Beef jerky started out as a way for cavemen and Indians to preserve their meat for the harsh winter months. When people you weren’t native to the land saw their methods, it eventually turned in to beef jerky.
The whole point of beef jerky is that you can have meat protein to eat without lugging around a refrigerator. This goes back to the wild west, a cowboy never rode without his spurs or beef jerky!
We have been manufacturing beef jerky professionally for five years now and have been doing testing for just as long. We have had several bag of beef jerky still sealed sitting in a cool dry place for the past three years and nothing has happened to it! We also have open bags that are keep in a zip lock bag with as little air as possible in it for the same amount of time and it too is still good! Lastly, we have loose jerky sitting in a cool dry place for the same amount of time and it only gets drier! You could still eat it, it’s just harder to chew.
Some people don’t like the dry texture of traditional jerky, they like it wet and chewy. Wet and chewy jerky does not last as long. The reason jerky is dry is because it has been dehydrated, so it could last against the elements.
There are some beef jerky companies that use preservatives to make their beef jerky last, we don’t!
Another factor in making beef jerky last is putting an oxygen absorber into the packaging. The oxygen absorber keeps moisture from bubbling up inside the bag and damaging the meat. Another factor that helps is when you package the jerky and take all the air out of the bag, you can inject nitrogen into the bag. The nitrogen helps to preserve the meat without using preservatives.