Beef jerky is derived from marinating dried meat which is obviously sourced from beef. Next, it is then cured in salt in order to prevent it from rotting from bacteria. It is then stripped of fat, trimmed finely into strips and lastly seasoned with different spices. Beef jerky is highly renowned for its high protein and less fat content, hence making it a healthy, on-the-go snack.
You must be wondering that jerky is all about beef, but it is not. Eons and eons ago, the South American tribe of Quechua in Peru popularized the boning, curing, smoking, preserving of meat. In those days, Buffalo was the only source of meat and hence the very first type of jerky. They, hence, named this recipe Ch’arki which translates as “to burn meat”.
How was it Originated?
When the Spanish conquerors arrived on the shore of South America, they found that the natives there were adept in the preservation of dried meat products that can be easily carried while on travel. Then, various types of experimentation on dried meat was conducted. It expanded to venison, deer, elk and other wild animals.
As the natives were so good at finding meat anywhere, their special recipe Ch’arki was found out to be a crucial cooking method. The Spanish conquistadores found this method very valuable, and then they dispersed this method across North and South America. Hence the name, Charqui was born. Everyone favoured the term. This is how the term was evolved and jerky came into being.
How Was Beef Jerky Originally Made?
As mentioned above, buffalo was the earliest source of meat. After procuring the meat, it was prepared, hand-sliced into strips and then cured with salt. Next, the curated meat was furled inside the hide of the animal, dried under the sun, treated with mild smoke or dehydrated outside on the rocks, and then marinated for at least 2 to 3 days. Smoking the meat in the slow heat actually helps in finishing the cooking and drying process in about half a day.
This process was actually favoured by travellers and nomads because of the process of drying the meat in the sun and air-drying it needs longer stops in their crusades. Lastly, the original method of preservation process actually evoked its popularity, and because of this beef jerky is a yummy and a lightweight high-protein snack.