National Jerky Day Date in the current year: June 12, 2024

National Jerky Day If you’re a fan of meat, don’t forget to celebrate National Jerky Day on June 12. This food holiday was created in honor of a delicious dried meat snack that was originally invented as a way to preserve the meat for a long period of time without refrigeration.

Jerky is a meat product consisting of lean meat that has been cut into thin strips and dried to prevent spoilage. Most fat is usually trimmed from the meat before drying to reduce the chance of spoilage, and the meat is rubbed with salt or marinated to prevent bacterial growth and impart flavor.

Drying was one of the earliest methods of food preservation invented by humans. The word “jerky” derives from ch’arki (spelled charqui in Spanish), a Quechua term for dried, salted meat. Dried, cured meat was originally intended to be added to soups, stews, and other dishes instead of fresh meat, but over the past decades, it has become a popular snack.

Jerky can be made from both domesticated and game animals, including beef, pork, lamb or mutton, goat, bison, deer, and turkey. The meat is usually marinated, rubbed with a spice mixture, or cold smoked before drying to give it additional flavor.

Jerky is dried at a relatively low temperature. To inhibit bacterial growth in the meat while it isn’t completely dry yet, the meat must be dried quickly. Since increasing the heat is not an option because it would result in the meat being cooked, the meat is sliced very thin prior to drying. Industrially produced jerky is dried in large ovens; homemade jerky can be made in the oven or in a special dehydrator.

Ideally, jerky is made from sliced whole-muscled meat, but some manufacturers make snacks from finely ground and formed meat and sell them as jerky. These snacks may contain more fat and chemical preservatives than traditional jerky.

Various brands of packaged and unpackaged jerky are widely available throughout North America in supermarkets, convenience stores, and gas stations. The snack is also gaining popularity in other parts of the world.

Jerky and other dried and cured meat products are often included in military field rations because they are high in protein and lightweight, as well as don’t take up much space, have a long shelf life, and can be used as a cooking ingredient or eaten without preparation when cooking is not an option. Since the mid-1990s, astronauts have requested beef jerky several times for flights because of its strong flavor, high level of nutrition, and extended shelf life.

While the origin of many unofficial food days is unclear, this can’t be said about National Jerky Day. The holiday was created by the Wisconsin Beef Council and Jack Link’s Beef Jerky in 2012 to promote the product and boost sales.

What is the best way to observe National Jerky Day? You can simply snack on your favorite jerky, try using jerky as a cooking ingredient (for example, in a hearty soup or stew), and even make your own jerky. And don’t forget to promote the holiday on social media using the hashtag #NationalJerkyDay.

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National Jerky Day, food days, observances in the United States, unofficial observances, dried meat, jerky