The History of Beef Jerky
What snack food do you think has been around longer than any other?
Want to bet it’s jerky? Europeans heard the Spanish word
for jerked meat, charque, and Anglicized it to a word that was
easier for them to pronounce - jerky. Many Hispanics also call
jerky carne seca, which means dried meat.
When the first Europeans arrived in the New World, they
found the indigenous peoples making and eating jerky from any
meat they hunted that could not all be eaten immediately. Dried
meat was added to either dried fruit or animal fat and called “pemmican” by
some of the American Indian tribes. The meat, which could be anything
from buffalo to whale, was cut into strips and hung on racks to
dry in the sun. This method of preserving meat was convenient for
the nomadic lifestyle of native tribes.
European pioneers quickly learned to make jerky for
themselves, realizing the importance of being able to easily
make and transport
such an important addition to their diet and recipes. And meat
could be hunted anywhere along the trails that led these brave
settlers to the West. Those early travelers came west on the Chisholm
Trail, the Santa Fe Trail, the Oregon Trail, moving slowly but
surely in Prairie
Schooner wagons drawn by horses or oxen, often stopping and making
homes for themselves along the way.
The most popular westward route wasn’t even traveled by
those wagons and horses. It was not born until 1926, so automobiles
were the vehicles of choice when people started in Chicago, Illinois
and went all the way to Los Angeles, California. Route
the nickname of this instantly popular road, whose official name
was US Highway 66. Since it was the shortest all-weather route
from east to west, it could be used year round.
The meat used by those early jerky makers had no preservatives.
It was low in fat and carbohydrates and would be close to the top
of the list of high protein foods. It would have fit the Atkins
Diet guidelines way back then. Today, beef jerky is still a popular
snack because of the many kinds of meat that can be used for this
versatile snack, and the
many flavors and spices that can be added to meat before drying.
At Route 66 Beef Jerky, you will
be asked that famous New Mexico question, “Red or green?” Their
beef jerky comes in both these flavors of famous Hatch Valley chiles,
along with peppered
and original flavors.