How to Tell When Jerky Is Done

How to Tell When Jerky Is Done

People love jerky. It’s a great alternative to processed meats and doesn’t have that tough chew of dry meat. But when you buy it at the store, you can’t ever tell how well done it is or how long it was marinating for. This article is a guide on how to tell when Jerky is done without ruining it.

The best way to tell when jerky is done is by using a thermometer. Jerky is done at 160 Fahrenheit, but if you plan to store your jerky for a long time, it needs to be cooked to 175 Fahrenheit. Turn the heat off once it has reached your desired temperature, and let the jerky cool for about 15 minutes before eating.

Also, if you see the meat begin to shrink from the sides of the marinade, it’s done. Alternatively, it’s probably finished when you look at your jerky, and it no longer looks shiny or wet.

Furthermore, temperature and time are the two most important things to consider when making jerky. High heat destroys food enzymes and lowers your jerky’s overall nutritional value. Low heat takes longer to process, but it keeps those enzymes intact and results in a healthier end product.

What’s So Special About Jerky?

What's So Special About Jerky

Jerky remained popular with American frontier settlers because it offered a high protein and other nutrients and was easy to transport. Today, Americans still enjoy jerky because of its convenience factor.

Quite a few things are special about jerky, but we’ve narrowed it down to the six main benefits:

1. It comes in different flavors, from spicy to sweet to salty-sweet (like our new Sweet & Salty Jerky). You can eat it at home or on the go—and that makes it perfect for any occasion or situation where you might need something to tide you over until your next meal.

2. Jerky is high in protein and low in calories—so it’s a great option if you’re trying to lose weight or watch what you eat. Plus, it has no carbs, so jerky is what the doctor ordered if you have a carb sensitivity or intolerance.

3. It tastes fantastic! Our jerky is made with real ingredients like ginger root, garlic powder, and onion powder—not artificial flavors or preservatives like some other brands use. And we use lean cuts of meat that are marinated overnight before they’re slow-cooked over low heat for hours until they become tender enough.

4. It’s healthy. Jerky is made out of lean meat and very little fat, so it’s an excellent choice for men and women trying to lose weight or eat healthier.

5. It’s convenient. You can keep jerky in your desk drawer or purse and snack on it anywhere.

6. It’s straightforward to prepare. All you need is some meat (usually beef) sliced into strips and marinated in a tasty recipe of spices and other ingredients like soy sauce. Then all you have to do is dry it out over low heat until it reaches your desired texture: chewy or crispy.

Why You Should Make Your Own Jerky

There are some reasons you will need to make your jerky. We’ll start with the most obvious:

  1. it’s delicious.
  2. It’s also fun, making a great gift for friends and family.
  3. Making your jerky is an excellent way to get creative with flavors and ingredients—and there are so many options!
  4. You can even make your jerky without a dehydrator, though the results will be less dry than store-bought versions.
  5. Why You Should Make Your Own Jerky
  6. It’s easy and cheap
  7. You can make it your own
  8. It’s better for you than store-bought jerky
  9. It tastes better than store-bought jerky

How to Tell When Jerky Is Done

The best way to tell if beef jerky is done drying is to cut off a small piece and taste it. If you like the texture and flavor at a certain point, pat yourself on the back because you’ve done it right! It’s that easy. The trickiest part is ensuring that you have good ventilation in your kitchen while the beef is drying.

The following are methods to use:

1. Use a food thermometer

The FDA recommends a meat thermometer be used to ensure proper cooking. Insert the thermometer from the top of the jerky and into the center of the meat without touching fat or bone. Let the internal temperature be at 145° F for at least 15 seconds or until a digital readout indicates that temperature.

If you’re making your jerky at home, place a food thermometer in the first piece of meat you make. The major part is to get the internal temperature somewhere between 120°F and 140°F.

Jerky typically cooks for about 3-4 hours and can be made in your oven or smoker; remember, depending on how thick the jerky strips are, they may take longer than a similar amount of meat cooked at a lower temperature and never reach 160°F.

2. Check the surface

The surface of the jerky should feel firm but not hard or crispy. The meat should still bend without cracking.

When the surface of the beef jerky becomes dry and hard and stays this way when you try to bend it, the beef jerky is done. It may still appear pink in some areas, but the meat should be dehydrated. If it bends and stays bent, then it is ready.

3. Test the texture

To ensure that your jerky has the right texture, you can test the texture. The way to do this is to pull out a piece and bend it in half. If it snaps easily, it’s ready.

