The invention of jerky arose naturally as a way to preserve meat. Especially in days when refrigeration was not an option, people needed alternative methods to keep food from going bad. Drying was one of the best methods. The first evidence of jerky, as with many things, came from ancient Egypt. Archaeologists have stumbled upon dried meat stored in tombs, placed there by priests as sustenance for the soul’s journey to the afterlife. Remarkably, this food source stays perfectly preserved over thousands of years. Although it wouldn’t be suitable for eating – and inappropriate to ingest such a relic of history – dehydrated meat is not vulnerable to decay or insects. Nowadays, we love our buffalo jerky for not only its shelf life but the delicious flavor of our premium local buffalo meat.
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This dried meat preparation spanned the globe in ancient times, with evidence of its use throughout Africa, Rome, and elsewhere. The word “jerky” actually has its roots in South America, and evolved from the Quechua word ch’arki. This Amazonian tribe developed a method to preserve the meat of llamas and alpaca. They cut meat into strips which was then pounded thin and generously salted. It could then be sun-dried or smoked over a fire. Beck & Bulow jerky comes from our beyond organic buffalo meat, pasture-raised on our 20,000 acre ranch in New Mexico.
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The evolution of the word jerky is largely thanks to the Spanish Conquistadors. When they came in contact with the Quechua, they adopted this name and put it into written form as “charqui”. When the Spanish moved on into North America, they came in contact with Native Americans who had similar methods of preserving meat. They continued to refer to this dried meat as charqui, and before long native peoples began to use this term. However, when the word was pronounced with a native accent, it came out sounding like “jerky”. Thus, jerky as we know it was born. The buffalo jerky we offer for sale is made from whole strips of muscle meat, the way it was traditionally made across the globe.
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A highly useful form of sustenance, jerky was a staple food for many cultures. High protein and very transportable, it was a good choice for warriors and hunters to take on excursions. It could easily be stored for winter and other times of food scarcity. A common Native American preparation known as wasna, or pemmican, involves pounding the meat together with tallow and chokecherries or other fruit. The mixture of protein, fat and carbohydrates is optimal for nutrition and energy. Typically, elk or buffalo meat was used. For the plains tribes, buffalo was by far the most abundant meat. It didn’t take long for American settlers to adopt this versatile food source, and the popularity of buffalo jerky began to grow.
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Over time people began to experiment with different flavors, adding spices and varying the types of meat and other ingredients. In Africa, spiced and flavorful jerky had already been around for quite some time. In Ethiopia, dried meat called quant’a was seasoned with salt, black pepper and a mix of spices called berbere. Anyone who has been lucky enough to enjoy Ethiopian food is probably familiar with the distinctive taste of this spice blend. A mixture of chili peppers, basil, fenugreek, garlic and ginger gives food a rich flavor profile.
In West Africa, a version called kilishi was dried twice. The first time, the meat was dehydrated by itself. Next, a savory sauce of peanuts, onion, ground spices and water was added before repeating the drying process to lock in the flavors. We love experimenting with recipes and ingredients from around the world. To make sure that every meal you cook is well-sourced and ethically raised, we are happy to provide grass-fed meat online for delivery to your home.
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In modern times, it’s easy to see why there’s such a demand for this ancient food. Jerky is nature’s original protein bar. Go to any grocery store and most high protein options will be full of a vast array of mysterious ingredients. The more ingredients something has, the more difficult it is to digest. Human bodies are designed to consume simple, whole foods that come straight from nature. Beck & Bulow grass-fed buffalo jerky is the delicious, nutritious and primal solution to the demand for protein on the go.
It’s never been easier to order grass-fed meat online, and our premium selections cover all the bases for taste, nourishment and easy delivery. Whether you’re looking for buffalo jerky, wild boar bacon or incredible grass-fed beef steaks, we know that you’re going to be both impressed and incredibly satisfied with the meat you receive from us. Browse our website today for our high quality offerings of bison, grass-fed beef, elk, wild boar, lamb and chicken.