Uncovering the Truth: How Long Does Jerky Last?

  • By: Chester Brown
  • Time to read: 19 min.
Chester Brown
Introducing Chester Brown, the creative force behind Flying Jerky and the visionary author behind the exhilarating journey chronicled on flyingjerky.com. Chester's passion for adventure and premium jerky has converged to create a unique platform that not only celebrates the thrill of exploration but also tantalizes taste buds with the finest jerky selections.

Beef jerky is a nutritious meat snack that has a long shelf life. It originated from drying meat with fire and smoke for preservation. Jerky is typically brown, tough to chew, and has a concentrated flavor. It is made from lean cuts of beef, marinated or spiced with various flavors. The word “jerky” comes from a Spanish-American word meaning “dried meat.” Jerky is safe to eat as it is dried past the point where pathogenic bacteria can survive. The dehydration process involves laying strips of jerky on a rack and drying them at a low temperature for several hours. The shelf life of jerky can be extended by proper storage and preservation practices.

How Long Does Jerky Last Key Takeaways:

  • Beef jerky is a nutritious snack with a long shelf life.
  • Jerky is made from lean cuts of beef and dried to remove moisture.
  • The name “jerky” comes from a Spanish-American word meaning “dried meat.”
  • Jerky is safe to eat as it is dried past the point where pathogenic bacteria can survive.
  • Proper storage and preservation practices can help extend the shelf life of jerky.

How Long Does Jerky Last: What is Beef Jerky Made From?

The best beef jerky is made from lean cuts of beef, such as topside or outside flank, which are low in fat and connective tissue. It is a natural and minimally processed food that is trimmed of all fat and cut into thin strips. The marinade or spices used for flavoring can vary, offering a wide range of taste profiles. The process of making jerky involves dehydrating the meat to remove moisture, resulting in a concentrated protein content.

Beef jerky is a popular choice for health-conscious individuals due to its high protein content and minimal processing. It is a natural and nutritious snack that can be enjoyed guilt-free. The lean beef cuts used in jerky ensure that it is low in fat and calories, making it a suitable option for those looking to maintain a balanced diet. With its rich flavor and satisfying texture, beef jerky provides a convenient and tasty way to incorporate protein into your daily routine.

“Beef jerky is a natural and nutritious snack due to its high protein content and minimal processing.”

What Makes Beef Jerky Different from Other Processed Snacks?

Unlike many other processed snacks, beef jerky is made from whole cuts of lean beef and is not loaded with unhealthy additives. It is free from artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors, making it a natural alternative to traditional snacks. The dehydration process that jerky undergoes allows it to retain its nutritional value while extending its shelf life. This makes beef jerky a great choice for those who are looking for a convenient and healthy snack option that doesn’t compromise on taste.

Beef JerkyOther Processed Snacks
High in proteinHigh in unhealthy additives
Low in fatHigh in saturated and trans fats
Minimally processedLoaded with artificial preservatives
Natural flavorsArtificial flavors and colors

The Ingredients of Beef Jerky

The ingredients of beef jerky typically include lean cuts of beef, marinades or spices for flavoring, and salt for preservation. The meat is thinly sliced and then marinated to infuse it with delicious flavors. Common marinade ingredients can include soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, onion, and various spices. Some brands also offer organic or all-natural options, which use only high-quality ingredients.

  • Lean cuts of beef
  • Marinade or spices
  • Salt

These simple ingredients come together to create a tasty and nutritious snack that can be enjoyed anytime, anywhere. Whether you’re on the go or simply looking for a delicious and protein-packed treat, beef jerky is a fantastic choice.

The Origins and History of Beef Jerky

Beef jerky has a rich history that stretches back thousands of years. While the exact origins are unknown, evidence suggests that dried meat has been produced by various cultures around the world. One of the earliest records of jerky production can be traced back to ancient Egypt, where it was used as a method of preservation.

Ancient civilizations developed different preservation techniques to ensure the longevity of meat. One common method involved using salt and smoke to dry the meat, which not only helped preserve it but also added unique and flavorful characteristics. These preservation methods were vital in times when refrigeration did not exist, allowing people to store and consume meat for extended periods.

Today, beef jerky remains a popular snack and a link to our ancestral past. The traditional methods of preserving jerky have evolved, but the core concept remains the same – transforming fresh meat into a dried, concentrated form that can be enjoyed for an extended period. Jerky offers a natural food experience that connects us to the ancient techniques of our ancestors and their methods of survival.

So the next time you savor a piece of beef jerky, take a moment to appreciate the rich history and the cultural significance behind this delicious and versatile snack.

