How to Store Beef Jerky
Here's how to store beef jerky the right way which also works great for deer, turkey, pork, and any other type of jerky as well.
Homemade beef jerky can be stored short term or long term depending on your needs but no matter what, it has to be done right! Follow the steps below and you'll be sure to hold on to the flavor and freshness of your precious jerky.
A Quick Talk About Moisture and Air
Moisture and air are the two main reasons that jerky goes bad. They contribute to bacterial growth and that is what ultimately will spoil your jerky.
Moisture is the reason why I always advise to choose a lean meat for making your jerky. The fat on meat holds more moisture than the rest of the meat and it will make your jerky spoil faster. So remember, to much fat is a big no no.
If your jerky is exposed to air for to long it will completely dry out your jerky and make it unpleasant to chew and of coarse we don't want that to happen either. There's nothing worse than a piece of jerky that's so dry that it crumbles into powder.
Always try to keep these two things in mind when making and storing your jerky.
How to Store Beef Jerky - Short Term
Zip Lock and Paper Bags
If you are looking to store your jerky short term then storing in a simple ziplock bag is suffice. This should keep it good for at least 3-4 weeks or more. If you feel that your jerky is a bit to moist, you can always ad a small food grade desiccant bag to it. These can be found fairly cheap on Amazon.
Tip: Another good way to fix a batch of jerky that has not been dehydrated enough is to store it in a paper bag for a short while before transferring it to a jar or ziplock. The paper bag will create a wick affect that will pull the extra moisture out of the jerky.
Label each bag or jar with the date that you made it on and be sure to keep an eye on it from time to time. You will know if it's going bad because it will generally become much drier and will usually turn a darker color. The smell of it will often slightly change as well.
How to Store Beef Jerky - Long Term
Mason Jar/ Dry canning
Dry canning your beef jerk in mason jars is a great way to preserve it for months at a time and is pretty easy on your wallet.
Here's how to dry can your jerky:
1. Set your oven to 350 F
2. Remove the lids from your mason jars and set them on a cookie sheet.
3. Put the jars in the oven for around 10 minutes.
4. Remove the jars from the oven using mitts and then quickly set your jerky strips inside of them.
5. Screw on the lids of the jars and let them cool to room temperature. As the jars cool they will create a vacuum seal. You will know when they are beginning to create a vacuum because you will hear a popping sound coming from them.
Vacuum Seal Bags
Using Vacuum seal bags to store your jerky is the best way to store your jerky long term. They allow you to keep the moisture in and the air out which is great because your jerky will still be somewhat soft but will have no oxygen to spoil.
Vacuum sealers are a bit costly at $100-$200 new but are worth every penny if you are looking to preserve the flavor and texture of your jerky. They are also great for storing other foods in your household.
One last tip: Keep in mind that if you freeze your vacuum sealed bags or jars they will stay good for even longer! We're talking 12 months plus!
I hope this article has given you a good understanding of how to store beef jerky for maximum flavor and freshness. For more information and recipes read my beef jerky FAQ and Beef Jerky Recipes pages.
How to Make Beef Jerky > How to Store Beef Jerky