Also called jerked meat, jerky is meat (usually beef) that is cut into long, thin strips and dried (traditionally by the sun). Jerky was a popular staple with early trappers, just as it is with today's backpackers because it keeps almost indefinitely and is light and easy to transport. It's quite tough and salty but is very flavorful and high in protein. See also biltong.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.