Is Beef Jerky Raw or Cooked?

Beef jerky is not cooked like most beef, but it is also not raw. The process of making beef jerky involves dehydration, which combines heat and air flow to extract water from the meat. This controlled process ensures that the jerky is safe to eat by eliminating pathogenic bacteria. The drying time can vary depending on factors such as meat thickness, marinade consistency, and desired texture. As a result, jerky can range from soft and moist to hard and dry, depending on personal preference.

“Beef jerky goes through a dehydration process that carefully removes moisture while maintaining the nutritional value and flavor of the meat.”

The dehydration process begins by slicing lean cuts of beef into thin strips. These strips are then marinated in a mixture of spices and flavorings to enhance their taste. After marinating, the strips are laid on a rack and subjected to low temperatures for several hours. The combination of gentle heat and air circulation removes moisture from the meat, resulting in a concentrated protein content and an extended shelf life.

Is Beef Jerky Raw or Cooked?Dehydration Process
Beef jerky is not raw.The process involves dehydration, which combines heat and air flow to extract water from the meat.
Beef jerky is not cooked like most beef.The controlled dehydration process eliminates pathogenic bacteria and preserves the jerky’s nutritional value and flavor.
Jerky can range from soft and moist to hard and dry, depending on personal preference.The drying time varies based on factors such as meat thickness, marinade consistency, and desired texture.

The Dehydration Process

  1. Lean cuts of beef are sliced into thin strips.
  2. The strips are marinated in a mixture of spices and flavorings.
  3. The marinated strips are laid on a rack.
  4. The strips are dried at low temperatures for several hours, removing moisture and concentrating protein content.

Overall, beef jerky is a delicious and safe-to-eat snack that is created through a carefully controlled dehydration process. Whether you prefer soft and moist jerky or hard and dry jerky, you can enjoy this nutritious meat snack with confidence, knowing that it has undergone the necessary steps to ensure its quality and safety.

How is Beef Jerky Made?

Beef jerky is a delicious and nutritious snack that involves a series of steps to achieve its desired flavor and texture. Let’s take a closer look at the jerky making process, including the dehydration methods and drying time.

Step 1: Slicing and Marinating the Meat

The first step in making beef jerky is slicing the meat into thin strips. This is typically done against the grain, which helps to ensure a tender final product. The meat can be sliced by hand or with the help of a meat slicer for more precision.

Once the meat is sliced, it is then marinated in a mixture of spices, seasonings, and other flavorings. The marinade can vary depending on personal preference, and it is where the jerky gets its delicious taste. The meat is typically marinated for several hours or overnight to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat.

Step 2: Dehydration Process

After the meat has been marinated, it is time for the dehydration process. There are several methods for dehydrating beef jerky, including using an oven, dehydrator, or even a box fan.

If using an oven, the meat strips are laid out on a baking rack and placed in the oven at a low temperature for several hours. The oven door is usually left slightly ajar to allow air circulation and moisture to escape.

If using a dehydrator, the meat strips are arranged on the dehydrator trays and stacked. The dehydrator is then set to the appropriate temperature and left to dehydrate for the specified time.

Using a box fan method involves placing the meat strips on a wire rack and positioning a box fan nearby. The fan helps to circulate air and speed up the drying process. This method requires careful monitoring to ensure the meat is properly dried.

Each drying method can take different amounts of time, ranging from 2 to 18 hours, depending on factors like meat thickness and desired texture.

Step 3: Storing and Enjoying

Once the beef jerky is fully dehydrated, it is important to store it properly to maintain its freshness. Store the jerky in an airtight container or resealable bag to prevent moisture from getting in, which can cause spoilage.

Properly stored beef jerky can last for several months, making it a convenient snack option for on-the-go or anytime you need a protein boost.

Table: Comparison of Dehydration Methods

Dehydration MethodTime RequiredRecommended Equipment
Oven4-6 hoursOven, baking rack
Dehydrator6-8 hoursDehydrator machine, drying trays
Box Fan2-4 hoursBox fan, wire rack

Now that you know how beef jerky is made, you can try making your own delicious and flavorful jerky at home. Experiment with different marinades and drying methods to create a jerky that suits your taste preferences. Whether you prefer a softer texture or a chewier bite, homemade beef jerky is a satisfying snack that you can enjoy anytime.

Soft vs Hard Jerky

When it comes to jerky, texture plays a significant role in your overall snacking experience. Jerky can vary from soft and tender to hard and chewy, offering different mouthfeel and flavors. The texture of jerky is influenced by factors such as moisture content and drying consistency.

