Does Beef Jerky Need to Be Refrigerated? (Explained!)

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We are fortunate to be living in a time where we have access to many different types of amazing technology, such as computers and cellphones. Because of this, we have a strange lack of awareness about the technologies that we have been exposed to our whole lives, such as refrigerators. While we take them for granted, the fact is that humans have just recently developed an amazingly simple technique to preserve food for a very short period of time.

Before the invention of refrigerators, keeping food was a laborious process, and most people living now have almost no idea what tools and methods were used to accomplish this chore in the past. Yet, there is one remnant from those days that everyone of us is well familiar with, and that is jerky.

Jerky is a dehydrated meat snack that has a high nutrient density and can be stored for a significant amount of time without losing its quality. We clearly do not need that in this day and age, but we continue to appreciate the traditional jerky because of its flavor and the nutritious ingredients it contains. The strange connection that has been established between traditional jerky and contemporary freezers is about to be revealed.

So does beef jerky need to be refrigerated? As you probably guessed, beef jerky usually doesn’t need to be refrigerated. But the word usually is significant since there are some situations in which you should put the jerky in your refrigerator.

How exactly can you determine whether or not this is the case? Keep reading, and you’ll find the answers to any questions that may have arisen!

Does beef jerky go bad if not refrigerated?

The question of whether or not the jerky has been opened is the most significant consideration to make when determining whether or not it is necessary to store the jerky in the refrigerator.


If it wasn’t, there is no need to put it in the refrigerator at any point in time. It is not necessary to store jerky in the refrigerator since it can be stored for up to a year at room temperature if it is properly vacuum-sealed; doing so would simply be a waste of space.


On the other hand, if you have several packets of jerky that have been opened previously, putting them in the refrigerator sounds like a good idea. You shouldn’t misunderstand us; jerky was manufactured to be shelf stable for an extended period of time. But, if you are convinced that you will complete that bag within a day or two (which, believe me, you surely will, even if you don’t think so), you are free to leave it out on the table.

But you’ll need to store the opened bag of jerky in the refrigerator if you want it to keep for more than a week or two after it’s been opened.

Why doesn’t unopened beef jerky need to be refrigerated?

Beef jerky that has not been opened does not need to be stored in the refrigerator since the process of making jerky leaves it with little to no moisture, which is necessary for the growth of germs. Yet, this is something that applies to jerky in general.

So, why does beef jerky that has not been opened have such a long shelf life? Jerky has a longer shelf life than other forms of dried meat due, in part, to the absence of oxygen in the container it comes in.

Does beef jerky need to be refrigerated after opening?

Because of the way that it is prepared, jerky has inherent properties that allow it to maintain its freshness for a very long time. However, because exposing jerky to oxygen causes it to lose some of these properties, it is best to store unopened packages of jerky in the refrigerator in order to maintain their quality.

This is particularly the case when working with jerky that has a high moisture level since this kind of jerky does not possess as much of the natural skills described in the previous paragraph. There is a good chance that the bag of jerky will even have the instructions to “Refrigerate After Opened” printed on it someplace.

What happens if you don’t refrigerate opened beef jerky?

Simply said, the shelf life of opened beef jerky is significantly reduced if it is not stored in the refrigerator once it has been opened. Having said that, there is often no need to be concerned about leaving unwrapped beef jerky at your table since it is quite probable that you will consume it before it becomes spoiled.

If you take the necessary precautions to ensure that your jerky is not among those that include greater amounts of moisture, you won’t need to worry about anything going wrong if you choose not to store it in the refrigerator.

How long does beef jerky last when opened?

After being opened, the shelf life of beef jerky may be affected by a variety of factors, one of which being whether or not it is stored in a refrigerator. But as a rule of thumb, we recommend devouring an opened package of jerky within one week after opening it.

How can you tell if beef jerky has gone bad?

The fragrance is the most reliable indicator that your beef jerky has lost its freshness and should be thrown away. Sadly, it is impossible to determine anything about the condition of your jerky just by looking at it. Beef jerky only begins to look strange when it begins to develop mold, so a visual inspection will not tell you anything about its condition. If you are concerned about eating the jerky that you have had for some time, all you need to do is take a whiff of it, and you will know whether or not it is safe to consume.

Does beef jerky go bad in the fridge?

No matter how well it is stored, food will ultimately spoil, even if it is kept in the refrigerator or freezer. Even beef jerky is not an exception to this rule; nevertheless, it will take a very long period.

And despite the fact that storing it in the refrigerator would allow you to extend the shelf life of your beef jerky, it will still spoil eventually.

How long does beef jerky last in the fridge?

This is a difficult issue to answer since the length of time that beef jerky will keep in the refrigerator depends on a wide variety of factors. Nonetheless, you should anticipate that it will keep for at least two weeks, and with the majority of jerky, keeping it for a month shouldn’t be a problem either.

Does Buc ee’s beef jerky need to be refrigerated?

Do you remember the jerky that had greater amounts of moisture that we discussed? Let’s talk about Buc-jerky ee’s before we go on to something a little bit different since it’s one of the most well-known brands that makes these. Before we do that, however, let’s talk about something somewhat different.


