Are you curious how long does beef jerky lasts after opening? The timeline for how long beef jerky will still be good to eat varies based on the conditions in which it is stored - and the type of beef jerky in question.
This means you must consider whether you’re storing your beef jerky in the pantry, in your gym bag in the car, in the fridge, in the freezer, or somewhere else. You also need to weigh the differences between storing opened vs unopened jerky.
Continue reading this guide to find out how long your beef jerky will last in all the different situations you may choose to store it in. This will allow you to plan how much jerky to buy and always have these fabulous snacks on hand when you crave them!
Can Jerky Actually Expire?
Believe it or not, all beef jerky will expire at some point - even that nasty stuff with preservatives in it. Anytime you buy jerky from a company or find it in the store, you can start by checking out the expiration date listed on the package.
Usually, the expiration date on the package will be within a year of when you purchase the jerky. Unless damaged by moisture, heat, or oxygen, jerky typically does not go bad. Being past the best-by date usually indicates that it will not taste as fresh as it should.
The listed expiration date will also be based on an unopened package. So - what can you expect once you open that package up? We will continue discussing the different conditions you should consider below. First - let’s quickly explain why this popular meat snack lasts so long.
Why Beef Jerky Lasts So Long
Although beef jerky will eventually expire, it does last a long time. There are several reasons for this. A big reason is the lack of moisture - as beef jerky is dried as part of the process. Beef jerky is processed by dehydrating the meat. This means the meat is smoked and cured, which removes the moisture while maintaining the flavor.
Also, the meat used to create beef jerky is also lean, meaning it already does not have a lot of moisture prior to dehydration. Fat content contributes to moisture content.
Finally, the process to turn beef and other meat into jerky use natural preservatives to keep the meat good longer. Almost all jerky uses salt, but some also use different spices. These spices help preserve the meat to last longer.
How Long Does Beef Jerky Last? Examining Different Expiration Timelines
Even though all beef jerky lasts longer than many comparable snacks, it still expires at some point. Not only will it expire, but the expiration timeline greatly depends upon different conditions - as we mentioned at the beginning of our conversation today.
Some examples include whether or not the packaging is opened and the temperature the jerky is stored at. Let’s start things out simply - how long can beef jerky last unopened?
How Long Does Beef Jerky Last Unopened?
Do you want to know how long does beef jerky last unopened? The longest lifespan of beef jerky is for an unopened package. Most unopened beef jerky will last for at least one year if you store your jerky in the fridge or at room temperature. However, if you store unopened beef jerky in the freezer, it could last for up to two years.
How Long Does Beef Jerky Last After Opening When Kept at Room Temperature?
If you open a package of beef jerky and can not finish it in one sitting, you may wonder how long it will last. The first thing you should do is ensure that the package does not have a label or a warning that states it must be refrigerated after opening. If it does, store any leftovers in your fridge.
If there is no warning, understand that it will not be fresh for very long. Opened beef jerky stored at room temperature only lasts for 3 days. After those three days, it will not taste as good as fresh beef jerky.
This is because it has been opened and is exposed to oxygen and moisture. This can introduce bacteria to the meat. So - eat it up quickly and move on to the next bag! Or - as we just mentioned - you can consider storing it in your fridge.
How Long Does Beef Jerky Last in the Fridge?
When you store unopened beef jerky in the refrigerator, it will last for up to one year. Once you open it and refrigerate the leftovers, it will last at least one week. Instead of just closing the bag, you can place it in a ziplock freezer bag. By doing this, your refrigerated beef jerky will last about 2 weeks.
How Long Does Beef Jerky Last in the Freezer?
Are you wondering how long does beef jerky last in the freezer? When you put beef jerky in the freezer, you can add 6 – 12 months to its lifespan. So, placing an unopened package in the freezer will be good for 18 – 24 months.
However, if the beef jerky is open, it will be less. Please make sure you put open beef jerky in a freezer bag and remove as much air as possible before closing it. This will help you avoid freezer burn and damage.
An opened package of beef jerky in the freezer will last 7 months to one year. This is typically only something you’d consider doing with bulk beef jerky - as defrosting your jerky when you want to snack on it is a hassle.
How Long Does Vacuum-Sealed Beef Jerky Last?
So, how long does vacuum-sealed beef jerky last? If you make your own jerky, you might vacuum seal the package for storage. You also might do this if you purchased jerky in bulk to keep it fresher for longer.
