Beef Jerky Is Still Moist – What to Do and Is It Normal?

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Jerky made from beef has been popular as a snack for what seems like decades, and rightfully so. This is due to the fact that beef jerky is created by dehydrating individual pieces of beef until there is almost no moisture left, which provides it the capacity to maintain its quality even when it is not stored in the refrigerator.

So is it normal when beef jerky is still moist? No, it isn’t normal for beef jerky to be still moist. The whole point of making jerky is to get as much moisture as possible out of the meat. Therefore, moisty jerky is simply jerky that hasn’t been prepared appropriately.

But this isn’t the whole truth by any means; there are many different kinds of jerky, and some of them contain more moisture than others—so much more moisture, in fact, that some people wouldn’t think twice about calling that kind of jerky wet. How precisely does it work with the moisture and the jerky then? Let’s take a more in-depth look, shall we?

Is beef jerky supposed to be moist?

The simplest response to this question would be “no,” since jerky is a sort of dried meat, and dried meat typically does not contain any moisture. Having said that, it is difficult to provide an accurate estimate of the amount of moisture that could be present in beef jerky.

When we speak about jerky that you make at home, the amount of moisture you put in it is solely up to your own preference, but in the United States, products may only be labeled as jerky if they have a moisture-to-protein ratio of 0.75 to 1.

Why does jerky need to be completely dry?

Be aware, however, that if you leave an excessive amount of moisture in your jerky, it will lose its natural ability to avoid becoming rancid in a short amount of time. Since this quality is directly attributable to the absence of moisture, it follows that jerky must be absolutely devoid of any trace of moisture before it can maintain its quality over an extended period of time.

Yet, since we now have a variety of choices for storing our food and because many seek jerky only for its flavor and the nutritional benefits it provides, drying it entirely is not truly a must.

How do you get the moisture out of beef jerky?

The dehydration technique that is used to “cook” beef jerky causes the meat to lose its moisture throughout the process, thus it is not a difficult operation to remove the moisture from the beef jerky.

Can Beef Jerky Be Undercooked?

How long should I dehydrate beef jerky?

Hence, the longer you let your jerky dry out in the dehydrator, the less moisture it will have in the end product. Because of this, the length of time that you should spend dehydrating your beef jerky is heavily dependent on the level of juiciness that you want to achieve with the finished product.

In a nutshell, it is difficult to determine an exact timestamp due to the fact that it might range anywhere from four to twenty hours, or even more in certain instances, depending on the circumstances. Yet, there is no need for you to be concerned since we have a fun little prank for you!

Check the doneness of your jerky on a frequent basis not by calculating the time in a haphazard manner but by breaking off a little piece of it and bending it slightly. It will give you an idea of how much moisture is still there in it, and you will be able to halt the drying process at the precise moment when the jerky is the most appetizing to you.

What should you do, though, if you’ve never made jerky before and have no idea how much moisture you should be looking for? If there is any moisture that can be physically squeezed out of the bent jerky, then it hasn’t been done yet. This is a general rule that may be applied to the situation.

On the other hand, if it is broken, it indicates that it has most likely been neglected for too long. If you dehydrate your jerky for an excessive amount of time, it will lose some of its sweetness (at least according to the large majority of people who like jerky), but you may still consume it. This does not mean that the jerky has been damaged in any specific way.

What temperature should beef jerky be dehydrated at?

As is the case with the amount of time, determining the temperature at which beef jerky should be dehydrated is a challenging process. This is due to the fact that everyone has their own method for preparing beef jerky according to how they prefer it.

Having said that, there is still a temperature range that you need to stay inside, and that is between between 145 and 170 degrees Fahrenheit.

Is cure necessary for jerky?

Since we have to cure our meat in order to keep it from going bad, curing it has become a habit for us. But is it required with jerky when the jerky itself ought to be able to keep for a considerable amount of time? You’ve probably already figured this out, but jerky doesn’t need the cure at all!

