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Jerky Around the World


We’ve looked at some ways old-timers and Native Americans have  made jerky without all the conveniences of today.  But various  forms of jerky are also popular around the world.


1) The Alaska Eskimos made a version of jerky called Pemmican.  Pemmican consisted of crushed and powdered meat to which fat is mixed in.  Sometimes berries would also be added.  [1]  Pemmican was also popular with the indigenous peoples of North America.  [7]

2) In Canada you will find jerky being made from of the breast of a goose.  This type of jerky can be made either sliced or ground and extruded from a jerky gun.

3) In South Africa you’re likely to find Biltong.[2]    This is a form of jerky typically made from beef, game or ostrich.  The preparation differs from what we think of as jerky in that it is made during cold months to reduce risk of bacteria and the cold air dried the product faster.  Biltong is never smoked and often vinegar is used to cure.

4) Bakkwa is a food found in China that is similar to jerky.[3]   Originally it tended to have a  salty-sweet taste, but today not only has the sweet taste been reduced but also the method of preparation has been modernized.  Traditionally it was made of pork, however, it is now sometimes made of beef or mutton.   It is also popular in Singapore and Malaysia thanks to Chinese immigrants.

5) Carne Seca is a dried meat product found in Mexico.  [4]  It can also be used in the preparation of certain dishes.

6) Dendeng is a dried meat found in Indonesia.  [5]  Much like the Bakkwa it has a salty-sweet flavor but rather than drying it is cured through frying.

7) Sukuti is a dried meat found in Nepal. [6]  It is prepared by hanging chunks of meat over a slow fire or left in the sun.  It is often used in other dishes.


After doing the bit of research for this post, got to think that we’re very fortunate to have access to dehydrators with a wide variety of pre-packaged seasonings and cures to make our jerky whether it’s strips or sticks.  To see the top 10 in jerky making equipment and seasonings, visit this link.











Old Time Jerky Making

Dehydrators and ovens have made making jerky at home easy. But for those who want to try making jerky one of  the old-fashioned ways, we’re posting some methods[1] below.  These would be good to know for long-term camping or for   survival food.


OFJ_1Early Jerky – Native Americans


Some of the earliest jerky was made by Native Americans who would cut the meat in  thin strips and then hang them over racks made of thin branches. In the south and southwest, this was particularly easy since the air was dry.  However, when in the north a small, smoky fire helped speed up the process.  Drying time would depend on the type of meat and whether or not air/fire was used.


Old-Fashioned Jerky


Another method as described by Col. T. Whelen was to take the lean cuts of meat and dry them over a fire (or in the sun).  The strips should be cut wide, long and about 1/2 inch thick.  These would then be hung on a framework about 4-6 feet off the ground.  Below the rack would be a small, slow, smoky fire of any wood – OFJ_3except those with resin.*  The meat would be allowed to dry in the sun / wind; however, would be covered at night or in the rain.  This method should produce jerky in several days.


Note: The fire should not be so hot as to cook the meat.  This method produces a hard jerky that if kept away from damp and flies will keep for a long time.    It should also be noted that while this type of jerky can be used in stews, soups, etc; it should not be considered as a long-term food source as it has no fat.


* This is a partial list of trees / plants that should not be used because they contain resin [2]

  • Cedar
  • Fir
  • Juniper
  • Pine
  • Redwood
  • Spruce
  • Yew
  • Larch
  • Sweetgum
  • Aspen
  • Willow
  • Birch
  • Sarsaparilla


Campsite Jerky


OFJ_2This method requires a little more effort but if you have the time would be a good way to teach the younger members of the family about the ‘old days’.


The meat should be cut into strips, laid flat and sprinkled on both sides with pepper and lightly with salt rubbing both  in. Put a hole in each end of the strips and thread with cotton thread or cord then tie off to make a loop.  In a boiling pot of water, dip each loop for 15-20 seconds, remove, then re-dip.   These dipped strips are then hung to dry.


If hung outside in the sun, cover with cheesecloth to keep bugs off, as well as hanging them high enough so other animals can’t reach them. As an alternative, hang on a clothesline in a cold, dry room.

Strips should be dry in 4-5 days.






[1] The Complete Jerky Book, Monte Burch







Cellophane Gift Baskets


With Easter fast approaching, that means baskets.   Who doesn’t love those wonderful cellophane wrapped baskets filled full of chocolate eggs, peeps, bunnies and . .  . jerky?!!

Well maybe not the younger members of the family.   But just about everyone loves digging through a gift basket.  And,  knowing how to  wrap a cellophane basket yourself can be fun as well as money-saving.

We’ve found a couple of short videos (see below)  for those of you who would like to give it a try.

Aside from the contents, the supplies you’ll need are minimal – and you probably have most of them at home already.


  • Basket
  • Cellophane
  • Tape
  • Ribbon
  • Scissors

Don’t forget a cellophane wrapped gift basket filled with jerky making gear – or a variety of homemade jerky – makes a great gift for any occasion.

For an assortment of cellophane products  available on Amazon, visit this link.