Although this can be helpful, it does not replace eating it promptly. Eventually, air will still get into vacuum-sealed bags. Commercial vacuum-sealed bags last for about 1 year. If you are vacuum sealing at home, this will last for one to two months at room temperature.
How Can You Tell if Beef Jerky Has Gone Bad?
If you’re trying to push the limits with your jerky as expiration approaches, it’s good to take note of whether your jerky has gone bad or not. There are a few different things to look for.
First, you will want to look at how the jerky feels. Usually, beef jerky is firm but pliable. When it has gone bad, you may notice that it is now either dried up and hard - or mushy. Any change from the original texture indicates deterioration.
Another thing you can look for is how it smells. When beef jerky has gone bad, it will have a different smell. Initially, it may just smell slightly off, but the worse it smells, the more it has deteriorated. It could even smell rancid.
Finally, you will want to look for signs of damage from moisture. These signs could include mold and mildew. You may even notice that the jerky, in part or whole, is starting to change colors. Any growths, such as the jerky's fuzzy appearance, are a warning sign.
If you see or smell any warning signs, your jerky has gone bad. Dispose of this jerky immediately, and do not eat it.
How to Make Beef Jerky Last Longer
There are several ways to make your beef jerky last longer. This is important information to know if you will buy in bulk or gift in bulk to family and friends. Many people like to buy a variety of flavor combinations and meats, so knowing how to extend the life of your beef jerky can allow you to snack on different flavors whenever you want!
Keep it Away From Heat & Sunlight
If you want to keep your beef jerky fresher for longer, always keep it out of direct sunlight and away from heat. Exposure to these conditions can cause jerky to go bad quickly. This is because bacteria can grow on the surface of the jerky.
Store it in a Vacuum-Sealed Bag
Another great idea to prolong the life of your beef jerky is to store it in a vacuum-sealed bag. A vacuum-sealed bag will allow you to store it without excess oxygen or moisture, helping to keep your jerky healthy and tasting good for as long as possible.
Aim for Room Temperature or Cooler
Finally, you should always store your beef jerky at room or colder temperatures. Many people will just put their beef jerky in a pantry in their homes. However, an alternative storage method should be used if your home is routinely above room temperature (such as a home in a warm environment that does not have central air).
If your pantry is warm, you should store your beef jerky in the refrigerator or freezer. This will keep the jerky safe and can also prolong your delicious snack's life!
Shop Mahogany Smoked Meats for Fresh, Long-Lasting, Natural Beef Jerky Online
The final way to ensure that your beef jerky lasts as long as possible is to start with the best available product. If you are interested in online beef jerky for sale, we have a wide variety of fresh jerky in many different flavors.
If you are looking for a variety of beef jerky, we have the jerky you are looking for. We make the best beef jerky online, offering beef jerky in 16 different flavors, ensuring something for everyone.
Some of our beef flavors include peppered beef jerky, teriyaki beef jerky, teriyaki brisket jerky, chipotle bourbon beef jerky, habanero beef jerky, and sweet n spicy brisket jerky.
Besides offering a wide range of beef jerky flavors, you will be happy to know that we only make our jerky in small batches! Small batches ensure that you are getting the freshest possible beef jerky. The fresher the jerky, the longer it will last.
We are also a family-owned business that has been serving customers for more than 100 years. If you are unsatisfied, we offer a money-back, no questions asked guarantee! And if you love beef jerky, you should also consider trying other types of meat jerky we have in store for you.
Beef jerky is tasty, but each kind of meat offers different flavors and textures to try and enjoy. If you have never branched out to other meats, now is the time! Here are some choices to consider:
Final Thoughts on How Long Beef Jerky Lasts Under Different Circumstances
Beef jerky can last a long time, much longer than most other high protein snacks you can order online or in stores. It is the best snack to choose, not only for longevity, but when you take the time to consider how much protein beef jerky has - it is an excellent choice on a health and wellness standpoint.
This guide has listed all the different timelines from 3 days at room temperature after opening to up to 2 years unopened in the freezer. This will help you keep your jerky safe and healthy to eat in the future.
You can also make sure you store your beef jerky at room temperature or colder, keep it out of direct sunlight, and vacuum wrap it once it is opened.
Of course, one of the best ways to ensure you have the best-tasting, freshest beef jerky is to order jerky online from us. We make our jerky in small batches allowing everyone to enjoy the freshest jerky possible!