The History of Beef Jerky: How it Became a Popular Snack

the history of beef jerky

Beef jerky has been around for centuries, and its history is a fascinating story of survival, innovation, and global exploration. The ancient practice of drying the meat to preserve it dates back to prehistoric times, and it was used by indigenous peoples all over the world to store food for later use. Jerky is a lightweight, high-energy food that could be easily transported and stored. It was also a great source of protein, which was essential for maintaining strength and stamina during long periods of travel.

The first recorded use of jerky can be traced back to the Incas in South America, who dried strips of llamas and alpaca meat to make portable, high-energy food for their soldiers. The word “jerky” comes from the Quechuan word “ch’arki,” which means “dried meat.” The Incas were not the only ancient civilization to make jerky, Native Americans also made it from buffalo, deer, elk, and other game. They would dry the meat by the sun and wind and then pound it into a powder to make it more portable. This method of drying meat was a great way to preserve food and make it last longer, it was also a great way to carry food during hunting or travelling.

the history of beef jerky

Jerky made its way to the rest of the world through the early explorers and settlers who came to the Americas. Spanish Conquistadors, American pioneers, and cowboys all relied on jerky as a staple food during their journeys. They used to dry the meat by the sun and wind, and then pound it into a powder to make it more portable.

In the late 19th century, the industrial revolution brought new methods of food preservation, such as canning, freezing, and refrigeration. These innovations made it possible to produce and distribute jerky on a larger scale. The first commercial jerky production in the US was established in the late 1800s and it was made primarily from buffalo meat. With the new methods of preservation, jerky could be made from different types of meat and it could be stored for longer periods of time.

In the early 20th century, beef jerky began to gain popularity as a snack food. The invention of the mechanical meat slicer made it possible to produce uniform, thin slices of beef, which were then marinated, seasoned, and dried to create a tasty and convenient snack. The first beef jerky factory was established in California in the 1920s and it was called “Old Trapper.” The factory’s jerky was distributed to the military and it became a popular food item among the soldiers. The military’s high demand for jerky led to the creation of more factories and more flavours.

During World War II, jerky was included in the soldiers’ rations, and it became a popular snack among the troops. After the war, veterans came back home with a taste for jerky and it became a popular snack food. In the 1960s and 1970s, jerky’s popularity continued to grow as it was marketed as a healthy and convenient snack for people on the go. With the rise of the health and fitness trend, jerky became a popular snack among athletes and fitness enthusiasts.

Today, beef jerky is a popular snack all over the world, enjoyed by people of all ages. The jerky industry has grown exponentially and it offers a wide variety of flavours, textures, and styles to suit every taste. From traditional dried meat to modern, flavoured and marinated jerky, the options are endless.

In conclusion, beef jerky has a rich history that spans thousands of years, and it has evolved from a survival food to a popular snack. From the Incas to the American pioneers, cowboys, and soldiers, jerky has been a valuable source of sustenance, and it continues to be so today. With its high protein, low fat, and easy to carry, it’s a perfect snack that satisfies your hunger and cravings. Try our premium beef jerky today, and experience the taste, texture and quality of true traditional beef jerky.