25 Snack: The Italian Jerky

carbonara day

Carbonara day

Every year on April 6th the carbonara day event dedicated to the famous Italian recipe is held.

The legend tells that the recipe was born when the allied troops landed in Italy in the Second World War.

By combining bacon and freeze-dried eggs (by the allies war rations), pasta and cheese, a combination of flavors was born, destined to make history.

The sheperds’ tradition sees pasta as the main food which from time to time is accompanied by what is available.

The shepherd who raises goats and sheep used to have pecorino cheese available, so let’s imagine the base of all the recipes was the cacio e pepe pasta.

Another hypothesis is linked to the charcoal (carbonai in Italian) burners who worked in the Abruzzo Apennines to transform wood into coal. They used to eat cacio e ova pasta (pasta with cheese and eggs) to feed on. To this recipe, if possible, they used to add lard or meat to enrich the dish. When tomato puree was added instead of eggs, it is named pasta alla Amatriciana.

We decided to celebrate #carbonaraday with our recipe that combines the sheperd tradition of coppiette with the cacio e ova pasta, creating a new version of carbonara pasta! We think it is more than possible that some shepherd already used the coppiette  to enrich his pasta in addition to pork-cheek, pancetta or bacon.

We need:

We boiled the water, added a handful of coarse salt and threw the pasta to cook trying to keep it al dente, a little harder to allow us to sauté it in the pan.

Separately we beat the whole egg with pecorino and a pinch of black pepper.

In a pan we blasted a bag of coppiette 25 Snack The Italian Jerky Smoked Paprika flavor.

As soon as the pasta was ready, we drained the water, poured the pasta into the pan with the couples and made it sauté with the help of a little pasta cooking water.

Once ready, we poured the pasta into a cold dish and poured the mixture of eggs and pecorino. The heat of the pasta gave consistency to the egg and melted the pecorino, creating a cream that wraps the pasta.

To conclude we gave a sprinkling of grated pecorino on top of the plate.

Et voila! Carbonara is served!


Dried meat around the world

Stories of dried meat from around the world. In the past articles we have told several stories of dried meat.

The Borts of the Mongols, the Pastirma of the Armenians / Turks, the Musciska of the Gargano, the Coppiette of Transhumance, as regards the eastern side.

The Pemmican of the Métis, the Ch’arki of the Incas, the Charqui, the carne-de-sol and the chalona of South America, the modern Jerky of North America.

In South Africa we finally told the story of Biltong and Bokkoms.

Common points

The points in common are:

the need to preserve meat for a long time
nomadism or the need to travel frequently
salt, to preserve


For the rest we have seen differences in the type of processing, in the type of meat used and in the type of spices.

The Incas used llama or alpaca meat and cold drying.

In South America we use llama, guanaco, horse, cattle, lamb with heat drying.

the Métis of North America traditionally used bison meat, deer, elk, salmon, duck. The meat was dried over a field fire, pulverized and mixed with melted tallow and berries.

The shepherds of the Gargano used meat from Goat Garganica with hot drying in winter and at room temperature in summer.

The shepherds of the Transhumance used the meat of goat, sheep, beef, horse, donkey dried on the chimney.

Mongols use dried beef, goat, horse, yak. In some cases they pulverized the meat and then stored it in linen sacks, like the Métis of North America with the Pemmican.

The Turks and Armenians used to use beef to make pastirma. They dry and then wrap the meat in a spice glaze.

Afrikaners used to wash beef, impala, oryx, eland, springbok, ostrich or mullet in vinegar and then dry it over a campfire.

Nowadays in North America jerky is produced with every type of meat: beef, pork, goat, mutton, lamb, deer, reindeer, bison, kangaroo, turkey, ostrich, salmon, alligator, tuna, emu, horse, camel , earthworm. The meat is dried for 8 hours at 70 ° C ventilated.

The drying

Drying can take place in 4 ways:

at room temperature
for smoking
in special ovens
Drying at room temperature generally takes place in the summer, when the warm temperature and dry climate are used. For example, the Mongolian climate is favorable for this type of processing.

Cold drying was typical of the Incas people, taking advantage of the Andean climate and the thermal shock between day and night.

Smoke or fireplace drying is typical of Afrikaners, shepherds or Métis. Once the animals were killed, they immediately proceeded to dry the meat by means of the burning fireplace or the campfire.

