Once a package has actually been opened, however, the moisture level of the jerky identify if refrigeration is required. Jerky through a high humidity level is not shelf-stable once exposed come oxygen and requires refrigeration.

You are watching: Does beef jerky need to be refrigerated

This jerky will have a “Refrigerate after Opening” statement on the package. Any type of jerky there is no this declare is 100% shelf-stable ~ opening and also does not need refrigeration.

Why doesn"t unopened beef jerky need to be refrigerated?


The secret is in the dehydration. 

During the cooking and also drying process, moisture is removed from the meat. This renders beef jerky lightweight, nutrient dense, and shelf stable. The hatchet shelf stable way that the product does not require refrigeration and also can be safely stored in ~ room temperature in a sealed container.

From a clinical perspective. Different types of enzymes—bacterial, fungal, or naturally developing in the meat—require water come survive and also replicate on food. With the remove of moisture, this enzymes are unable come grow and also contaminate the food, therefore preserving the food.

So why does some jerky need refrigeration after ~ opening?


The development of modern-day food packaging—specifically, vacuum sealing, nitrogen flushing, and also oxygen absorber—allows jerky equipments to develop a layout of jerky that contains much more moisture. The oxygen complimentary environment that the packaging prevents any type of potential issues that come along with added water activity. This changes, however, once the package has been opened and exposed come the ambient air. In ~ this point, due to the level of moisture, it should be refrigerated.

The good news is that any packaging that calls for refrigeration will be plainly labelled. If the jerky package does no have any kind of language approximately refrigeration, that does not call for cool storage and also can it is in stored in the approximately temperature.

What around homemade jerky?


Our discussion has focused primarily on store-bought jerky.

Homemade jerky is different from advertisement jerky in both the processing and also the packaging. That is recommended to keep homemade jerky in the refrigerator native the beginning.

Unless you space able to measure up the water task of the jerky and determine it come be in ~ an acceptable level that under 0.85, climate it is finest to store homemade jerky in the refrigerator.

As a general preeminence of thumb, homemade jerky will certainly last between 1-2 months in the refrigerator.

Bottom Line

Dehydration is just one of the world oldest and also most usual methods of preserving food. Dry was a technique to keep food because that future consumption in pre-refrigeration days. Native the ancient Egyptians to aboriginal Americans, jerky has actually been delighted in for centuries. Traditional jerky is dried to together a level that it go not need refrigeration or unique packaging.

The shelf security of beef jerky has made that a favourite snack the backpackers, campers, and also outdoor sports enthusiasts alike. Unopened jerky needs no refrigeration, lasts a long time, and boasts nutritional density.

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Once a package has actually been opened, make sure to check for any kind of statements that indicate “refrigerate ~ opening.” If you check out this statement, and also the package has been left there is no refrigeration for much more than 3 days, us recommend throwing it out. 

If you’re unsure if your beef jerky is still safe to eat, examine out our guide Does Beef Jerky go Bad. 

We craft a timeless jerky the is dried come a level the does not need refrigeration. We believe this is true, really jerky.