No one knows the true origins of dried meats (jerky), but it is believed that early people found that drying large amounts of meat lasted longer than fresh meat. Drying meat has been traced back as far as the Ancient Egyptians and was produced in masse during the last 500 years of ancient rule in Egypt.
"In south America, where there has been a plentitude of meat for hundreds of years, simple drying traditions survive, at least among the poor. The Native Americans on the arid southern borderlands sun-dried venison and buffalo, and one can still find dried beef in the form of tassajo, which is made with strips of meat dipped in maize flour, dried in the hot sun and wind, then tightly rolled up into balls to be carried easily on journeys."
---Pickled, Potted and Canned: How the Art and Science of Food Preserving Changed the World,
Sue Shepard [Simon & Schuster:New York] 2000 (p. 34)
The modern American jerked beef is derived from thin slices of air-dried meat called "charqui" pronounced (ch'arki) meaning dried meat. This name was derived from the Spanish sailors who would cut the meat into strips and hang it on the rigging of their ships to dry. When the Spanish arrived in the Americas the Indians, who had a similar drying process, adopted the word and pronounced it jerky.
Some other interesting facts about this meat is that it is also known by other names in other parts of the world. In Hawaii, jerky is referred to as "Pipikaula", in many African countries it is known as "Biltong", and American Indians mix it with dried fruit and fat and call it "Pemmican".
So now that you know a little about the history of this ideal healthy snack, go to our On Line Products page and check out the many different kinds of Jerky that we provide.