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Salted meat or dried meat? Ideas from the world

What is dried meat?

Dried meat is a savory snack made from cuts of meat and properly prepared to be consumed anywhere and at any time. Dried meat is often synonymous with the West, many films set in the southern United States have at least one scene where a powerful, self-styled cowboy chews and bites off a piece of dried meat.

In America it is called beef jerky, but it is present on every continent, different in flavor but more or less similar in preparation. What changes around the world are the spices that add, tone down and enrich a particular flavor. The diversity in the cooking method ranges from smoking and actual grilling to then following a specific process.

Carne salada recipes and ideas from around the world

Dried or dried meat is a characteristic that unites many peoples.

The preparation is the result of the need to preserve cuts of meat that were once procured with extreme difficulty, it was mainly the food of travelers and warriors who had to consciously ration food to overcome the mission at full strength.

The unique flavor remains intact and allows us to keep alive the desire to consume the product even today, with different uses and preparations enriched with particular spices.

Jerky and South America

The most famous in America and beyond the border, today there are many varieties, some ranging from intense flavors thanks to the particular spices added, others instead choose to focus all the attention on the beef and the particularities it manages to offer. It was once prepared by tanning the meat, salting it and then leaving it to dry near a fire.

The tradition comes from the American Indians who found a spectacular method to preserve the meat obtained during long and tiring hunting sessions. Today we cook in a totally different way, the striped look has remained but it is produced using ovens activated thanks to insulating solar panels with radiators and fans inside.

Borts in Mongolia

The meat that makes up the dish comes from different animals: beef, goat, horse, camel and last but not least yak. The cut is approximately 20 or 30 cm in length with a thickness of up to 2 centimeters.

The strips of meat are hung on ropes positioned in ventilated rooms and left there for 4 or 5 months, or at least until they take on a rather dark colour. In Mongolia it is customary to consume dried meat immersed in boiling soups, and its purpose is to add a touch of flavor and warm up the cold and bitter winter days.

Biltong beef jerky in South Africa

The typical South African dried meat has an ancient history dating back to the 17th century and is linked to two animals in particular: beef or ostrich meat.

The preparation is rather curious and serves to enrich the flavor of a sweet snack. The dried meat is cut into strips of about 20 cm. After being dried, it is marinated in water and apple cider vinegar.

Only lastly are added spices typical of the area such as thyme, curry and spicy chilli pepper.

A sublime and very particular flavor capable of making the snack a real taste experience.

Basturma in Armenia

Autumn is the golden season for preparing this particular dried meat derived from beef and buffalo. The preparation follows a precise and essential process to restore the typical taste: salting precedes the rinsing phase and then continues with drying.

After an initial period, the semi-dried meat is pressed for a maximum of 16 hours and subsequently dried again until the fats contained in the cut of meat are completely melted and form a white external layer.

Finally, it is pressed again, but following the hot procedure, the spices which in Armenia are called çemen are added. The spices are transformed into paste and are mainly used for the preparation of dried meat.

Bündnerfleisch in Switzerland

Bündnerfleisch in Switzerland

The aristocratic Swiss chooses to propose a typical dish presented together with the aromatic herbs that abound in the area.

The meat chosen is beef and more precisely the upper cuts of the thigh and shoulder are the absolute protagonists.

The meat is soaked in basins previously filled with white wine, onion, salt and aromatic herbs.

Here it remains for at least 5 weeks, taking care to hermetically seal the containers and store them at low temperatures. At the end of the period the temperature is raised to eliminate any residual humidity.

Charqui in Argentina

South America is a magical place for many reasons, jerky is definitely one of them. Charqui or charque has been produced since the fifteenth century: dried beef, llama, lamb or pork.

The preparation is a great classic, at the end of the slaughterhouse some cuts of mixed meat are selected and cut into strips to then be hung in the open air in spaces where the sun often reaches. First we proceed with drying and then the preparation is concluded with salting, rarely smoking.

Tasajo in Cuba

Once upon a time, tasajo was made exclusively with horse, donkey, deer or mule meat. Today, however, beef is the preferred choice.

The preparation begins with salting, only at a later stage is the meat exposed to the sun or fire to continue with the second phase of drying.

Thin, perhaps very thin, it represents a real delicacy thanks to the meticulous cut which becomes a distinctive feature of Cuban dried meat.

Dried meat in Mexico

The cut of beef chosen has little importance, even if the most prestigious is made with fillet and rump. Mexican dried meat is part of a famous dish, machacado, where it is chopped and the main ingredient of a warm tortilla, as well as eggs, onions, tomatoes and the inevitable green chili pepper.

Dried meat in Italy

The Bel Paese chooses to present itself with different specialties thanks to the many breeds bred in Italy. Some curious, others absolutely worth trying and others still quite well-known, here is a little journey.

Dried meat from Lazio

The capital region offers couples, that is, narrow strips of beef, sheep, pork or horse meat which, combined with spices and perfumes, are hung to dry in pairs, which is why they take this curious name. Natural materials such as hemp become excellent allies to offer perfect drying that lasts a minimum of two months.

Salted meat from Trentino

A great Trentino classic is carne salada prepared with beef topside or rump, veal tongue or horse leg and is often accompanied by typical products, cheeses or mushrooms.

The preparation begins with salting and flavoring and then closing the cuts in airtight jars and placed in dark places with a maximum temperature of 12 degrees.

Here they remain for at least 5 weeks, and every 2 or 3 days they are massaged to make sure that the perfumes penetrate perfectly.

Dried meat from Gargano

It's called Musciska and it's a little-known specialty produced in the Gargano mountains. Its invention is due to the shepherds who, to overcome transhumance, had to bring light and at the same time - where possible - nutritious and tasty food.

It is made with sheep or goat meat, rather irregular strips given the manual cutting and then hung on the branches of trees waiting for drying dictated by the sun and wind. The preparation process lasts about a month, then the dried meat is flavored with what the local nature offers: wild fennel, garlic and chilli pepper.

Salted meat to taste, or rather to jerk!

Dried meat is a snack rather popular especially among those who pay particular attention to physical fitness and want to supplement their diet with healthy protein-based snacks. If on the one hand it pleases the palate, on the other hand dried meat is able to satisfy different needs ranging from the desire for something different to the need for a set.

The snack lends itself to "bringing out" the masculinity that reigns supreme in each of us since we need to take bites by putting all our strength into play and reliving primordial sensations. When imagination reigns supreme, we need to get back down to earth and get back into If you are in control of your daily life, do you need to get back in line? Why not try a primordial diet like the Paleo diet and add tasty snacks capable of keeping us in the mood of our ancestors?