Soft jerky has a higher moisture content, which makes it more pliable and easier to chew. It often has a slightly softer texture and can be consumed quickly. Soft jerky is achieved by using a higher amount of moisture in the marinade or by using a meat paste instead of meat strips. The increased moisture content gives the jerky a more tender bite and can enhance the flavor absorption from the marinade.

On the other hand, hard jerky is dried to a lower moisture content, resulting in a longer and more intense chewing experience. The reduced moisture makes the jerky firmer and drier, giving it a classic, traditional texture. Hard jerky typically uses fewer preservatives as the reduced water content hinders the growth of bacteria. It is a popular choice for those who enjoy a more robust and authentic jerky experience.

TextureMoisture ContentDrying Consistency
SoftHigherPliable and tender
HardLowerFirm and dry

Whether you prefer soft or hard jerky ultimately comes down to personal preference. Soft jerky offers a more effortless snacking experience with its tender texture, while hard jerky provides a chewier and longer-lasting treat. Whichever texture you choose, jerky is a delicious and protein-packed snack that can satisfy your cravings and keep you fueled on the go.

The Benefits of Beef Jerky

Beef jerky is not only a delicious snack, but it also offers several benefits that make it a popular choice among health-conscious individuals. One of the key advantages of beef jerky is its high protein content. Protein is an essential nutrient that plays a crucial role in building and repairing tissues, supporting muscle growth, and promoting overall health and wellbeing. With beef jerky, you can enjoy a protein-packed snack that helps meet your daily protein requirements.

In addition to being a great source of protein, beef jerky has a long shelf life. Unlike many other perishable snacks, jerky can be stored for an extended period without refrigeration. This makes it a convenient option for those who are always on the go or need a long-lasting snack for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, or road trips. Whether you’re looking for a quick energy boost or a satisfying treat during your adventures, beef jerky is a nutritious and portable choice.

Moreover, beef jerky can help with hunger control. Its high protein content and low carbohydrate and fat levels make it a satiating snack that can keep you feeling full for longer periods. When you’re in need of a mid-afternoon pick-me-up or a pre-workout snack, beef jerky can provide the sustenance you need to power through your day. Its savory taste and chewy texture make it a satisfying snack that can help curb cravings and prevent overeating.

Factors Affecting the Cost of Beef Jerky

When it comes to the cost of beef jerky, several factors come into play. Understanding these factors can help you make informed decisions and find the best value for your money. Here are the key factors that affect the cost of beef jerky:

  1. Quality of Beef: The quality of the beef used in making jerky is one of the main determinants of its cost. Premium beef jerky is made from high-quality cuts of beef, resulting in a higher price. The use of top-grade beef ensures a better flavor profile and texture.
  2. Drying Process: The drying process of jerky requires time and energy to dehydrate the meat properly. The method used, whether it’s oven drying, using a dehydrator, or even a box fan, can impact the cost. More advanced drying methods may require additional equipment or energy consumption, which can increase the price.
  3. Marinade Quality: The quality of the marinade and spices used in the jerky can also affect the cost. Handmade and unique flavors may be more expensive than generic options. High-quality marinades use premium ingredients, resulting in a more flavorful jerky.

“The quality of the beef, the drying process, and the marinade used can all influence the price of beef jerky. Understanding these factors can help you choose a jerky that suits your taste and budget.”

When considering the cost of beef jerky, it’s essential to find the right balance between quality and price. While premium jerky may come at a higher cost, it often offers superior taste and texture. On the other hand, more affordable options can still provide a satisfying snacking experience. Ultimately, the choice depends on your personal preferences and budget.

FactorsEffect on Cost
Quality of BeefHigher quality beef results in a higher cost.
Drying ProcessAdvanced drying methods may increase the price.
Marinade QualityHandmade and unique flavors can be more expensive.

Jerky and Australian Culture

In Australia, beef jerky holds a special place in the country’s culture, often associated with the drinking scene. It is a common sight to find beef jerky stocked behind the counters at pubs, where it has been traditionally enjoyed with a cold beer. Over time, the preservation methods for jerky have evolved, resulting in less salty options that appeal to a broader audience. However, the connection between jerky and the drinking culture remains strong.

Not limited to pubs, beef jerky has gained popularity among outdoor enthusiasts and the fitness crowd. Its high protein content and portability make it an ideal snack for activities such as hiking, camping, or boating. Being a natural and nutritious source of protein, it fuels individuals who engage in fitness activities, providing them with the necessary energy to power through their adventures.