When testing the texture of your beef jerky, you’ll want to check it from all sides. Beef jerky does not have a uniform texture, so this is very important. For reference, most brand jerky will be dry but still bendable in the center and can feel a little soft at the ends. If the ends are crispy, they may be too dry.

However, If the jerky is too soft when it comes out, the cooking process does not succeed, and the result will not be tasty. The jerky should have a firm texture for best results.

4. Perform a taste test

To confirm if your beef jerky is done, perform a taste test. The internal temperature of your jerky should be above 160°F (71°C ) before eating it. If you use a recipe that calls for cooked meat at 200°F (93°C), the finished product will dry with a similar texture to beef jerky.

Don’t be concerned if it appears raw in the middle since it will dry out during the dehydrating process. When it’s dry enough to crack when broken, it is done.

How to Tell When Jerky Is Done in a Smoker

How to Tell When Jerky Is Done in a Smoker

1. The internal temperature of the meat should be at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit. You can check this with a meat thermometer or by slicing into the jerky and checking its color. It should be dark brown throughout, with no pink or red areas remaining.

2. If you’re using a smoker, this is probably where you’ll want to add wood chips or pellets for flavor. 

3. Once the jerky has reached its final internal temperature, remove it from the smoker and allow it to sit at room temperature before storing—this will help prevent bacterial growth.

You can also tell it’s done when the jerky is no longer pink and not dry.

Make sure there is no moisture left on the inside when you slice into it, and if there is, cook it a little longer.

How to Tell When Deer Jerky Is Done

Deer jerky is delicious, but it’s also tricky to make. It’s easy to end up with chewy jerky that’s tough on your teeth and tough on the stomach. That’s why we’re here to help!

You need to know about deer jerky—how long it takes to make, what temperature it needs to be cooked, and when it’s done.

You need to know that deer jerky takes a long time: anywhere from 6-20 hours; this will be known through the thickness of your slices and how much fat there is in your deer meat. Make sure you check on it every hour or so for the first few hours.

The second thing you need to know is that deer jerky needs heat: 145°F/63°C or above. You can use an oven thermometer if you want exact numbers, but if not, keep an eye on the temperature gauge on your oven—it should stay between those two temperatures pretty consistently. If yours doesn’t stay within those parameters continuously, try adjusting the temperature until it does.

Here are some extra tips for making sure your deer jerky is done just right:

1. The meat should be browned and slightly crispy on the outside, but not burnt. It will be tough if it’s too crispy; if it isn’t cooked long enough, it will still be pink inside.

2. Cut a piece off the end of a jerky strip and taste it when you think it’s done. If it tastes good (and not like raw meat), you can eat it.

How to Tell When Venison Jerky Is Done

If you’re new to making jerky, you may be wondering how to tell when venison jerky is done. You can check a few simple ways to see if your jerky is ready.

First, look at the color of your meat: pale pink means it’s not yet cooked through, while dark red is the sign of a fully cooked piece of meat.

Next, try pressing down on the middle of your jerky with your thumb—it should be firm but still have some give in it, like a piece of steak. It needs more time in the dehydrator if it feels hard or springs back up when you press down.

If nothing else works for you (or you don’t have time), use a food thermometer to test for doneness! This method is especially helpful if you’re unsure whether or not your jerky has been dehydrated enough and want to double-check before serving it up.

Furthermore, if you use a thermometer, the temperature will be around 160 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don’t have a thermometer, use your eyes and nose. When the meat has reached this stage, it will look dried out but still moist inside. The color should be dark brown and almost black. The smell will be similar to beef jerky—slightly smoky with a hint of meatiness.

How to Tell When Duck Jerky Is Done

How to Tell When Duck Jerky Is Done

Duck jerky is a great way to add protein to your diet. It’s also an excellent source of iron, which helps maintain healthy red blood cells.

Duck jerky is best made at home because it’s easy and economical. 

Here are some simple tips for how to tell when your duck jerky is done:

1. Check the internal temperature of the duck jerky every 5 minutes or so until you get it to 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. The meat should be dry and firm but not hard or brittle. If it’s still soft and pliable after being cooked for 2 hours, let it continue cooking for 20 minutes before checking again.

3. If the jerky is soft, it’s not done yet

4. If the jerky feels like raw meat, it’s not done yet

5. If there are still bones in the duck jerky, it’s not done yet

Jerky should be dry and slightly firm—not squishy or mushy.

