The chemical composition of alpaca Andean charqui was studied. Two types of charqui were sampled from producers: charqui made from lean meat slices (30 samples) and charqui made from flaps of whole bone-in carcass pieces (22 samples), each representing the two principal Andean techniques of making charqui. The aw value of charqui was under 0.75 (mean value 0.64). The non-protein nitrogen and free fatty acid contents were near 6% of total nitrogen and 6% of fat, respectively. The hydration ratio of charqui was 2.0, and the hydration resulted in a considerable loss of sodium, phosphorous and potassium. The volatile fraction of hydrated cooked charqui was rich in lipid-derived compounds, with hydrocarbons being the most abundant. A large number of branched-chain hydrocarbons were detected. Among the chemical characteristics studied several differences between both types of charqui were observed, which demonstrates the existence of variation in the product associated with the making process. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.