Jerky has been around for a while, dating back to at least 1550. In fact the term jerky comes to us from the Quechua tribe in South America, a part of the great Inca Empire. They used the word “ch’arki” which mean “to burn” meat.
1 pound of meat is reduced to 4 ounces of jerky by drying it, normal in a salt cure, for use at a later date. It hardly ever goes bad and is low fat, low calories, and low carbs. The meat is trimmed of it’s fat before the curing stages which produces a nutrient rich treat capable of replacing a meal if so required. Cowboys driving cattle on the open ranges often ate jerky while in the saddle. It was easy to carry, didn’t go bad and required only your fingers and at least two matching teeth to chew.
Today it continues to be a healthy snack. Even the astronauts have chosen it repeatedly to carry into space with them. Most jerky today is made from bovine, but across the world there are numerous other types of meat used to create it. Many include: pork, goat, mutton, lamb, deer, kudu, springbor, kangaroo, bison, turkey, ostrich, salmon, alligator, tuna, emu, horse, camel, and earthworm.
National Jerky Day was founded by Jack Link’s beef in 2012.
How to celebrate: Try some jerky. Make your own jerky. Try a type of jerky you have never tried before.