Exploring the World Through Its Jerky: Learn about Its Evolution and Tasty Varieties

Exploring the World Through Its Jerky: Learn about Its Evolution and Tasty Varieties

Delving into the rich, flavorful world of jerky is like embarking on a global culinary adventure. From the arid plains of Africa to the mountaintops of South America, this beloved snack has a remarkable history and countless diverse varieties. In this article, we take you on a unique journey, where you will learn about jerky’s evolution and be introduced to some of its most tantalizing varieties.


  1. The History of Jerky
  2. The Evolution of Jerky
  3. Delicious Varieties of Jerky From Around the World

The History of Jerky

In the vast landscapes of ancient South America, indigenous peoples discovered a method to preserve meat—drying it in the sun and smoking over a fire, creating what we now call jerky. This practice spread to other parts of the world, thanks to explorers and traders, transforming jerky into a global nutrition source for numerous cultures.

The Role of Jerky in Civilizations

Jerky played pivotal roles in different societies. In fact, the Native Americans, who perfected the ancestral South American process, were said to have taught these techniques to newcomers like Lewis and Clark. In Africa, Biltong, a form of dried, cured meat similar to jerky, played a major role in the colonization journey due to its long shelf life and nutrient density.

The Evolution of Jerky

The traditional method of drying and curing meat over open fires has evolved significantly over the centuries. Today, modern techniques allow for more flavorful, safe, and convenient jerky production.

Modern Jerky Making


Lean, dehydrated meat

Marinades and flavorings (soy sauce, spices)

The process of jerky production today involves dehydrating lean meat and typically adding marinades and flavorings like soy sauce and spices. Dehydration can vary, with sun, oven, or a dehydrator being common methods. For your own jerky experience, explore jerky recipes.

The Market Evolution

The jerky market has also undergone bespoken evolution. Jerky once denoted as a snack for hunters and adventurers, later found its place in ration packs of soldiers, and now it sits on the shelves of gourmet shops. The jerky market continues to thrive globally with a plethora of choices catering to every palate.

Delicious Varieties of Jerky From Around the World

Like cuisine, every region has its own variation of jerky, a testament to the snack’s universal appeal.

South African Biltong

More than just dried meat, South Africa’s Biltong incorporates vinegar, salt, and spices. This distinct recipe offers a different flavor profile compared to American jerky and is considered a national treasure in South Africa.

Chinese Bakkwa

Evoking familiar flavors of sweet and smoky barbecue, the Chinese Bakkwa is a favorite Lunar New Year treat. Bakkwa boasts a thinner and typically sweeter profile, almost like a jerky candy.

American Jerky

America’s interpretation of jerky ranges from spicy and smoky varieties to unique flavors like teriyaki, peppered, and sweet and hot. Thanks to its diversity of flavors and types, American jerky is a staple in many households across the country.

Through its evolution, the world of jerky remains adventurous and exciting, a testament to its continued relevance in our global culinary atlas. Jerky’s rich history, its transformative journey, and flavor richness, offer a unique way to experience and exploring the world.