Where did the Word Jerky Come From and What does it Mean in Quechua?

The word “Jerky” comes from the Quechua or Amerindian word “Charqui”, which means dried llama meat, or llama jerky.

spiced beef jerky

Charqui or charque, is a form of jerky popular in South America made from dried and salted horse or llama meat, and sometimes beef.

The people of the Inca Empire used a freeze drying process that used the cold dry mountain air and strong sun so the meat could be stored for a long period.

Llama jerky was supplied along the Inca road system for travelers, and it was also a very popular way to preserve meat in other parts of the region such as Peru, Uruguay and Brazil.

The word Charqui can also be spelled Charki.

The Dried Llama Meat Boys don’t mess around.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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