Can beef jerky go bad after opening?
Picture this - you’re on a long road trip and reach for a snack, and notice your jerky is a bit warm after sitting in the car with you all day. Or, maybe you’re on a camping trip and your jerky sat out in the sun for a bit. Maybe you simply have a bag that’s been open for a while - and you have your doubts as to whether you should roll the dice and keep eating it.
This begs the question - does beef jerky go bad? And if so, what happens if you eat bad beef jerky? Is food poisoning an actual risk with this dried meat snack? You’ve got questions, and we’ve got answers.
Keep reading this quick guide to learn more about when beef jerky goes bad and what happens if you eat it after that point in time.
Can Beef Jerky Go Bad After Opening?
Beef jerky is a super popular snack. It is tasty, it can be a quick snack and beef jerky is full of protein! Unfortunately, just like all good things, beef jerky does not last forever. There are many factors in beef jerky going bad (is the package opened, is the package damaged, where was it stored, etc.).
The good news is the quicker you eat your beef jerky snack, the less likely this will happen to you! But since you know that this is a possibility, it is important to know when to avoid eating beef jerky and how to tell if it has gone bad!
How Long Before Beef Jerky Goes Bad After Opening?
Do you want to know when does beef jerky go bad? Understanding a typical timeline can be very helpful for keeping you safe! For the freshest and best-tasting experience, eating beef jerky within 3 days of opening a package is recommended. However, that is just to ensure the highest quality and best flavor experience. Understand that beef jerky will typically still be good after that short amount of time.
Usually, after opening beef jerky, it is still good for 30 – 60 days under the right conditions. The package should be sealed and kept in a dry place when not consuming the product. Oxygen, moisture, and direct sunlight are the main culprits that make beef jerky unsuitable for eating. If you avoid these three things, your jerky will last longer.
Can Beef Jerky Go Bad in a Hot Car?
Since so many people are always on the go, the question can beef jerky go bad in a hot car, is an important one to answer! Yes, beef jerky can go bad in a hot car, especially if it is already opened.
If the package of jerky is exposed to higher temperatures, like in a hot car, but is not already open, it will last longer. Even though it is exposed to heat or direct sunlight, it is still exposed to oxygen or moisture. However, it will not last forever in warm conditions. A hot car is far from optimal for storing your beef jerky.
If your jerky was only in the car for a few hours, it should be fine (if unopened). If opened, it will go bad within a few hours. If unopened, you have 2 – 3 days.
Can Unopened Beef Jerky Go Bad in Heat?
Does beef jerky go bad in warmer temperatures? Yes, it can go bad when stored in higher temperatures than ambient or room temperature, especially when exposed to direct sunlight.
High heat levels are not good for jerky, even though it has already been dehydrated, packaged, and sealed. If you live in an environment with high heat levels, consider putting your jerky in the refrigerator or freezer for storage.
How to Tell if Your Beef Jerky Has Gone Bad
It is uncommon for jerky to go bad, especially when dehydrated, packaged, and stored correctly, but it can happen. Beef jerky is dehydrated meat, so it does not spoil like perishable products. However, it is not immune from bacteria and other issues you want to avoid.
If your jerky has gone bad, often you will know right away. As this is meat, it will start to decay when exposed to high temperatures, oxygen, and moisture. One of the first signs you may notice is the smell. If it is far along in the decaying process, you will know right away because it smells bad. Of course, in the beginning, the smell may not be off-putting. However, if it does not smell right, it is best to avoid it.
Some other signs to look for are mold growth on the meat or condensation on the packaging. Condensation will show moisture has gotten in, and the meat is no longer safe to eat.
Finally, the texture or flexibility has changed. For instance, if the jerky is harder than it should be, it has gone bad.
What Happens if You Eat Bad Beef Jerky?
What will happen if you eat bad beef jerky? What are you risking exactly? You must recognize the signs of spoilt beef jerky and not eat it. Beef jerky is meat, and there is nothing worse than eating rotten meat. When meat rots, many different organisms can grow on it.
If you eat bad beef jerky, you will probably suffer from food poisoning. If you get food poisoning, you will exhibit common symptoms like fever, nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, headaches, and body pain.
This is why you should only eat beef jerky that is still fresh and safe. Of course, there are also ways to preserve your beef jerky. Keep reading to find out how to make your jerky last longer!
Tips for Preserving Your Beef Jerky as Long as Possible
If you want to preserve your jerky for as long as possible, you should focus on getting the freshest and most high-quality jerky and learning how to properly store it for longevity.
Keep Your Beef Jerky in an Air-Tight Bag
When buying commercial beef jerky, it comes in a vacuum-sealed bag. Until you open the packaging, that is the best way to store it. It was vacuum sealed, removing any excess moisture and oxygen in the process. It allowed the jerky to be shipped and sold with an extended shelf date (until opened).
Do not open it until you are ready to eat it. If you are not finishing in one sitting, store it properly so it stays fresh. Once opened, it is best to eat within 3 days.
Store in a Cool, Dry Place
Before you open it, store it in a cool, dry place. Lazy susans, cupboards, and food pantries are optimal. Do not place your bag on top of electronics (like microwaves or refrigerators), as the heat generated by these appliances will harm your beef jerky.
Consider Freezing for up to 6 Months
If you have more jerky than you know what to do with (which is an awesome problem to have), you can store it in your freezer. Freezing jerky can extend its life to 6 months. However, if you are going to freeze it, make sure you keep it in freezer bags to protect the integrity of your beef jerky.
Buy the Freshest Jerky You Can Get Your Hands On
Although storage methods are super important, the product you start with can make all the difference. Buying the best beef jerky online (instead of mass-produced options) will allow you to help keep your beef jerky the freshest!
If you have not already tried Mahogany Smoked Meats, now is the time. We have 100% guaranteed satisfaction with a money-back, no questions asked policy! We even offer free shipping on orders of $85.00 or more! We have online beef jerky for sale and so many different flavors for you to choose from!
Our meat is NOT mass-produced; it is created in small batches ensuring our customers get the freshest product possible. The fresher the meat, the easier it is to keep longer! Also, fresh jerky tastes so much better than mass-produced varieties!
Does Beef Jerky Go Bad After Opening? Wrapping Things Up
So, does beef jerky go bad? It is a possibility that beef jerky will go bad after opening it. However, you can avoid this by getting fresh, small-batches beef jerky and learning the correct storage methods. It takes little time to properly store your beef jerky, allowing you to enjoy every piece. In fact, if you decide to order jerky online, you may order multiple varieties of jerky to sample different flavors to find your favorite.
Now, it’s time to experience the Mahogany Smoked Meats difference yourself!
We make lots of different jerkies you need to try, such as buffalo jerky, elk jerky, and even fish jerky! To keep all your delicious jerky safe from going bad, follow the same advice you would for beef jerky. This will allow you to sample different meats, flavors, and combinations!
Remember, beef jerky is safest while still in the original, unopened packaging. However, by storing it in a cool, dry place or in your freezer, you will be able to save the jerky for longer, enjoying it whenever the mood strikes!