[Sca-cooks] Meat Jerky

Johnna Holloway johnnae at mac.com
Mon Jul 5 03:59:57 PDT 2010

In the Encyclopedia of Food & Culture in the entry  Meat, Smoked

In South America, long strips of dried meat are called charqui, which  
has come into English as "jerky" as the name for a snack made from  
beef or turkey.


Under Canada: Native Peoples
The Plains Peoples

The Plains Peoples (Blackfoot, Blood, Peigan, Gros Ventre, Cree,  
Assiniboine, Sioux, and Sarcee [Tsuu T'ina]) followed buffalo  
migrations. snipped Jerky was prepared by sundrying strips of meat,  
which were pounded almost into a powder and then mixed with buffalo  
fat and berries to make pemmican. Stored in a buffalo skin, it  
remained edible for years, and early European settlers and fur traders  
depended upon it.


Under Preserving and then under Drying

Drying occurs naturally with food left in the sun, or on the vine,  
like beans, or grapes. Some foods, like apples and tomatoes, are  
generally cut into smaller pieces for drying, a practice which allows  
the moisture to uniformly evaporate. Herbs are frequently dried whole  
and on the stem. Low humidity, heat, and air circulation are important  
so that mold does not occur. Meats and fish can be dried to the point  
of extreme desiccation, resulting in a product usually called jerky.


I checked the Oxford Reference set:

jerky, jerked beef   South American dried meat. See biltong; charqui.

How to cite this entry:
"jerky, jerked beef"  A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition. Ed. David A.  

OED says jerky  noun
ad. American Sp. charqui, charque (Pg. xarque), from native Peruvian  
Jerked beef.

1890 in Cent. Dict. 1893 E. COUES Lewis & Clark I. 31 The word as a  
verb is now generally spelled jerk, and jerked meat is known as jerky.

Charqui which is linked to this entry says:
[Quichua (Peruvian) ccharqui dried slice of flesh or hung beef. The  
corruption jerkin occurs in Captain J. Smith a 1612, and jerk vb. in  
Anson a 1748.]

     Beef prepared for keeping by cutting into thin slices and drying  
in the wind and sun; ‘jerked’ beef (the latter being a corruption of  
this word).

1760-72 tr. Juan & Ulloa's Voy. II. VIII. ix. 271 [Chili]..supplies  
[Peru] with wheat..besides sole leather..Grassa, Charqui, and neat  
tongues. 1845 DARWIN Voy. Nat. xii. (1873) 260 The miners are allowed  
a little charqui.

Jerk as a verb
[Corrupted from American Sp. charque-ar in same sense, f. charque,  
charqui, ad. Quichua (Peruvian) ccharqui ‘dried flesh, unsalted, in  
long strips’. The verb in Quichua was ccharquini ‘to prepare dried  
meat, to jerk’, whence perh. the early cognate JERKIN n.3 The word is  
now used in all parts of Spanish America, and was app. found by  
English navigators in Spanish use in the W. Indies. (See Skeat, Trans.  
Philol. Soc. 1885, 94.)]

     trans. To cure (meat, esp. beef) by cutting it into long thin  
slices and drying it in the sun.

1707 SLOANE Jamaica I. p. xvi, They [the wild hogs] are shot,..cut  
open, the bones taken out, and the flesh gash'd on the inside into the  
skin, filled with salt, and exposed to the sun, which is called  
Jirking. 1748 Anson's Voy. III. ii. 305 He..was sent here with twenty- 
two Indians to jerk beef.


On Jul 5, 2010, at 12:52 AM, Terry Decker wrote:

> To the best of my knowledge, dried and smoked meats pre-date the  
> Jews. Drying meats and cooking begin in the Middle Paleolithic  
> between 30,000 and 300,00 yers ago.  There is some evidence to  
> suggest that the practice is at least 110,000 years old.  The Jewish  
> people trace their roots to the Biblical patriarchs about 4,000  
> years ago with Judaism becoming established within the millenia  
> following.  I don't think one can blame the Jews for jerky.
> Bear
>> I have come into some controversy about meat jerky. My latest is  
>> that it is of Jewish origin???
>> Suey
> _

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