Beef sticks are delicious. You know that. We know that. They are a shelf-stable product and last an incredibly long time. When you buy them from the store, you may notice that many beef sticks are sold unrefrigerated. But what happens when you get them home? Are they shelf-stable, or do beef sticks need to be refrigerated?
If they are unopened, most beef sticks do not need to be refrigerated. If you see beef sticks un-refrigerated on the shelves of a store, then chances are that you should be fine keeping them in your cupboards. However, once you open that package, it should be refrigerated.
Let’s explain in a bit more depth for you. Not only do we want to tell you exactly why beef sticks (mostly) do not need refrigeration, but we also want to give you some advice on what you should be doing once you open the product packaging.
What Are Beef Sticks?
When we talk about beef sticks, we are talking about preserved pieces of meat. We suppose it is very similar to beef jerky. In fact, the main difference between beef sticks and beef jerky will be the shape. As the name suggests, beef sticks are a ‘stick’, almost like a sausage.
Beef sticks are prepared by salting the meat, adding a few extra spices, and drying the meat out. The beef sticks are then stored in airtight packaging.
Because of the drying and salting process, bacteria find it incredibly tough to grow on beef sticks. It isn’t impossible, but it happens. Things are made even tougher by the fact that the beef sticks tend to be stored in an airtight package.
Beef sticks are shelf stable. This means that, if the product packaging is not opened, they could last years. Although, we wouldn’t really recommend it. Most beef sticks haven’t been designed to last anywhere near that long, and the flavor is going to be awful after a certain point.
Do Beef Sticks Need to Be Refrigerated?
Most beef sticks do not need to be refrigerated. This is thanks to the huge amounts of salt in the beef sticks, the packaging, etc. It is almost impossible for bacteria or mold to grow in this environment and, if the product packaging is not opened, it should be safe to consume.
There are some beef sticks that may require refrigeration. If you see a product sold in the fridge, then chances are that you will probably need to put it in the fridge when you get home. If the beef stick is just sitting on the shelf of the store, then you are fine placing it in the cupboard.
Things change when you open the beef sticks, though. Once you have taken them out of the product packaging they do need to be refrigerated. This is because they are no longer in an airtight environment, and this can cause bacteria and mold to grow. By putting them in the fridge, you can slow down this process.
While unopened beef sticks can last an almost indefinite amount of time (although, we wouldn’t recommend storing for more than a year), opened beef sticks will last around 3-5 days. The sooner you consume the beef sticks after opening them, the better.
How Do You Store Opened Beef Sticks?
As we said, any opened beef sticks need to be placed in the fridge. No exceptions. If you leave them out of the fridge for more than a few hours, then we would probably throw them away. They would probably still be safe to consume, but better safe than sorry.
If you are storing the beef sticks in the fridge, then you should be fine just storing them inside the product packaging. This is assuming that you are eating within a day or so.
If you want to preserve the freshness of the beef sticks while they are in the fridge, we recommend that you place them in either a sealed bag or a sealed container. You can get a couple of days extra life out of the beef sticks if you place them in the fridge like that. It also prevents the stench of the beef sticks from contaminating other food in the fridge.
No matter what, after 3-5 days, throw the beef sticks away. It is pretty tough to tell if mold has started to grow on beef sticks so, once again, it is much better to be safe than sorry.
On our website, you will find many articles similar to this one at the moment, as well as others like Do Beans Need To Be Refrigerated While Soaking?, Do Beets Need To Be Refrigerated? and Does Beef Jerky Need To Be Refrigerated?
Do beef sticks need to be refrigerated? If you don’t open the product packaging, then beef sticks do not need to be refrigerated at all. In fact, you can store them in your cupboard. We wouldn’t recommend storing them in direct sunlight.
Once you have opened the beef sticks, they should be placed in the fridge. If you do not place them in the fridge within a few hours of opening, the beef sticks should be thrown away. Beef sticks can last in the fridge for between 3-5 days.