Duck jerky should take about 1 1/2-4 hours to dry, depending on how thick it is and how much heat you’re using.

How to Tell When Beef Jerky Is Done Dehydrating

If you’ve never made your beef jerky before, you might be wondering if it’s done. Here’s a quick guide on how to tell when your beef jerky is done dehydrating.

First, look for a deep red color. It means the meat has been cooked enough to kill bacteria and make it safe for consumption. If the meat’s interior is still pink or red, it’s not ready yet.

Next, check for cracking or splitting on the surface of the meat. You’ll want to see at least one crack across each slice of jerky before you begin eating or storing it in an airtight container because this indicates that all moisture has been extracted from the meat and that there are no more bacteria present and safe to eat.

Finally, feel free to try a piece of your dehydrated beef jerky; if it tastes dry and brittle with no moisture left inside it, then it’s finished drying out completely.

Another way to tell if your beef jerky has finished dehydrating is to use a food thermometer. You can insert the food thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, but make sure it doesn’t touch any bone.

Let the internal temperature be at 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are without a food thermometer, you can also check the color and texture of your meat. When it’s done dehydrating, it should be brownish-pink and firm but not brittle or hard to the touch.

How to Tell When Jerky Is Done in Oven

How to Tell When Jerky Is Done in Oven

If your jerky is in the oven, you’ll want to check on it every 10 minutes.

1. Check the color

What to look out for first is a golden color—this is a sign that the meat has reached its optimal temperature, and it will be dryer and more crispy than if it’s cooked at a lower temperature. If there is no change in the color after 20-30 minutes of cooking, you can start checking for texture.

2. Check the texture

When jerky is done, it should feel firm but not hard to the touch. If it feels soft when you touch it with your finger, there’s still some moisture left in the meat, and it needs more time in the oven. If your jerky is crunchy but still pliable (like rawhide), then it’s overdone—take it out of the oven immediately.

3. Use a meat thermometer

 The best way to know if your jerky is done is by using a meat thermometer. You can use the tip of the thermometer to poke into the jerky at different spots, and when it reaches 155 degrees Fahrenheit, 

How to Tell When Goose Jerky Is Done

There are a few ways to know when your goose jerky is done, but the easiest way is to use a meat thermometer.

1. Goose jerky should be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 165°F, which will take about 3-4 hours in a dehydrator. If you’re using an oven, it will take about 8-10 hours.

If you’re using an instant-read thermometer, insert the probe into the center of your jerky and wait for about 10 seconds. Your jerky is ready if the thermometer beeps or shows a temperature reading.

2. You can also tell when your jerky is done by feeling it with your fingers or looking for signs of browning on the outside.

3. Look at it closely. If there are still raw spots on the goose jerky, place it in the oven again until they become cooked through.

4. If your goose jerky has dried out but is still somewhat soft, place a parchment paper over it and press down lightly with some heavy books (about one pound). Let it sit overnight, and then remove the parchment paper before eating.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can jerky be undercooked?

The best way to tell if your goose jerky is done is by using a food thermometer. The outside of the meat should be between 150°F and 160°F. You can also make sure that you are cooking at a low enough temperature so that the outside of the meat doesn’t burn before the inside has had time to cook through.

Can beef jerky be pink in the middle?

It is possible to have pink in the middle when making jerkies, especially beef. While some additives can help maintain a pink color, they are not necessary because beef has natural chemicals that prevent it from discoloring during the drying process.

How can you tell if beef jerky is undercooked?

There are ways to tell if your beef jerky is undercooked. A food thermometer is the best way to tell if your beef jerky is undercooked. Use cling wrap or aluminum foil to cover when cooking beef jerky.

How long should jerky sit after dehydrating?

It is best to let jerky sit for a few hours after dehydration to allow moisture to reabsorb into the product before packaging. The longer jerky sits out, the more flavor it will have when you eat it.

If you don’t like a lot of fat, be careful not to cut it too thin. Don’t forget that the thinner you cut it, the faster it will dry.


Considering the advice offered above on how to tell when Jerky is done, you should have no issue determining when your jerky is done. Of course, the jerky-making process can be somewhat unpredictable at times, leaving some standard recipes feeling a little bland.

The doneness test for jerky depends on the meat’s moisture content, the thickness of the cuts being made, and the amount and type of seasonings added. After reading this article, you should now know what these factors mean and a few tips to guide you in determining if your jerky is finished and ready to eat.

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