What is beef jerky? – A Brief History

What Is Beef Jerky?

Centuries ago the Indians of North America preserved buffalo meat by curing and smoking it while on the move. This dried meat had the name charqui, pronounced “sharkey” in Spanish. This means to “pull or cut into long strips.” Over the years the word changed and the meat became known as Jerky or jerked beef. In essence this is what our solid-strip Beef Jerky is – strips of lean top round steak, cured, smoked and flavoured. Moist and mouth watering.

Pioneer Food

The pioneers of North America learned of jerky from the Native Americans. Jerky was mainly eaten by those pioneers who were going to be away from civilisation for some time: mountain men, hunters and explorers. They used to trade with Native Americans for jerky, such was its versatility, food value and long life


African tribes too have dried meat in the sun to preserve it. The cured meat was, and still is in some parts, vital to sustain the tribes throughout the leaner months. This traditional food is now known as “Biltong” and is also eaten around the world.

Modern Day

These days, apart from tasting great, jerky is useful for all sorts of outdoor pursuits because it doesn’t melt like chocolate, crush like crisps or turn in to mush like sandwiches. Yachtsmen use jerky as a source of meat that doesn’t’t need a fridge. Bodybuilders like the low fat, high protein content. Kayakers, hillwalkers and anglers like it because it’s delicious, lightweight and nutritious.

Space Jerky

Beef Jerky has a long, colourful history and has even been used in space by several astronauts as a reminder of home.