Beef sticks are perfect for so many things – from snacks to protein breaks to backpacking nutrition you can do a lot with beef sticks. It is so great because you don’t typically have to worry about refrigerating them. You can just pack them and go.
Beef sticks have a relatively long life if they are stored in sealed packaging but if you don’t plan on eating them quickly or you just want to save them up you may want to consider alternative storage options.
The question is, can you freeze beef sticks? Will they be any good after they are frozen or will they be tough? Yes, you can freeze beef sticks, and they will last at least 12 months in the freezer. The best way to freeze them is to portion them into freezer bags and just place them in the freezer.
We’ve put together a guide to talk about your storage options for beef sticks, particularly the process you should follow if you freeze your beef sticks. It’s a simple process but we will share all of the tips you should know.
Keep reading to learn everything there is to know about freezing beef sticks, and so much more.
Your Guide to Beef Sticks
Beef sticks are a universal treat that many people enjoy. You can make your own beef sticks in a dehydrator or you can buy various packages or even single beef sticks at the store. They come in a variety of flavors and if you make your own you can season them however you like.
Let’s start by talking a little bit about how beef sticks are made to ensure you understand the product you are working with for freezing and storage purposes.
How Beef Sticks Are Made
Keep in mind that there are a multitude of ways you can make beef sticks. There is no right or wrong method.
You can make them in long, slim stick form or you can make flat jerky-style strips. Essentially beef jerky and beef sticks are the same things, just in different forms.
If you’re making your own beef sticks, we highly recommend that you use a dehydrator like this one on Amazon. This is the easiest and most efficient method for making them.
However, you can also use your oven if the dehydrator is simply not an option.
If you’re not familiar with beef sticks, they are ground beef seasons and dehydrated or dried out. They are quite satisfying and they are easy to pack up and take anywhere with you.
The best thing is, they are simple to make.
Making your own beef sticks does take a significant amount of time for dehydrating purposes. If you’re using a dehydrator this won’t affect you, but if you are using your oven you will want to plan around that.
Another delicious way to make beef sticks is in the smoker. This gives them a smoky flavor that is to die for. For the purpose of making your own beef sticks, we recommend using a jerky press because it rolls the beef into long, slim tubes for you.
Here are simple instructions for how beef sticks are made. This is just general instruction and could easily vary.
- Grind your meat if you are not using pre-ground meat. Ground beef or beef roast works really well.
- Season the meat. You can purchase seasoning packets or season yourself but be sure to add curing salt to whatever you do. Then let chill for at least 30 minutes for best flavor. You can chill hours if you would like.
- Using a jerky gun, load meat mixture into collagen casings. If you don’t want to mess with the casings you can make beef sticks without them. It will change your end result slightly.
- Warm your dehydrator to 155-160 degrees. Layer your beef sticks onto your dehydrator trays. Do not start timing the cooking process until the dehydrator has reached temperature.
- Dehydrate for about 7-10 hours.
As we mentioned previously, you can also make your beef sticks in the smoker or oven. The time will be just as much, if not more for those methods as well.
Storing and Freezing Beef Sticks
Storing your beef sticks is pretty easy. Because they are cured and dried, you can store your beef sticks at room temperature if you seal them well. However, we will mention that this practice is best for store-bought beef sticks.
If you made your beef sticks at home, we recommend that you store them in the fridge for safekeeping purposes. BUT they will not go bad if they are left out for several days. In the fridge, they will be good for up to 2 months.
If you want to make a large batch or simply extend the life of your beef sticks, using the freezer is a great option for storage purposes. In the freezer, you can store your beef sticks for at least a year and some might say that you could store them up to 2 years like this.
Preparing Beef Sticks for Freezing/Storage
Be sure to properly prepare and package your beef sticks before you try to store them in any way. Preparing your beef sticks is super easy and doesn’t take a lot of work or effort.
Here is how...
- Allow beef sticks to cool at least 10 minutes after cooking process.
- Seal the beef sticks in an airtight container or into a zipper freezer bag.
- Be sure your storage method is airtight for best preservation.
Freezing Beef Sticks
If you thought preparing your beef sticks for storage was easy, freezing them is even easier. Since we already covered storage preparation, this part is the easiest part of all.
- Prepare your beef sticks for freezing. We like freezer bags because you can split them up and portion them out and they don’t take up a lot of space.
- Label and date your storage method of choice.
- Place beef sticks in the freezer.
From there, it’s pretty self-explanatory. Your beef sticks will be safe in the freezer for up to 2 years.
Using Beef Sticks After Freezing
After freezing your beef sticks, it’s important to know what you need to do to use them.
Typically, when you remove them from the freezer, you can expect them to be good for about 10 days. This is useful knowledge if you are planning on taking a backpacking trip where you need sources like this or any other such adventure.
You don’t have to do anything complicated once you have frozen your beef sticks. They are pretty much ready to use immediately.
Since the beef sticks were cured, they won’t be frozen solid but you will still probably want to allow them some thawing time before you try to bite into them.
There is no need to heat or cook the beef sticks before you enjoy them. You can toss them in the refrigerator overnight and let them thaw out or you can just set them out for a couple of hours and they will be good to go.
The processes for enjoying your beef sticks are so easy and aside from the initial dehydration process, nothing you do with your beef sticks takes an exorbitant amount of time or effort. They really are just a grab and go type of food.
We hope you have found this guide to freezing beef sticks to be helpful and informative. Freezing beef sticks is simple and we have full confidence you can use this guide to freeze your beef sticks without any complications.
We’ve put together a question and answer section that could contain additional information you will find useful. We invite you to check it out to see what else you can learn.
How Can You Tell If Beef Sticks Have Gone Bad?
Take a close look at the packaging to ensure it is not accumulating any excessive moisture. If the sticks have soft spots that seem too soft, this is a sign they could be bad.
In this instance, you should toss the jerky even if it smells or looks ok because those soft spots can stock bacteria and you would never know until you were sick.
Another method for testing whether your beef sticks have gone bad is the smell. They will smell like savory meat for the most part. Typically, you can tell if something isn’t right in the smell. If there is any kind of strong or rancid odor, don’t eat them. This is a sign to get rid of them.
How Can You Tell When the Beef Stick is Done Dehydrating?
The best way to test your beef sticks is to pull one out and set it aside for about 15 minutes. When it has cooled slightly, gently bend the stick to a 90-degree angle and see if any juice comes out. Juice means it needs to cook longer.
You want the jerky to be pliable, with just a slight fraying when you bend it. If this is the consistency, take a bite to see if the texture seems right.