Mongolian traditional beef jerky

Ark of taste
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Mongolian traditional beef jerky


Dried meat is one of the traditional specialities of Mongolia. It is made using air-dried donkey and cow meat.
The beef comes from a local race called san-he that is the result of a cross between an ancient Mongolian race and those from other countries, particularly Russia (Simmental, Yaroslav, Huormedanr and Siberia).
Donkey meat and the lean meat from the rear section of the cow’s foot is used. Strips of meat of around 2-3 cm are cut following the muscular and tendon structure, so that the dried meat can be torn off into small pieces. It is then placed in a bowl and salted. After air-drying the pieces are roasted on the hearth. Modern processing involves oven drying.

The meat dried in this traditional manner is crunchy on the outside and soft and flexible inside, and becomes more flavoursome the more it is chewed.

It is cooked with rice or flavoured simply with garlic.

The history of this process dates back to the time of Genghis Khan, when the soldiers would live outside and eat only the milk of horses and air-dried meat. When particularly hunger they would mix it with water to form a paste and hunt to replenish their supplies. During the wars, the soldiers would live on the meat of the horses and herds that accompanied them on their journeys and were also used for transportation. Dried meat was very important during long trips.

This conserved product, prepared for daily consumption by the ancestors of the Mongolian people and passed down to modern times, is now offered to visitors and tourists. That produced in the Keshiketengqi region is of particular note.

Unfortunately the san-he race is gradually decreasing in number. There is less and less quality meat available, and there are also fewer artisans able to produce the dried meat in the traditional manner.

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Inner Mongolia

Production area:Keshiketengqi

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Cured meats and meat products

Nominated by:Laxinima - Beijing Liangshuming Rural Reconstruction Center