown ale. Try Big Sky Brewing's Moose Drool, or Rogue's Hazelnut Brown.

Rating: Average

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