Although you might think that jerky is an American thing, given our love of protein, it actually has quite a long history. The name “jerky” comes from “ch’arki,” from the Quechuan language of the Incas. Literally translated, it means “dried, salted meat.” Native Americans would make jerky as a way to bring food on long journeys without having to worry about spoilage. When invaders came over from Europe, Native Americans passed on their recipes to Europeans and jerky caught on not only as a way to preserve food for travel but also as a snack. Today, it still remains as a fairly popular snack in the United States — according to one statistic, 122.46 million Americans consumed meat snacks and beef jerky in 2016.
There’s a reason why people love jerky — it has a salty, umami flavor and tough, yet chewy texture that makes it craveable. If you’re cutting back on meat, you might think that means that you can no longer snack on jerky but luckily, there are plenty of brands out there that made plant-based jerky good enough to rival “the real thing.”
So, what better way to celebrate June 12th, National Jerky Day, than with a bag of savory, meaty, plant-based jerky? To help you out, here are nine options that you can find in stores!