About Beef Jerky Real beef jerky is made, of course, with beef. However, originally when discovered in South America in the 1500s it was made by the Peruvian native tribe of Quechua, a part of the Inca empire, used alpaca and llama meat. It was called ch’arki. Spanish Conquistadors changed the name to Chirqui, which means ‘to burn meat’. The conquistadors saw the value of this type of preservation of meats as it made them portable and kept them from spoiling on their expeditions. Soon the Charqui spread throughout the world.