Kiln drying is a recent technological application to speed up and make jerky production safe.

While the first three processes take around 3 days to complete, using the oven reduces the process to around eight hours.


In ancient times it was stored in linen or jute bags that allowed transpiration and prevented the formation of mold.

Nowadays it can be stored under vacuum, or in a modified atmosphere in practical sachets with oxygen absorbers.


Biltong: the South African dried meat


In South Africa the indigenous Kohisan populations (Hottentots and San) used to hunt game in groups for survival already in the pre-colonial period.

The Kohisan people have handed down the tradition of braai (a kind of barbecue) and the drying of meat.

In the 17th century came the Dutch, the Dutch East India Company, the Huguenots of the German order and other European peoples involved in trade.

In 1652 the colony of the Cape of Good Hope was established, later a British colony.

Afrikaneers acquired indigenous survival techniques during their explorations. The voortrekkers (explorers) thus learned the technique of drying meat giving life to the biltong.


The biltong is a compound word from the Dutch “bil”, literally “buttock”, and “tong” which means “tongue, strip”.

The preparation consists of cutting strips of lean meat, marinated in apple cider vinegar, and adding the spices brought by the Dutch settlers: coriander, cloves, black pepper among others.

The apple cider vinegar had the function of acidifying the meat, creating an unfavorable environment for the proliferation of “Clostridium Botulinum”.

The meat was prepared with vinegar and spices then hung to be air-dried for two weeks during the winter when colder temperatures further inhibited the growth of fungi and bacteria. Once dried it was ready to be packaged in cloth bags that allowed air circulation to prevent mold.

Nowadays the preparation can include balsamic vinegar, malt vinegar, sugar, chilli, nutmeg, paprika, lemon juice, garlic, Worcesterhire sauce, onion powder, etc.

The meats used are extremely varied. Among these: beef, impala, oryx, eland, springbok, ostrich, kudu, etc.

When prepared with fish, mainly mullet, it takes the name of bokkoms.


Difference between Jerky and Biltong

We talked about Jerky, the dried meat that North American explorers had learned from the Incas and Métis.

It may seem like a similar preparation, however there are substantial differences.

jerky is prepared in the form of strips of meat
biltong is made from larger pieces of meat
the jerky is dried for 8 hours at 70 ° C
the biltong is dried at room temperature for fifteen days
jerky is not traditionally prepared with vinegar and salt, but only with salt
The technology of food preservation has allowed the creation of single-dose bags of product that do not require refrigeration. Just a cool, dry place. This is also thanks to the use of Oxygen Absorber.

On the market there are sachets of Biltong with variable weights, in a modified atmosphere. Alternatively, you can also find whole pieces of Biltong to be cut with a dedicated tool.





Jerky: the American dried meat


From the Incas tradition of Ch’arki, to the Carqui of South America, we come to speak of the Jerky of North America.

The word evidently derives from Southern and pre-Columbian relatives; Ch’arki-Charqui-Jerky.

Probably the Spanish Conquistadores, landed on the coasts of Mexico, encountered the Inca tradition of the Ch’arki. The storage of dried meat was extremely efficient and therefore they began to produce dried meat for exploration of the interior and for travel by sea. When they then moved to North America, they encountered Native Americans and the pemmican tradition. So the Native Americans began to call the dried meat with the Spanish name “charqui” but giving their pronunciation and their accent to the word. Thus the jerky was probably born.


The Jerky became popular in the Americas in the 1500s, as it allowed soldiers and explorers to have sustenance in their travels and conquests. The elements that made it popular were its long shelf life and the fact that it could be produced anytime and anywhere. The fruit of a hunting trip could be eaten fresh on site and prepared for conservation, thanks to drying with camp fires.

In the early 1800s, cowboys were used to hauling dried or salted meat as they moved cattle from pasture to pasture. He gave them a nutritious snack to chew on during the long hours they had to work, and it was generally a pleasant experience. This was at a time in America when dried meat was understood and made from various types of meat.

After the declaration of independence, dried meat became more of a food of pleasure than a food of war and survival.

For a long time, snacking had a reputation for allowing new territories to be conquered without people starving or dying from food-related diseases, very common at the time. Subsequently, that consumption motivation has diminished more and more.

