The longer you chew, the more fulling and satisying you will find the jerky to be.
Today jerky comes in a variety of different styles. Traditional jerky though was always cut in thick strips and then dried. You can eat the jerky at any point in the drying process, but most people eat it once it's pretty dry and fully preserved.
Some commercial companies these day dry their jerky at high temperatures, actually cooking it. This is an important difference as cooking jerky actually breaks down a lot of the connective tissue between the muscle fibers. While this is great when your cooking steaks, making them tender and easy to chew, it takes away one of the real benefits of jerky. It means that you don’t have anything left to chew on at the end... let us explain further.
One of the reasons that jerky was almost universally used is that it is not just a good way of preserving meat for later use and it could be made to taste great, it also had some hidden benefits when on long treks.
You could chew it for a long time while you walked, paddled or rode. This would produce a lot of saliva that would mix with the dry jerky so would hit your stomach as a full bodied soup and would be very filling. Then you could just go on chewing the remaining connective tissue for a long time, even after all the flavour had gone, just like chewing gum. So it helped pass time on long arduous treks and being pretty much all protein, it is slow to digest so you would feel full for a long time.