Can Beef Jerky Go Bad in Heat? (Explained!)

Jerky is one of the most popular snacks nowadays, especially in the USA, and it has been with us for a really long time. That’s mainly because before fridges; it was one of the few options people had to store their food for longer periods. 

Hence, it was really popular among those traveling long distances, for example. Thus, throughout a big part of human history, jerky indeed was probably the absolute best choice for people seeking some food, which won’t expire immediately.

So can beef jerky even go bad in heat? Yes, beef jerky can go bad in the heat. It simply doesn’t matter how well-known it is for its ability to stay fresh; even jerky will eventually expire.

This is just a concise answer, though, and in order to come up with a more complex one, we will have to look at this topic more closely. So let’s jump right into it, shall we?

Can Beef Jerky Go Bad in HeatPin

Can unopened beef jerky go bad in heat?

When trying to answer whether your beef jerky will go bad in heat, the first significant thing to consider is the state of your pack of jerky. Simply put, as long as you keep it sealed, everything should be alright. That being said, your jerky obviously won’t stay good forever, even when unopened. 

This only means that, as long as you don’t open the package, you can expect the jerky to last a long time, especially when you store the jerky as you should (that means in a dark place at room temperature). 

But yes, unopened beef jerky can go bad in the heat.

Can opened beef jerky go bad in heat?

Therefore, it probably doesn’t come as a surprise that opened beef jerky will spoil in heat as well. Obviously, it will also take much less time, but we’re just getting into that.

How long can jerky stay in heat?


Sealed bags of jerky are made in a way that should make them last for an eternity. That’ll happen only when you’re storing them correctly, though.

If you leave them in a warm environment full of sun, they might go bad as soon as after two or three days.


And it is evident that it doesn’t get better regarding the opened packages – since an opened bag of beef jerky should be actually stored inside a refrigerator if possible, leaving it in heat can spoil it even after a few hours.

Can beef jerky go bad in a hot car?

Well, that depends – leaving an opened bag of beef jerky in a hot car will result in it getting spoiled pretty quickly, while an unopened one will survive a day without a problem.

So if you’re thinking about grabbing some bags of jerky as a snack for your road trip, you don’t need to worry anything will happen to them, provided you don’t leave them open for too long.

What happens when you eat bad beef jerky?

So now you know that your beef jerky can go bad, but what if you learned that the hard way and are now only wondering what will happen to you after eating the bad jerky? We got answers for you as well!

Firstly, you don’t need to worry you’re going to die. That obviously doesn’t mean you’ll be absolutely okay, though – be prepared for having nausea and stomach ache. You can also be vomiting or have diarrhea, but if you haven’t eaten tons of it, you’re going to be good soon. 

But if you’re afraid you DID eat far too much lousy beef jerky, don’t hesitate, visit a doctor, and you’re going to be okay undoubtedly.

How can you tell if beef jerky has gone bad from the heat?

But that doesn’t mean you should do the same thing again! So lastly, but not least, let’s take a look at how to tell if your beef jerky has gone bad. 

The easiest way to do so is by using its smell – you can’t really tell anything about the state of your jerky by looking at it (that would be possible only if the mold started to grow), so just take a good sniff, and you’ll know.


Beef jerky can last for a ridiculously long time if the right conditions are met, but exposing it to heat and sun decreases its ability to stay fresh by a lot. And even though that doesn’t mean you need to worry it won’t be eatable after you left it under the window for an hour, you must keep an eye on your jerky, especially if we’re talking about an opened bag. Otherwise, it will spoil and make you sick if you eat it.



Image credits – Canva

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