Route 66 Beef Jerky has the best beef jerky in the world! Try our world famous green chile beef jerky, red chile beef jerky, peppered beef jerky or traditional beef jerky. 7500 Central SE
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87108

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The History of Beef Jerky

What snack food do you think has been around longer than any other?

Want to bet it’s jerky? Europeans heard the Spanish word for jerked meat, charque, and Anglicized it to a word that was easier for them to pronounce - jerky. Many Hispanics also call jerky carne seca, which means dried meat.

When the first Europeans arrived in the New World, they found the indigenous peoples making and eating jerky from any kind of meat they hunted that could not all be eaten immediately. Dried meat was added to either dried fruit or animal fat and called “pemmican” by some of the American Indian tribes. The meat, which could be anything from buffalo to whale, was cut into strips and hung on racks to dry in the sun. This method of preserving meat was convenient for the nomadic lifestyle of native tribes.

The European pioneers quickly learned to make jerky for themselves, realizing the importance of being able to easily make and transport such an important addition to their diet and recipes. And meat could be hunted anywhere along the trails that led these brave settlers to the West. Those early travelers came west on the Chisholm Trail, the Santa Fe Trail, the Oregon Trail, moving slowly but surely in Prairie Schooner wagons drawn by horses or oxen, often stopping and making homes for themselves along the way.

The most popular westward route wasn’t even traveled by those wagons and horses. It was not born until 1926, so automobiles were the vehicles of choice when people started in Chicago, Illinois and went all the way to Los Angeles, California. Route 66 became the nickname of this instantly popular road, whose official name was US Highway 66. Since it was the shortest all-weather route from east to west, it could be used year round.

The meat used by those early jerky makers had no preservatives. It was low in fat and carbohydrates and would be close to the top of the list of high protein foods. It would have fit the Atkins Diet guidelines way back then. Today, beef jerky is still a popular snack because of the many kinds of meat that can be used for this versatile snack, and the many flavors and spices that can be added to meat before drying. At Route 66 Beef Jerky, you will be asked that famous New Mexico question, “Red or green?” Their beef jerky comes in both these flavors of famous Hatch Valley chiles, along with peppered and original flavors.

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