Monday, February 28, 2022

Homegrown Meats Beef Jerky - Cracked Black Pepper

homegrown meats beef jerky
Homegrown Meats is a brand that launched in 2011, owned by a group of ranchers who've farmed the Palomar Mountain area of Southern California going back into the mid-1800s. They began marketing their steaks and cuts of beef to Whole Foods Markets shortly thereafter.

In 2016, they launched a line of jerky, and Whole Foods Market picked it up only for their Southern California market. However, in October 2018, Whole Foods announced it would begin selling Homegrown Meats Jerky nationwide, with a four of the company's specialized flavors, "Joel's Traditional", "Cracked Black Pepper", "Western Mesquite Barbecue", and "Paleo". The jerky is marked as, "gluten free" and "certified grass fed".

This Cracked Black Pepper variety, according Homegrown Meats, is described as being, "simple and straightforward", going on to say that it's made with, "coarse-cracked black pepper and that perfect touch of brown sugar".


Certified Grass-Fed Beef, gluten-free tamari sauce, organic brown sugar, worcestershire sauce, natural smoke flavor, garlic, lemon juice, ground pepper, sea salt, onion


The first flavors I pick up on the tongue is a light soy sauce with a faint bit of sweet. A light garlic comes in while a slow black pepper makes it way in. The chewing brings on a more rich natural meat flavor with a slightly increased soy sauce definition, and touch a bit more sweet. The black pepper continues to slowly build.

For being marketed as, "Cracked Black Pepper", the flavor itself remains a light component with a light bit of spiciness. The black pepper is there, but doesn't really define the overall flavor, it's just there to enhance the recipe. As for being, "cracked", the black pepper has a bit more of a sharp flavor than just typical granulated pepper, but not quite that freshly cracked flavor. The black pepper does eventually increase its spice over several pieces, and generates a "mild medium" on our heat scale (level 2/5).

Otherwise, the primary taste profile is a rich natural meat flavor with a moderate soy sauce marinade, a noticeable garlic, sweet, and black pepper.

The meat consistency seems a bit more chewy than Homegrown Meats' other flavors, and sliced a bit more thick too. It still, however, generates a lot of meaty chewing, and chews down into something very steak-like. I did find a bit more stringiness in this, but overall, the meaty, steak-like chewing helps create that classic Old West style that this jerky seems to characterize.

looks to be slices of beef brisket, cut somewhat thin. Most of the slices in this sample are lean, though a few had some spots of fat. The fat has an aged character that generates a lot of beefy flavor when bitten into. Most of the pieces are easy to chew, yet offer up a moderate chewiness. Once chewed down soft, they take on a very meaty, almost steak-like texture. Some stringiness is noted.


This Cracked Black Pepper beef jerky from Homegrown Meats produces some great natural meat flavor, something you'd expect to find in a brand that markets itself as grass-fed and all natural. It's definitely simple and straightforward, just as the company claims it to be. Otherwise, it's a simple soy sauce marinade with the usual touches of garlic, brown sugar, and black pepper. While the black pepper is meant to be this jerky's primary taste component, it's still secondary to the natural meat flavors, and more or less adds a light bit of spice. We love the meaty, steak-like chewing texture in this, and the overall Old West style.

Rating: Good (4/5)

cracked black pepper beef jerky

cracked black pepper beef jerky


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