In the outdoor community, beef jerky is valued for its convenience. It can be easily packed and carried, making it a reliable companion during outdoor pursuits where protein and space are essential considerations. Whether it’s a long hike or a day at the beach, having a bag of beef jerky on hand ensures a quick and satisfying snack when hunger strikes.

Jerky has become a cultural staple in Australia, deeply rooted in the country’s drinking scene and outdoor lifestyle. Its association with pubs and beer is a testament to its popularity, while its high protein content and portability make it a favorite among fitness enthusiasts. So whether you’re relaxing with a cold pint or embarking on an adventure, beef jerky is a snack that embodies the spirit of Australian culture.

Pork vs Beef Jerky: Flavor and Texture Differences

When it comes to pork jerky and beef jerky, there are distinct differences in both flavor and texture. Pork jerky tends to have a sweeter taste compared to beef jerky. This sweetness comes from the natural sugar content in pork and the use of sweeter marinades. On the other hand, beef jerky is known for its richer and more traditional flavor. The combination of spices and marinades used in beef jerky gives it a distinct and savory taste.

In terms of texture, pork jerky tends to be more tender compared to beef jerky. The higher moisture content in pork jerky results in a softer and more pliable texture. It provides a satisfying chew without being overly tough. Beef jerky, on the other hand, is often chewier and has a drier texture. It offers a more intense and prolonged chewing experience for those who enjoy a robust snack.

Whether you prefer the sweeter and tender taste of pork jerky or the richer and chewier flavor of beef jerky, both options provide a delicious and nutritious snack. The choice between the two ultimately comes down to personal preference and dietary needs. Whatever your preference may be, both pork and beef jerky are protein-packed snacks that are perfect for satisfying cravings and keeping you fueled throughout the day.

Pork JerkyBeef Jerky
FlavorSweetRich and savory
TextureTender and pliableChewy and dry

Pork vs Beef Jerky: Nutritional Comparison

When it comes to choosing between pork and beef jerky, understanding their nutritional content can help you make an informed decision. Both options are high in protein and low in carbohydrates and fat, making them ideal for those seeking a nutritious and satisfying snack.

Let’s take a closer look at the nutritional content of pork jerky and beef jerky:

Nutritional ContentPork JerkyBeef Jerky
Calories per ServingXXXX
Total Fat (g) per ServingXXXX
Protein (g) per ServingXXXX
Carbohydrates (g) per ServingXXXX

Please note that the nutritional values may vary between different brands and flavors of pork jerky and beef jerky. It’s always a good idea to check the label for detailed information specific to the product you are considering.

High Protein Snack

Both pork jerky and beef jerky are excellent sources of protein. Protein is an essential macronutrient that plays a critical role in building and repairing muscles, supporting a healthy immune system, and promoting satiety. Enjoying jerky as a snack can help you meet your daily protein requirements and keep you feeling full and satisfied.

Remember to consume jerky in moderation as part of a balanced diet. While it is a nutritious snack option, it’s important to consider your overall calorie intake and dietary needs.

How to Make Pork Jerky at Home

Homemade pork jerky is a delicious and satisfying snack that you can easily make at home. By using lean cuts of pork and following a few simple steps, you can create your own flavorful and nutritious jerky. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make pork jerky from scratch:

Slicing and Marinating the Pork

The first step in making pork jerky is to slice the meat into thin, even strips. This can be done by partially freezing the pork for about an hour, which makes it easier to slice. Once the meat is partially frozen, use a sharp knife to cut it into thin strips, about ¼ inch thick.

Next, it’s time to marinate the pork to infuse it with flavor. You can use your favorite sauce or seasoning to marinate the meat. Place the pork strips in a bowl and pour the marinade over them, ensuring that all the strips are coated evenly. Let the pork marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or overnight for maximum flavor.

Drying Methods

There are several methods you can use to dry the pork and turn it into jerky. One common method is to use an oven. Preheat your oven to a low temperature, around 175°F (80°C), and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the marinated pork strips on the baking sheet, making sure that they are not touching each other. Bake the pork in the oven for about 2 to 3 hours, or until it reaches your desired texture.

If you have a food dehydrator, you can use it to dry the pork as well. Simply arrange the marinated strips on the dehydrator trays, leaving space between them for proper air circulation. Set the dehydrator to the recommended temperature for meat jerky (usually around 160°F to 170°F or 70°C to 75°C) and let it run for 4 to 6 hours, or until the jerky is dry and chewy.

Alternatively, if you don’t have a dehydrator or an oven, you can air dry the pork jerky using a box fan. After marinating the pork, place the strips on a wire rack and set it up in a well-ventilated area. Position a box fan in front of the rack, ensuring that there is enough space for air to circulate. Let the fan run on low speed for about 8 to 12 hours, or until the jerky is fully dried.