At the end of the 19th century, the product was increasingly aimed at the common consumer rather than at the explorer or soldier. Yet again, the jerky proved immensely valuable during World Wars I and II. During the war, jerky was used in the so-called C-Rations for American troops.


The Incas practiced cold drying thanks to the climate of the Andes. Native Americans pulverized the meat and mixed it with animal fat and berries from the forest. The Spaniards used hot drying or smoking.

The US government has set guidelines for the domestic production of beef jerky. It basically suggests drying the meat for 8 hours at 70 degrees centigrade (165 degrees F) to reduce the risk of Salmonella and E. Coli.


Lots of companies in the United States and Canada produce Jerky. The meats used are many: beef, pork, goat, mutton, lamb, deer, reindeer, bison, kangaroo, turkey, ostrich, salmon, alligator, tuna, emu, horse, camel. Recently a company started making earthworm-based jerky!

The spices used vary from simple salt to mango, lemonfresh, etc. The limit is the imagination.

In the United States on the label we often find every type of chemical additive possible: nitrites, nitrates, ascorbates, acidity regulators, dyes …

The technology of food preservation has allowed the creation of single-dose bags of product that do not require refrigeration. Just a cool, dry place. This is also thanks to the use of Oxygen Absorber.

On the market there are Jerky sachets with variable weights, in a modified atmosphere.


BBQ and Forest: One Shot of the month of February

Before Covid, we produced a special version of our dried meat every month.

Special marinades, refined spices, collaborations with producers of various kinds, selected meats … then Covid arrived and we slowed down our project.

Now we have started again with the maximum momentum and we want to make up for lost time. This month we did two different limited editions.

BBQ and Forest: One Shot of the month of February

The BBQ sauce invented in the U.S.A. between the 19th and 20th centuries. The variations are endless. But let’s say that they follow a basic line focused on 8 main elements: the base, the sweet, the acid, a flavor enhancer, the aromatic, a thickener, spicy and a gloss.

The base is usually ketchup or tomato paste. As for the sweet part, it can be made with molasses, maple or corn syrup, honey or raw cane sugar. The acid typically comes from distilled vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice. For flavor enhancer, we don’t refer to chemistry, but to jam, concentrated fruit juice, soy sauce rather than worchestershire sauce. The aromatic part can be given by various spices such as salt, pepper, onion, garlic, etc. The thickening effect can be achieved with mustard or honey. If you want a pinch of spiciness in addition to chilli, pepper or Tabasco can also help. To close a glossy effect to the sauce, it can be obtained with glucose or maple syrup rather than honey.

Depending on the place where it is produced, the recipe changes:

It is based on mayonnaise and therefore white in color. It is pungent and sour.
Liquid consistency, it is based on vinegar, tomato and has sweetish notes
Among the best known, it is well suited to accompany pork ribs (the famous ribs). It is based on concentrated tomato and can be recognized because it is shiny and shiny, while the flavor is molassed and sweet and sour. This is what we commonly find on the market.
Concentrated dark sauce made from Worcestershire sauce and vinegar.
Mustard-based sauce with a hint of spiciness

For our limited edition BBQ we have chosen to create a not too sweet taste, characterized by hints of black pepper and smoke. We wanted to remember the aroma of the sauce, without being too sweet, already given by pork.

For the second limited edition, we were inspired by the tradition of Alpine cured meats, such as speck and other smoked cured meats typical of the area. Often these products are characterized by forest herbs, such as juniper, bay leaf, rosemary, red garlic, coriander, cumin, etc. Speck is traditionally subjected to a drying and smoking process.

For our “limited edition FOREST” we started with laurel and juniper, the real lowest common denominators of all speck treats. Then a touch of smoking to remember the aroma of the fireplace and forest spices to remember the mountains where this tradition was born.


Coppiette: the dried meat by the Transumanza

September, let’s go it’s time to migrate …” so the poet began a famous poem dedicated to the Shepherds’ Transhumance.

From the Latin trans, through and humus, soil: transit over places. Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

September is the month of “transhumance” in which shepherds leave to move their flocks to the south, to look for non-icy pastures and milder climates in winter, along the natural paths of the “tratturi”. In May, the move is again north, to return home, in search of mountain herbs just sprouted after the snow melts, on pastures kept green by the climate.

