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Jerky Around the World: Similarities and Differences

Jerky Around the World: Similarities and Differences

There are multiple types of jerky with certain flavors and preparation styles. These jerky have something that makes them unique due to the location from which they originate, along with some similarities. Understanding these similarities and differences of jerky worldwide will make it easier to decide your favorite.

Where Can I Find Jerky?

Jerky is a worldwide commodity that many people in countless regions enjoy. Jerky comes in numerous strips of animal meat with various flavorings. The making of jerky and its eventual widespread consumption originated in the Americas.

Still, over the years, numerous countries and regions worldwide have come to sell and enjoy its delectable taste. Currently, you'll find jerky throughout most countries and major cities worldwide. Smaller cities and towns may make their versions of jerky with their meat resources, as this preservation method has withstood the tests of time.

How Popular Is Jerky in Countries Outside of the US?

Jerky has made a name for itself as a great-tasting and nutritious food many people enjoy. Numerous methods of making jerky with different ingredients create a unique dish with a taste custom to its region of origin.

Most of the meats and spices used to make jerky in the US have roots in European countries since they have similar meats, making jerky popular among the masses because of its taste. Jerky has also been used as a gourmet food in various recipes, increasing its popularity among many chefs worldwide.

Jerky From Around the World

You will have a good chance of finding jerky in most places worldwide. Jerky comes from the body of numerous animals, such as cattle, fish, and even alligators. Jerky making has become popular worldwide, allowing many people the opportunity to make delicious food.

North America

In the US, jerky is one of the most popular snack foods and has reigned as a favorite among many. Jerky made in the US will normally come in the form of chicken, beef, turkey, and other game animals. Game jerky is popular among hunters and survivalists, and many have taken to making homemade jerky.

Adding spices creates a nice snack you may have on the go, which is partially why so many people in the US enjoy jerky. Lee's Market Jerky focuses on producing high-quality jerky and enjoys giving great jerky to the masses to enjoy.


Canada is similar to the US in its consumption and wholesale of jerky. Most of the jerky in Canada has similar traits, such as the flavors and added spices that make the meat taste better while maintaining the nutrition of the jerky. Certain types of game jerky are unique to Canada, such as caribou or reindeer jerky, which tastes mild and lean.

Central and South America

Different parts of Central America, most notably Mexico, have a version of jerky called Carne Seca. This dried meat is similar to the jerky of the US, with most of its meat source coming from beef or pork.

Carne Seca is normally enjoyed in the Northern parts of Mexico and will act as an ingredient in a dish called Machado, which uses various ingredients such as onion, diced tomatoes, and chili Verde, with a side of eggs.

In some regions of South America, many eat jerky as a common food. Originally, jerky was a food and preservation method used by the Quecha, a tribe native to the Andean region of South America. They used alpaca and llama meat for their jerky and still use it today for other forms of meat. This jerky tastes similar to beef, with a slight, mild, sweet taste.


Many Europeans use similar meats that people in North America use, such as beef, chicken, and pork. Numerous European stores offer jerky, with certain countries offering varying types. You'll find red pepper and fennel seed as a seasoning on some Italian jerky and in its original region of Rome. It pairs well with white wine.


The most prominent form of jerky in Africa, called biltong, originates in Southern Africa. Biltong includes many ingredients, such as salt, pepper, different types of vinegar, and occasionally sugar. Spices in biltong may include dried ground chili peppers, paprika, and nutmeg, with some modern additions such as garlic or Worcestershire sauce.

Meats used for biltong are unique to the continent, such as ostrich, wildebeest, and bokkom. Some common meats, such as chicken and elk, also make fine jerky. The use of vinegar assists in the preservation process of biltong and prevents mold from forming after winter when the returning moisture in the air saturates the dry meat.


In Asia, various types of dried meat could be considered jerky. Bak Kwa is a thin, dried meat originating in China and consisting of barbequed pork. Bak Kwa isn’t dehydrated as most Western-style jerky is; instead, it becomes dry from grilling over a charcoal fire, making it a little moist. A soy sauce marinated Korean jerky called yukpo is a beef jerky that makes a great snack, has a tiny amount of fat, and consists of various spices such as chili flakes.


Australians make jerky from animals such as kangaroos, buffalo, and crocodiles. The jerky in Australia is air-dried and requires days to cure. The spices in their jerky are similar to the African variant, with coriander or other spices added.


Jerky shares similarities worldwide in that the majority involve thin dried meat. Some jerky, such as yukpo, retains a little fat; in cases such as bak kwa, the meat retains some moisture after grilling over charcoal. Ultimately, the result will still be thin, dried meat.

Spices are a common factor in a jerky, regardless of the recipe and desired taste. Spices accentuate whichever meat the jerky consists of and will normally represent the cuisine of the region it originates from. The purpose of jerky as a convenient, tasty, and nutritious snack, is also a worldwide similarity.


While there are many aspects of jerky that many regions share, some differences in jerky across the world make them unique. The preparations of biltong set them apart from the majority of the world's jerky, allowing for better preservation and different tastes. Using different animals for the jerky creates unique jerky specific to its region.

Jerky has numerous styles, tastes, and textures, and though there are some differences, its similarities make each batch unique yet connected. Regardless of where it comes from, the taste of jerky is hard to beat.

Jerky Around the World: Similarities and Differences
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