Is Beef Jerky Processed? (All Brands? Is It Bad for You?)

Beef jerky is an extremely popular snack made mainly out of, surprise, surprise, beef. The snack is made from meat that was ground or cut into strips and then dried (either smoked or dehydrated). 

A lot of salt is put into the meat, too, and nowadays nearly all jerky is being marinated by the manufacturers, but making jerky is still quite simple.

So Is Beef Jerky Processed? Yes, beef jerky is processed.

Why is it so, though? And does it apply to all beef jerky, including the homemade one? So keep reading, and we’ll answer every question you may have at this moment!

Is Beef Jerky Processed

Is beef jerky processed meat?

To understand this topic as a whole, it is first important to understand what exactly processed meat is – processed meat is meat that has been modified by, for example, salting, fermentation, or smoking.

See where we’re getting? Beef jerky (just like nearly every meat product sold in stores) simply must fall under the term “processed meat”, because of the nature of its creation.

Is all beef jerky processed?

Yes, as explained in the paragraph above, ALL beef jerky is processed. Because of the way beef jerky is made, there simply isn’t a way it couldn’t be. Or is there?

Is homemade beef jerky processed?

Well, homemade beef jerky can’t be processed, when it is made at home, can it? Believe it or not, it not only can, it actually cannot be anything else.

That’s because the only important thing while deciding if a meat product is processed or not is the way it was made. If it was made that way by a manufacturer or you and your wife, therefore clearly doesn’t make any difference.

Jack Link’s is arguably the most famous jerky brand out there and yes, Jack Link’s beef jerky is processed, just like every other jerky.

Related: Is Beef Jerky Keto Friendly?

Is beef jerky technically raw?

This is a really tricky question since beef jerky isn’t completely raw, but it isn’t actually cooked either. Instead, beef jerky is prepared differently, making it shelf-stable (ready to eat as it is). 

Because of that, there’s a higher chance that beef jerky will contain the bacteria that cooked meat is free of. Hence, it is generally considered that beef jerky shouldn’t be eaten by, e.g., pregnant women. 

How bad is beef jerky for you?

But that doesn’t mean that beef jerky is bad for YOU! On the contrary, beef jerky can actually be considered one of the healthiest snacks since it is still made mainly with meat and contains tons of proteins.

That being said, you shouldn’t be eating too much of it since the majority of your diet should still come from unprocessed food.

Related: Is Beef Jerky Fattening?


Beef jerky is a prime example of processed meat, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is unhealthy. On the contrary, beef jerky is a great source of protein and calling it a healthy snack isn’t a stretch. 

You still shouldn’t be consuming it too much, though. And that isn’t even mainly because of the fact it is processed, but rather because it contains

Also Read: Does Beef Jerky Make You Poop or Constipate You?


Image credits – Canva

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