Can You Marinate Beef Jerky Too Long?

Can You Marinate Beef Jerky Too Long

It can be difficult to know how long beef jerky can be marinated. There are many factors that determine the length of time you can leave your meat submerged in liquid before it begins to spoil, including temperature and type of liquid.

So, can you marinate beef jerky too long?

The answer is yes but in general, it’s best to limit the amount of time you leave your meat in the marinade.

This is because beef can begin to spoil after as little as 12 hours of marinating. It can spoil rapidly depending on the recipe and different types of ingredients in the marinade.

For example, you can marinate beef too long if you use a high sugar content or use an acidic ingredient such as vinegar which can break down and tenderize your jerky.

How long is too long when marinating jerky?

There is no real timeframe and every marinade can be different.

It can take between 20 minutes to 24 hours for beef jerky to marinate successfully so it’s best not to go over the maximum time limit.

But, if you know your ingredients are fresh and high-quality then you can reduce this slightly.

To successfully marinate your beef, you can remove the meat from the marinade and pat it dry or blanch it before drying.

Blanching can be done by boiling the jerky for about three minutes to reduce any bacteria present in the liquid. After this, simply pat dry and let cool before starting your dehydration process.

If you can’t blanch the meat, choose high-quality lean beef to marinate and cut it against the grain before cooking.

This can reduce some of the excess fat for people on a low-fat diet while also getting rid of any bacteria that may cause spoilage.

The right way to marinate jerky

To keep your beef jerky safe for a longer period of time, it can be helpful to change the liquid every few hours and then go back to the original one before finishing the process.

This can extend your marinating time by 24 hours or more.  Using an acidic marinade can also be helpful because it can keep the meat safe from being contaminated by unwanted bacteria.

You can also try a vacuum sealer to remove air and reduce your marinating time to just a few hours.

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A few general rules about marinating beef jerky

To successfully marinate your beef jerky, you can follow the steps below.

1. Remove beef jerky from a liquid as soon as you can

2. Cut off any part of the meat that is discolored

3. Store marinated beef jerky in an airtight container to keep it safe from contaminants

4. Store marinated meat in the refrigerator for no more than two days

To learn more about how to keep your beef jerky safe, you can read up on the FDA’s guide to food safety.

While you can marinate beef jerky too long, it can be difficult to know when your meat is ready for eating.

It can depend on what type of recipe you use and the type of ingredients in the marinade.

Beef can also begin to spoil rapidly if you don’t follow the right steps and store the marinating meat properly.

It can be helpful to change the marinade every few hours or use an acidic ingredient to help reduce the chances of contamination.

With these tips, you can learn how long can you marinate beef jerky safely and have delicious results.

Can I marinate jerky for 48 hours?

The USDA recommends a two-day marinating time for beef jerky.

However, this all depends on the ingredients in the marinade and how long it stays at room temperature.

For example, if you use a high sugar content or add vinegar to your recipe, the length can be shortened to just a few hours.

It can also vary depending on the type of meat you use and how thickly it is cut.

For example, you can marinate beef jerky for longer if you use an extra-thick cut or thicker strips.

This can allow your meat to soak up more flavor while also providing more of a safety net if your marinating time is longer.

You can also marinate beef jerky in a vacuum sealer and receive similar results to making it in the oven.

To use this method, remove beef from its packaging and pat dry with paper towels.

Place the meat inside the bag and add your marinade, removing as much air from the bag as you can.

Squeeze any excess air from the bag and seal it before placing in a bowl or plate to catch drips if needed.

Place your beef jerky in the refrigerator for only a few hours to marinate.

Using this method can greatly reduce your marinating time and can help you create delicious jerky in just a few hours.

Can you marinate jerky for a week?

While you can marinate beef jerky for up to a week, it can be dangerous unless you follow certain safety precautions.

As with most foods, it can be too long if the meat is not properly refrigerated during the process.

If your beef jerky stays at room temperature, this can greatly increase the chances of contaminating your meat.

You can marinate beef jerky longer if you change the liquid every few hours and store it in an airtight container rather than a ziplock bag or other open container.

Final Thoughts

Marinating can be a great way to create delicious flavor in your jerky.

However, it can be important to follow certain safety guidelines to ensure that the meat and other ingredients stay fresh and uncontaminated.

While can you marinate beef jerky for longer can depend on the type of recipe and the ingredients used, the USDA recommends marinating beef jerky for only two days.

Using the proper ingredients can help you shorten your marinating time even more, but can also make it safer.

By following these tips you can successfully marinate beef jerky safely and enjoy delicious results.


U.S. Department of Agriculture