The link between Abruzzo and Gargano has always been strong, given that, in ancient times, the opening and closing dates of customs and transhumance in the Tavoliere (29 September and 8 May) coincided with the two annual pilgrimages to the sanctuary of San Michele sul Gargano as well as with the feast of San Michele Arcangelo itself (29 September) and with the legendary date of the Angel’s apparition (May 490). The phases of mounting and demontication marked this ancient rite.

The shepherds have moved undisturbed for centuries in central-southern Italy minting their own cattle. They have created real green highways called “tratturi” throughout the territory.

The map shows the extensive network of sheep tracks covering the regions of Abruzzo, Molise, Puglia, Campania, Basilicata and Lazio.

Pastoral traditions, folklore, animals, people and culinary customs have moved along the sheep tracks.

Do you remember when we talked about Musciska? Along the paths of the shepherds the tradition has spread with another name: couples. We find confirmation of this hypothesis in the fact that in Pescasseroli dried meat is called mescica.

Pastoral culture is a culture of recovery. When a tractor ceases to function today, it is brought out of the carriage wrecker. Once, when the “tractor” was an animal, at the end of their career it was slaughtered and used to feed the family.

The raw material of the couples were the animals of Transhumance: goats, sheep, cattle, pigs, horses. Old or sick animals were “rescued” in this way.

The name “coppiette” derives from the custom of hanging strips of meat in pairs on a wire pulled over the chimney hood. Within three days the temperature of the fireplace dried out and smoked the meat.

The shepherds therefore had dried meat available, a protein snack with which to eat during the working day, without having to stop.

coppiette di maiale




Premiata Salumeria Italiana

Premiata Salumeria Italiana: today we opened the mailbox and we found a surprise!

The prestigious trade magazine has posted a review on the project “25 Snack – The Italian Jerky”

Premiata Salumeria Italiana “Coppiette to-go con 25 Snack”

Historic Lazio salami, the couples are today more modern than ever. If once they gave energy to the shepherds during the middle of the transhumance, today they are a fast, tasty and “pocket-sized” protein source. The 25 Snack company, based in Nepi (Vt), offers them in a convenient pack containing 25 grams of perfectly dried pork, renamed the Italian Jerky, to be used as a quick snack or for appetizer.

We can only thank the editorial staff for this very pleasant and unexpected surprise, in this difficult period due to Covid.

Thank you!

Premiata Salumeria Italiana


Musciska: Arabian dried meat in Puglia

We do not know exactly whether it was the migrations linked to the Eastern Roman Empire, the Byzantines or the Turks that brought the tradition of dried meat to central and southern Italy.

Perhaps it was a consequence of the Justinian empire, of the Byzantine influences, of the incursions of the Selgiukids and the Ottomans in Puglia, the historic Battle of Otranto and the Saracen domination: the origins are lost in time.

The fact is that there is a typical production of the Gargano, in Puglia, which brings us back to the history of dried meat: musciska.

The Arabic origins of the tradition can be deduced from the name, musciska, which derives from the Arabic word “mossammed”, literally “hard and dry thing”. It is certain that the Arabs were well aware of the art of drying meat.

(Curiosity: we find the word “mosciame” in the Genoese tradition, referring to the dried fish fillet. The origin is always the Arabic word “mossammed”. It is one of the traditional ingredients of the “Ligurian caponadda”)

What is certain is that the Ottomans were well acquainted with the art of drying meat.

How it is produced

Traditionally, goat meat was used, the Gargano goat, an indigenous breed of which only a few heads remain.

The strips of meat hung with a cotton thread from the branches of local trees; the blackthorn and the wild pear, with their thorns, protected the meat from unwanted attention. The work was then left to the summer sun and wind that slowly dried the musciska.

In the cold months the meat was hung in a small house in which a fire was lit which remained lit for about three days. After that the humid and breezy environment got the job done.

There is no specific cut of meat to produce musciska, but the whole animal was used boned and salted.

Traditional spices are bay leaves, salt, wild fennel and garlic.

Musciska can be eaten both fresh and dried. The fresh one is consumed in a pan, on the grill or in the oven. The dry version, on the other hand, can be kept for a long time.

In Rignano Garganico, in the province of Foggia, the Musciska and goat meat festival is held every year in mid-August.


The pemmican in history: the dried meat war

The importance of the pemmican

Pemmican was the essential source of protein for all North American explorers and leather traders until the end of the 19th century.

