Charqui or charque, is a form of jerky common in South America made from dried and salted meat, usually from horse, but also beef. The Quechua word Charqui gave origin to the word jerky. This curing was done so the meat could be stored for a long period. This was a very popular way to preserve meat in Uruguay and Rio Grande do Sul. It was industrialized in charqueadas, also named saladeros (in Uruguay).

When encountered by the Spanish, the Inca Empire supplied tambo (inns) along the Inca road system with llama jerky so that travelers would have something to eat. The Inca used a freeze drying process that took advantage of both the cold dry mountain air and strong sun in their homeland.

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