When we speak about a pack of Buc-beef ee’s jerky that has not been opened, everything is the same as it is with any other kind of jerky that you may purchase. It is not necessary to refrigerate the product since there is no oxygen present in the packaging; thus, the greater moisture levels are irrelevant.


Nevertheless, after you cut open the box, these factors become much more important. Once oxygen is introduced into the equation, an opened bag of Buc-beef ee’s jerky has little chance of being edible if it is not stored in the refrigerator.

Does homemade beef jerky need to be refrigerated?

In case you were under the impression otherwise, everything we’ve discussed up to this point relates to jerky that can be purchased in shops. So how is it doing with the beef jerky that you created at home? Let’s have a peek.

Since you probably won’t be able to dry it or pack it as well as the manufacturers do, homemade jerky is distinct from jerky that can be purchased in stores in both the manner in which it is prepared and the manner in which it is packaged. As a consequence of this, your jerky will have a higher moisture content, and the packaging will contain oxygen.

What exactly does it imply then? Simply said, there is no discernible difference between a box of handmade jerky that has been opened and one that has not been opened, and both should be stored in the refrigerator as soon as possible after being handled.

Does smoked beef jerky need to be refrigerated?

It particularly applies if you decide to prepare your jerky in a smoker – even if this method is normally favoured for the flavor and nutritious elements, it is impossible to get smoked beef jerky dry enough at home.

But, this shouldn’t be an issue for you; all you need to do is make sure you store it in the refrigerator, and you should be good to go.

Does ground beef jerky need to be refrigerated?

When we speak about putting your homemade jerky made from ground beef or sliced beef in the refrigerator, you probably immediately think of the jerky produced from sliced beef. Nevertheless, the same rules apply to jerky made from ground beef.

However, if you don’t want to consume all of the homemade ground beef jerky in one sitting, you will need to store it in the refrigerator.


While the major reason for making jerky is to have food that will last long enough on its own, it is recommended that you keep it in the refrigerator for optimal freshness. This is particularly important to keep in mind when discussing jerky that has a larger percentage of moisture.

Not only does this category include jerky sold by companies like Buc- ee’s, which intentionally incorporates a greater amount of moisture into their product, but it also includes jerky that was made at home, as it is highly unlikely that you will be able to remove enough of the natural moisture on your own.

  • Can Beef Jerky Be Frozen?
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  • Can You Dehydrate Jerky Twice?


Does beef jerky really need to be refrigerated?

Jerky that has been properly dried and stored in an airtight container may be kept at room temperature for two weeks. If you want to get the best results, improve the shelf life of the jerky while keeping its greatest taste and quality, chill or freeze it.

Why does beef jerky not need refrigerated?

The most straightforward explanation is that it does not contain sufficient moisture to encourage the development of germs. Due to the techniques used in its manufacture, jerky has a very low water content, which makes it difficult for bacteria to multiply. Because of this, jerky does not need to be refrigerated in order to remain edible for many months, provided that it is kept in a dry and cold location.

Can you eat beef jerky unrefrigerated?

Beef jerky that has not been opened does not need to be refrigerated. Nevertheless, after the container has been opened, the amount of moisture present in the jerky will decide whether or not it has to be refrigerated. When exposed to oxygen, jerky that has a high moisture content loses its ability to be shelf-stable and must be refrigerated instead.

Is beef jerky considered perishable?

To answer your question, beef jerky is non-perishable, which means that if it is maintained correctly, it may be kept for an endless amount of time. It is not necessary to cook it any more, nor does it need any particular care or refrigeration.

Does dehydrated meat need to be refrigerated?

It is possible to store meats that have been dehydrated without the need for refrigeration for up to two weeks. Following two weeks, the National Council for Home Food Preservation advises storing the dried meat in a freezer or refrigerator for no more than six months. This may be done for as long as the meat is needed.

How long does it take for beef jerky to go bad?

Everything is determined by the manner in which the jerky is packaged. The jerky may be kept in the pantry for about one to two months if the packaging is vacuum-sealed, but it will keep for a longer period of time in the refrigerator. If you do not vacuum-seal the jerky, then it will only survive around one to two weeks in the pantry and approximately one month in the refrigerator if stored in either of those locations.

Why is beef jerky shelf stable?

Since almost all of the moisture has been removed, beef jerky may be stored for a long time without going bad. The lack of moisture prevents the growth of microorganisms, which in turn reduces the risk of spoiling.

Why does beef jerky spoil?

In very rare cases, when beef jerky has a somewhat increased amount of fat, this might result in the fat becoming rancid. The stench is the most obvious indicator that beef jerky has become rotten over time. It will typically smell rancid and unpleasant most of the time. If you come across beef jerky that smells bad or has mold on it, you should throw it away and not consume it.

Can you get food poisoning from beef jerky?

Consequently, by the time the temperature of the dried meat eventually starts to increase, the bacteria will have grown more heat resistant, and they will have a greater chance of surviving. In the event that these bacteria are pathogenic, they have the potential to make anyone who consume the jerky sick with a foodborne disease.

Is jerky considered raw meat?

Jerky is a product that is cooked all the way through. It is never served uncooked. Naturally, the act of just cooking meat does not preserve it in any way. Since it has so little moisture, jerky may be stored for a very long time without becoming bad.