Also called jerked meat, jerky is meat (usually beef, duck or venison) that is cut into long, thin strips and dried (traditionally by the sun). Jerky was a popular staple with early trappers, just as it is with today’s backpackers because it keeps almost indefinitely and is light and easy to transport. It’s quite tough and salty but is very flavorful and high in protein.
Jerky is lean meat that has been trimmed of fat, cut into strips, and then dried to prevent spoilage. Normally, this drying includes the addition of salt, to prevent bacteria from developing on the meat before sufficient moisture has been removed. The word “jerky” derived from the Quechua word ch’arki which means “dried, salted meat”. All that is needed to produce basic “jerky” is a low-temperature drying method, and salt to inhibit bacterial growth.