Fur traders in Canada did not have time to farm the land during the short season when lakes and rivers were free of ice. They had to carry everything they needed for survival if the distance traveled was too great to be replenished along the way.

Their main food was dried peas or beans, sea biscuits and salted pork. In the Great Lakes some corn and wild rice could be recovered locally.

The pemmican trade in history

When the fur trade reached the Winnipeg area, the pemmican trade developed.

The traders were people of mixed origins known as Métis. They went to the prairies southwest of the Red River, hunting bison and producing pemmican. Eventually they returned north to trade the pemmican at the Northwest Company posts. The packs of pemmican were then shipped north and stored at the main filling stations of the fur traders. For these people, the pemmican trade was just as important a source of income as the fur trade was for the indigenous peoples further north.

The history of the pemmican war

The pemmican was so important that, in 1814, Governor Miles Macdonell started the Pemmican War with the Métis when he passed the short Pemmican proclamation, which banned the export of pemmican from the Red River colony. It was not a real war, but rather a series of skirmishes that ended in 1821 with the merger of the two companies that traded fur in Europe: the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) and the North West Company (NWC).

The pemmican and the explorations

Alexander Mackenzie relied on the pemmican for his 1793 expedition across Canada to the Pacific.

North Pole explorer Robert Peary used the pemmican on all three of his expeditions, from 1886 to 1909, for both his men and his dogs.

Members of Ernest Shackleton’s 1914-1916 Antarctic expedition resorted to eating pemmican intended for sled dogs when they got stuck on ice for the winter.

The “Emergency Ration” supplied to British soldiers in the Second Boer War in 1889 consisted of 4 oz. of pemmican and q4 oz. of cocoa mass.

During the Second Boer War (1899-1902), the British troops were supplied with the ration of pemmican.

This ration was kept in two small boxes that were fastened inside the soldiers’ belts. It was the ration to be used only as a last resort.

American adventurer Frederick Russell Burnham ordered each scout to carry the pemmican when he served as scout leader for the British army in South Africa.

The expiration of the pemmican

In 2019, a Youtuber, Steve Thomas, ate the pemmican of a perfectly preserved 1906 US Army Emergency Ration Pack. The footage was released the following year on March 7, 2020.


The Pemmican: the dried meat of North America

What is the pemmican?

Pemmican is a blend of tallow (animal fat similar to lard or lard), dried meat and dried berries that is used as a source of protein.

The word comes from the Cree word pimîhkân, which comes from the word pimî, “fat”. The Lakota (or Sioux) word is wasná.

It was the indigenous peoples of North America who invented the pemmican.

How is it produced?

Dried meat often comes from large game meat such as bison, deer or elk, but the use of salmon or duck is not uncommon.

The meat is cut into thin slices and dried over low heat or in the hot sun, until it is hard and crumbly. This thin and brittle flesh in the Cree language is called pânsâwân.

The pânsâwân, spread on a tanned animal skin pinned to the ground, was beaten or ground between two large stones until it was transformed into very small pieces, almost like a powder in its consistency.

Pulverized dried meat is mixed with equal parts melted fat and sometimes also with berries such as cranberries, Saskatoon berries, cherries, aronia or currants.

The mixture was packaged in rawhide bags for storage where it cooled and then hardened into pemmican.

How long does it last?

At room temperature, pemmican can generally last up to five years, but there are legends of cool cellars kept pemmican for over a decade. Vacuum packed it can remain edible even for a century.

It is estimated that, on average, the carcass of each buffalo will produce enough pemmican to fill a bag.

Does it remind you of anything?

A female buffalo, weighing 4 quintals, will produce about 123 kg of meat and about 30 kg of dried meat. A male buffalo weighing 9 quintals will produce 250 kg of meat and about 60 kg of dried meat.

It takes more or less 2 kg of meat to produce 0.5 kg of dried meat.

A sack of pemmican or taureaux weighed around 43 kg and contained between 21 kg of pounded dried meat and 21 kg of fat and berries.

They were known as fin taureaux, taureaux grand and taureaux à grains depending on the recipe.

How do you eat pemmican?

As it is it can be a protein snack. There are two traditional ways of cooking pemmican: rubaboo, a kind of stew, and rechaud, which involves frying.

Europeans involved in the fur trade and later by Arctic and Antarctic explorers used pemmican as a high protein food.


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