Once the pork jerky is dried to your liking, remove it from the oven, dehydrator, or box fan, and let it cool completely before storing it in an airtight container. Homemade pork jerky can be kept at room temperature for up to 2 weeks, or stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 months. Enjoy your homemade pork jerky as a delicious and nutritious snack!


Preserving the freshness and extending the shelf life of your jerky is key to ensuring its quality and flavor. By following a few simple tips, you can enjoy this delicious and nutritious snack for an extended period.

Firstly, store your jerky in a cool and dry place to prevent moisture buildup. This will help prevent the growth of bacteria and mold, which can spoil the jerky. Additionally, keep it away from direct sunlight, as exposure to UV rays can cause the jerky to deteriorate.

Sealing your jerky in an airtight container is another effective way to maintain its freshness. This will help prevent air and moisture from getting in, preserving its taste and texture. If you have purchased jerky in a resealable bag, make sure to squeeze out as much air as possible before resealing it.

Lastly, remember to consume your jerky within a reasonable time frame. Despite its long shelf life, jerky is best enjoyed when it is still fresh. Over time, the texture and flavor may degrade, so it’s recommended to consume it within a few months of purchase.

As we conclude our exploration of “How Long Does Jerky Last,” it’s crucial to prioritize food safety and storage guidelines. For official insights on these matters, refer to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

The longevity of jerky hinges on proper storage, handling, and understanding its shelf life. This guide has equipped you with essential knowledge to ensure your jerky remains a delectable delight from the first bite to the last.

At Flying Jerky, we emphasize the importance of quality in jerky. Our premium selection ensures not only exquisite flavors but also optimal freshness, contributing to a satisfying snacking experience.

Understanding how long jerky lasts is not just about extending its shelf life; it’s about preserving the pleasure of each bite. Whether you’re storing jerky for an outdoor adventure or indulging in a savory snack at home, follow the recommended storage practices to guarantee its lasting enjoyment.

Experimentation is key to finding the right balance for your jerky storage. As you continue your jerky journey, let safety, creativity, and the joy of culinary exploration guide your way. Flying Jerky is here to support your quest for quality jerky that lasts.

May each bite of jerky be a testament to your commitment to freshness and flavor. Happy snacking and savoring the lasting pleasure of your favorite jerky!


How long does jerky last?

Jerky has a long shelf life and can last over 12 months when stored properly.

What is beef jerky made from?

Beef jerky is made from lean cuts of beef, such as topside or outside flank, which are low in fat and connective tissue.

What are the origins and history of beef jerky?

The exact origins of beef jerky are unknown, but evidence suggests that dried meat has been produced for thousands of years. It was used as a preservation method in ancient Egypt and has been created by various cultures around the world.

Is beef jerky raw or cooked?

Beef jerky is not cooked like most beef, but it is not raw either. It goes through a dehydration process that eliminates pathogenic bacteria, making it safe to eat.

How is beef jerky made?

Beef jerky is made by slicing lean cuts of beef into thin strips, marinating them in spices and flavorings, and then dehydrating them at a low temperature for several hours.

What is the difference between soft and hard jerky?

Soft jerky has a higher moisture content and is more pliable, while hard jerky has a lower moisture content and is chewier.

What are the benefits of beef jerky?

Beef jerky is a high-protein snack that has a long shelf life, making it convenient and satisfying. It is also a nutritious option for controlling hunger between meals.

How much does beef jerky cost?

The cost of beef jerky can vary depending on factors such as the quality of the beef used, the drying process, and the quality of the marinade and spices.

What is the association of beef jerky with Australian culture?

In Australia, beef jerky is often associated with drinking and is commonly found behind the counter at pubs. It is also popular among outdoor enthusiasts and the fitness crowd.

What are the flavor and texture differences between pork and beef jerky?

Pork jerky tends to be sweeter and more tender compared to beef jerky. Beef jerky has a richer and more traditional flavor and is usually chewier.

How do the nutritional contents of pork and beef jerky compare?

Pork jerky is generally lower in calories and fat compared to beef jerky, but both types are high in protein and low in carbohydrates and fat.

How can I make pork jerky at home?

To make pork jerky at home, start by selecting a lean cut of pork, slicing it into thin strips, marinating it, and then dehydrating it using various methods.

How should I store jerky to extend its shelf life?

To extend the shelf life of jerky, store it in a cool, dry place, away from moisture and direct sunlight. Sealing it in an airtight container can help preserve its freshness.