Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

jerky a name derived via Spanish from the native Peruvian charqui, meaning dried meat. The noun spawned a verb. Jerking meat consists in cutting it up into long strips and then drying these in the sun or at a fire. The practice was widespread among American Indians and among colonists in pioneering days. In modern times jerky occupies a niche in the nostalgic realm of ‘trail foods’.

For the S. African equivalent, see biltong. For purely air-dried meats, see bündnerfleisch; bresaola. For a similar but more complex product, see pemmican.