Flat rate shipping of $8 with FREE shipping on orders over $150.

Created with Sketch.


The History of Beef Jerky

Are you a fan of dried meat cuisines? Love trying different dishes with beef jerky? Let’s dig up some interesting facts about the origin of this preserving meat technique.

Have you ever given a thought about the origin and uniqueness of the many cuisines around the world? Do you love digging into the history and origin of the dishes you enjoy? Then this article is for you. Today we will explore more about the genesis of the beef jerky. Let’s begin our quest into the history of beef jerky by understanding the meaning of jerky.

Firstly, What is Beef Jerky?

Jerky is the name given to strips of lean meat that is dehydrated and rubbed with salt to preserve the meat for a longer time. Salting is done to prevent bacterial growth.

It is an excellent source of protein and a part of the global cuisine as you can find its presence across Asia, Africa, South, and North America.

What does the word Jerky mean?

The word “jerky” is derived from the Quechua word “ch’arki.” It means “dried, salted meat.” Quechua is the language most widely spoken by the Quechua people living in the Peruvian Andes. This goes on to say that Jerky was probably first used by the indigenous South American natives around the 1500’s.

The Quechua people hunt llamas and Alpaca, defat the meat, cut them into slices, and pound it. The meat was then salted and dried. It was either sun-dried or kept over the fire to remove the water content.

The Spanish people gave it the name Charqui adding the Hispanic influence to it. When the Spanish invaded the Americas, they witnessed the natives also following the practice of using dry meat from buffaloes, deer, and elks. Eventually, the word with the accent influence of the native Americans came to be called Jerky.

Why has Jerky become a popular snack across the world?

Adopting the drying and salting method of preserving meat gave people access to this high protein food at any time of the year. It could be carried with them conveniently anywhere, and it could be used as a ready-to-eat snack. This became common practice when food was scarce. During world war I, beef jerky was infused in their ration to give them an extra punch of energy.

Pemmican, The North American Version of Jerky

This form of dried meat is an improvisation over the original version of jerky. Here the North American Cree Indians preserved the concentrated fat and protein from large animals such as buffaloes and Elks. They added specific ingredients such as saskatoon berries, and cranberries were added to it for flavor. This type of preparation was available in the shredded form. Rawhide was used to store the shredded mixture of meat and dried berries.

Busting the Common Myth Surrounding Beef Jerky

Beef jerky is not a healthy food – Contrary to the common belief, Jerky has very low-fat content and is a high protein snack. This form of dried beef meat ranks at the top of the list of 7 high protein snacks that can also help people lose weight.

Other Fun Facts of Beef Jerky

  • Did you know that Beef Jerky has traveled to space? Yes! This dried meat snack was one of the popular food items sent to space for the astronauts during the ’90s. So, Beef Jerky is not just part of the global cuisine; it has traversed the space.
  • The dried meat shrinks to 1/3rd of its original size during the process. Now you know why these snacks are quite expensive and also offer more nutritional value than fresh meat per gram.
  • Beef Jerky was a popular snack among the native American cowboys who used to carry it with them while moving cattle.

Today people add a lot of various spices and seasonings to make this dried snack more palatable. The dried meat snack industry, which includes beef jerky, is a thriving industry. The main reasons why cuisines across the world favor this meat preparation is mainly due to three facts

  • It is readily available.
  • Is High on nutrition.
  • Lightweight and easy to carry.

Now you have enough reasons to include this in your cuisine as well.


  1. Charki = https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerky


Share this post