Making Buffalo jerky with the Native Americans
The buffalo was very important to the Native American Indians, in both the practical and the spiritual sense. The buffalo, or bison, provided the Indians with food from their meat, weapons from their horns, and shelter, clothes and blankets from their hides. The Native Americans always used every part of the animals that they killed, and honored the buffalo for its usefulness. They also considered the buffalo to be a spirit that helped influence many different parts of their lives. Buffalo jerky came from the Native Americans, who cured their meat by elevating it in strips out in the sun. Jerky was then typically hung over a fire, which would dry out and cure the meat. Flavoring was added, and every family had their own recipes for making buffalo jerky.
Another process for making buffalo jerky was called pemmican, which is a derivative of the Cree word pimii, which means grease or fat. Jerky was considered a staple, and early settlers from the time period of Lewis and Clark were known to carry jerky for their meat supply. Jerky was an important food, as it was a way to store a form of meat when little storage options were possible.
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The buffalo is an animal that is still widely consumed, even though the general population still turns to beef from cows. Making buffalo jerky has stayed much the same throughout the years, by drying out the buffalo meat, smoking and curing it, adding flavor, and packaging. Many recipes call for marinating the meat in different spices and preserves that help cure the meat, as well as give it a certain flavor and taste. Buffalo jerky is considered a wonderful alternative to typical beef jerky, and can be bought off of the Internet or in many specialty shops around the country.
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