Despite this, it is often cured, which not only helps it to keep for an even longer period of time but also imparts the characteristic salty taste that a lot of people want for in their jerky.


Since beef jerky is a sort of processed meat that is created by dehydrating lean beef, it is not supposed to have any moisture in it. On the other hand, some individuals like a chewier texture in their jerky, which means they halt the dehydration process at an early stage. In this approach, a greater proportion of the meat’s moisture is preserved.

You may absolutely do that as well, but you should be aware that damp jerky is far more prone to becoming rancid than dry jerky is. The dry kind is the safer option. Because of this, you need to give some thought to putting it in the refrigerator.

In light of the aforementioned, you need not worry about re-drying the jerky even if the production of wet jerky was not among your goals; just place it back into the dehydrator.


What to do if jerky is not dry enough?

After giving the jerky a quick coating of a liquid and allowing it to rest in an airtight container for at least a few hours and up to a day, You may use any liquid. Anything from soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce to chicken, beef, or vegetable broth, liquid smoke, and even plain old water may do wonders. It is highly recommended that you use the same kind of liquid that was used in the original recipe.

Should beef jerky be moist?

After the drying process is complete, the jerky should have a water activity level that is less than 0.75 and a moisture content that is around 20%. It should feel dry.

Should jerky be completely dry?

In general, it takes several hours for jerky to dry completely, but you should start inspecting it after around three hours to prevent it from overdrying. To determine whether or not the jerky is cooked through, take a piece off of the tray and wait for it to reach room temperature. After being allowed to cool, the jerky should bend without entirely breaking but should show some signs of cracking.

How do you harden beef jerky?

Put a baking rack on a cookie sheet and then preheat your oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit while you wait. After removing the meat from the marinade, blot it dry with a towel to remove any excess moisture. Place the pork strips in a single layer over the bottom of the pan. Cook the beef in the oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately four hours, or until the jerky feels dry to the touch.

Can you dehydrate jerky again?

According to the regulations of the USDA, it should be safe to consume if it is finely sliced, the dehydrator is not overcrowded, and it has been in the dehydrator for over 10 hours at temperatures between 140 and 145 degrees Fahrenheit. It is possible that it is not safe to consume if the process was stopped before that, if the pieces are very large, or if the temperature is substantially lower.

How long does jerky take to dry?

Step 8: The drying process for beef jerky typically takes between four and five hours. In accordance with recommendations provided by the USDA, set the temperature of the dehydrator to 165 degrees and allow it to continue operating for about four hours until the interior temperature of the jerky reaches 160 degrees.

How dry does beef jerky need to be?

Arrange the slices so that they are near together, but not so close that they are touching or overlapping. Put the racks in an oven or dehydrator that has been heated to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Dry until bending a test piece causes small fractures but does not cause it to shatter (10 to 24 hours for samples not heated in marinade). The samples that are cooked in the marinade will dry more quickly.

What should the moisture content of jerky be?

Background In order for a product to be designated as jerky according to the current USDA guidelines, the Moisture:Protein Ratio (MPR) must be 0.75 to 1 or below. In the past, complying with this labeling criteria was considered to be synonymous with assuring that the product would not support the growth of infections, or that it would be resistant to spoilage over time.

Can you overcook jerky in a dehydrator?

It is not possible to dry the meat in half the time by just increasing the temperature of the dehydrator by a factor of two and hoping for the best; this strategy will not provide the desired results. In the event that you try to save time in this manner, you run the danger of having the outside of the meat become overdone while the inside maintains a significant amount of moisture.

How do you know when jerky is ready to eat?

Only after the jerky has been roasted to a temperature high enough to kill any germs that may be present and has been dried out enough to be shelf-stable can it be declared “done” and safe to consume. Shelf-stable refers to the ability of the jerky to withstand being kept at room temperature without fostering the development of microorganisms.