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The word jerky comes from a South American Indian tribe called the Quechua who named it ch'arki meaning dried, salted meat. Spanish conquistadors used the technique, calling it charqui, and then North American natives adapted the word making it jerky. A form of meat preservation, jerky is made from fresh meat that is dried and therefore prevented from spoiling. Native Americans regularly dried meat to preserve it and passed the practice on to European colonists. This preservation method made it possible to have protein readily available without refrigeration and store it for times when food was scarce. Although it is no longer necessary to create stores of dried meat in order to survive long winters, many hunters still chose to preserve their harvests using this method.

Recipe Servings: 6

Prep Time
10 minutes
+ 2 hours resting
Cook Time
24 hours
Total Time
26 hours 10 minutes
Gluten Free
Dairy Free


  • 2 lbs meat of choice, semi-frozen so it’s easy to cut into thin slices
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • 1½ tsp liquid smoke
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • Hot sauce, to taste


  1. If necessary, cut off the fat from the meat. Then slice it into thin, long strips lengthwise along the grain.
  2. Combine the water, salt, liquid smoke, soy sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, and hot sauce in a bowl and mix together.
  3. Add the meat strips to the bowl of marinade and let it rest for 2 hours.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200°F or the lowest temperature.
  5. Hang the strips from a rack in the oven and leave the oven door slightly open. Bake the strips for about 24 hours or until they become hard and dry.


Note: Jerky can be made from a variety of meats, such as venison, elk, moose, caribou, or salmon.

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