Is Beef Jerky Cooked Before It Is Dehydrated? (Explained!)

Since beef jerky is probably one of the most popular snacks throughout the globe, it is a little bit strange how many people don’t understand how it is made and what it means for the safety of eating it.

One commonly asked question is – Is Beef Jerky Cooked Before It Is Dehydrated? No, beef jerky usually isn’t cooked before it is dehydrated. There are some experts that suggest you should do that, though, to be entirely sure that the jerky is safe to eat.

But are they right? And will the jerky be the same if you precook it? That is what we’re seeking to discover today, so without any further ado, let’s just get right into this!

Is Beef Jerky Cooked Before It Is DehydratedPin

Do you have to cook jerky before dehydrating?

You definitely don’t have to, as long as you do the dehydration correctly. What does that mean?

Mainly making sure to heat the beef to 160°F (71°C) for some time before starting the actual dehydration. Secondly, be patient and don’t end the dehydration early.

Is beef jerky cooked or raw?

This answer may surprise you, but to be fair, it really isn’t either of those things. Beef jerky for sure isn’t raw since it’s been processed in a way that makes it as safe to eat as normally cooked meat is.

But it isn’t cooked in that traditional way either. So what is the case? Be patient, we’re getting there.

Related: How Long to Cure Jerky Before Dehydrating?

Is beef jerky cooked or dehydrated?

So, the way beef jerky is prepared is by dehydrating it. This process gives jerky a unique ability not to spoil, because it drains the vast majority of the moisture out of it, and also makes it. 

That being said, beef jerky usually isn’t actually cooked before the dehydration; some people say you should always do that, but properly dehydrated jerky is absolutely safe to use, so this is simply redundant.

Also, the jerky made out of precooked meat looks (and even tastes) differently from the normal one, which may repel some consumers.

Is dried jerky cooked?

As mentioned, dried jerky is and is not cooked at the same time. Are you confused now? Okay, let us put it differently.

Most often, the beef jerky hasn’t gone through the traditional cooking process, but with that being said, it is crucial to understand that dehydration does nearly the same thing to the meat. 

Therefore, beef jerky can’t be considered raw and is safe to eat without further heat treatment.

Can beef jerky be undercooked?

Yes, beef jerky can be undercooked. That may happen when you don’t dehydrate properly for long enough, leading to the jerky being potentially harmful and more prone to spoil. 

But to be honest, even undercooked jerky is eatable in most cases, so as long as you store it properly, you shouldn’t be worried about eating it. But remember that you’re still risking, even though just a bit.

Related: How Long to Dehydrate Beef Jerky?


Even though there are people saying the opposite, beef jerky is absolutely safe to use just the way it is. And that’s even though the fact it isn’t common for the beef to be cooked before the dehydration. 

The reason for that is that the dehydration process itself, when done correctly, is enough to get rid of the bacteria and make your jerky “not raw.”


Image credits – Canva

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