How Long Do Venison Sticks Last? (Summer Sausage)

One of the most popular ways to enjoy venison meat is in the popular ‘snack sticks’. But how long do they last before going bad? And would you be able to tell if they went bad without an expiration date?

Venison sticks should last one to two months in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. After that, expect them to be safe to consume for up to six months in the fridge and as long as a year in the freezer.

In this article, we’ll discuss proper venison stick storage practices. Additionally, we’ll go over how long venison sticks last in both the freezer and refrigerator and how to tell when they are not safe to eat.

How Long Do Venison Sticks Last?

Table of Contents

How Long Do Venison Sticks Last in the Fridge?

Venison sticks will last for up to six months in the fridge, provided they are packaged in an airtight container or ziplock bag. To extend their shelf life, you can store venison sticks in the freezer for nine months up to a year.

It’s best to keep venison sticks refrigerated or frozen and away from heat sources like microwaves or ovens. 

It’s important to note that homemade venison sticks don’t usually come with an expiration date, which makes it hard to tell when they are safe to eat or not. 

As a rule of thumb, it is best to keep them frozen to ensure they’ll last as long as possible.

Freezing Venison Sticks Will Increase Their Shelf Life

In the freezer, venison sticks should last from nine to twelve months before they begin to dry out. 

If they are frozen immediately after smoking, freezer burn shouldn’t be a problem in the future either. When packed correctly, they will taste fresh and moist even another six months later.

Freezing venison sticks is an inexpensive option for extending their shelf life because it does not reduce or change the flavor when done correctly. 

However, as previously mentioned, venison sticks must be wrapped properly before freezing them; otherwise, freezer burn can occur, making venison much less appetizing. 

Store Venison in Appropriate Containers

Venison should always be kept in airtight containers like plastic bags or glass jars with tight lids. Plastic wrap may also work, but make sure there aren’t any holes in it, and be sure to use multiple layers.

The proper way to store venison is on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator in airtight bags or containers. 

When storing venison in the freezer, be sure to place venison sticks in the middle of the freezer. This will help prevent ice crystals from forming and keep them away from other food items that may taint the flavor.

Avoid Freezing Venison Sticks on Parchment Paper

There is a common misconception about venison sticks that suggests they need to be frozen with parchment paper between each one before freezing them together. 

This method can get very pricey because you’ll end up wasting a lot of parchment paper, which tends to tear apart when frozen. Plastic wrap or freezer bags, on the other hand, don’t have these problems.

As long as venison sticks are wrapped properly using airtight materials, they should not stick together while being stored in the freezer. 

How Long Do Venison Sticks Last?

In most cases, venison sticks last for approximately two years in the freezer as long as they are appropriately wrapped and stored at 0°F (-17.77°C) or below.

Check Venison Sticks Regularly When Frozen

Venison sticks need to be checked every six months while being kept frozen so that you know when the meat has become or is becoming freezer burned. 

Cut them into separate pieces before freezing to make it easier if you plan on using smaller portions later. That way, you don’t have to thaw the whole batch when you only need a few pieces.

If the venison has been cut up first, it can be stored in one container, saving space and energy during the freezing process.

The meat should stick together firmly but not too tightly while remaining flexible enough to have a long shelf life after being frozen without losing its taste or quality. 

Do Meat Sticks Go Bad?

Meat sticks can go bad, though venison sticks can last longer than beef or turkey sticks. This is because venison has a lower fat content. If venison sticks are kept in the freezer and are wrapped appropriately, they should last at least one year without going bad. 

After removing from the freezer, place the venison sticks into the fridge and allow them to thaw overnight. Be sure to consume these within two days of defrosting.

But the truth is, they are so delicious they normally dont last more than a few weeks at my house, ha!

Summer Sausage Grinding

Properly Cook Venison Sticks Before Freezing

In most cases, venison sticks will be cooked or smoked before storing to ensure they are safe to consume right away. 

Also, if frozen when raw, they may not cook properly down the line. As a result, you might see the meat having a pink color when cooked instead of brown or grayish-brown like typical venison meat would appear after cooking.

To properly cook raw venison sticks after thawing, place them on a cookie sheet and bake at 275°F (135°C) for 30 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches:

  • 145°F (62.78°C) for whole cuts of meat – medium-rare.
  • 160°F (71.11°C) for ground meats.

Don’t forget that venison does carry different health risks, so ensuring they are fully cooked is imperative. 

See Also: Can You Eat Venison Rare?

How To Tell if Meat Sticks Have Gone Bad

You can tell that meat sticks have gone bad if their smell is powerful, like that of ammonia or if the venison sticks appear to be discolored in any way. If you notice these things, it’s best to discard them immediately and avoid eating them at all costs.

When venison sticks are not treated properly before being stored, they can go bad quickly over time, making sense since meat is highly perishable by nature. 

To guarantee a longer shelf life, meat sticks are best stored in vacuum-sealed containers or bags. 

This Potane Precision Vacuum Sealer Machine from is small but powerful and comes with a built-in cutter. It also includes two rolls of bags and a 5-year warranty.

Do You Have To Refrigerate Venison Sticks?

Venison is very perishable, so make sure it always goes back into the fridge right after you’re done snacking! It would only take about two hours for venison to start going bad if it was sitting on a countertop without any sort of refrigeration. 

However, the same isn’t entirely true for venison sticks. 

You don’t have to refrigerate venison sticks for the first couple of months because jerky is typically dehydrated, making it shelf-stable. However, to ensure a long shelf life, it’s best to keep them in the fridge or freezer when you don’t plan to eat them right away.

Keep Venison at or Below 40°F (4.44°C)

Keeping venison at or below 40°F (4.44°C) is a great way to make it last longer. In most cases, when making your own venison sticks, you’ll more than likely be making a pretty large batch. 

If that’s the case, chances are you won’t be consuming it all right away. So, to guarantee your hard work isn’t wasted, it’s best to keep them cool. 

You May Also Like: Why Does Venison Give You Gas (and how to prevent it!)