A Little About Jerky
The beginnings of jerky can be traced back thousand of years to the continent of Africa. Biltong, as it was called, was strips of meat (generally game) that were salted, seasoned and dried.
In the United States the making of jerky began long before Europeans landed on this continent. The technique of curing meat by smoking and drying was an Indian lore that early settlers, mountain men and pioneers adopted for themselves.
Ideal for life on the trail, jerky was nutritious, simple to carry and stayed fresh for several days, even weeks. Early-day settlers carried a limited supply of salt and pepper and relied on different kinds of wood, such as hickory, mesquite, maple and possibly apple to flavor jerky as it was drying by the open fire.
As time passed, the immigration of various ethnic groups began. These groups brought spices and other flavorings which were added to traditional recipes giving jerky the characteristics we enjoy today.