How To Start Beef Jerky Business

Do not know where to begin in establishing your own beef jerky business? You are not the only one who feels this way. To legally and safely begin selling your beef jerky to hungry consumers, there are several hurdles to overcome and regulations that must be followed.

Do not be upset if you do not have a product to sell right away. You have come to the correct spot and will discover that running a beef jerky business is very doable with a little assistance and instruction!

Making Jerky

how to start beef jerky business

Jerky As A Side Business

After a while, people who want to start a beef jerky business as a side job but wish to continue with their regular employment may become burnt out. Your loyal consumers might get angry if you take an extended sabbatical and run out of stock.

Also Read: How To Eat Shredded Beef Jerky


You will need to think about whether you can make your jerky in a USDA-approved facility. Hire a copacker and have them prepare the jerky in their USDA facility for compliance, or make the decision yourself. You may choose if you will cook the dish or if the copacker prepares it.

Government Regulations

Making rules and restrictions for jerky varies by state, province, country, and even continent. There may be over 100 regulations to comply with in order to achieve basic requirements that are always changing. There are far too many rules to remember; therefore, do your research into the sector you intend on making your jerky beforehand.

Also Read: How To Make Beef Jerky On A Traeger

Government Inspection

Depending on where you purchase your jerky, it will have to pass through the government for further processing. This is why most jerky bags bear a stamp declaring that they were certified by the Department of Agriculture.

Licensing & Regulations

Before you can go any further, first get the legal red tape out of the way. If you want to make your own jerky, USDA inspections will be something to think about. In general, federal rather than state regulations will probably be the main stumbling block. If you want to sell your goods at a roadside stand, you should do so immediately. To protect yourself, later on, form an S Corporation or an LLC. It is time to get down to business with the potatoes and dehydrated meat of your new company now that we’ve gotten rid of the formalities.

Also Read: How Thick To Slice Meat For Jerky?

Sourcing The Product

Obviously, you will need jerky to sell. You have two options: either make it yourself or buy wholesale and retail. Beef jerky making is not difficult, as one might expect. Developing a unique product, on the other hand, is a different story entirely. It requires dedication and trial and error to perfect spices, rubs, and techniques. You will also need to invest in storage refrigerators and dehydrators at the start. When you consider how difficult it is to start from scratch, starting by having a properly licensed local meat processor make the jerky and selling it under your own brand name might appear more appealing.

Jerky Equipment


Commercial dehydrators, also known as National Safety Foundation (NSF) certified dehydrators, are required to sell jerky commercially. Commercial dehydrators can cost anywhere from $10,000 to over $20,000. Check your local laws.

Over ten years, we have used our ten-tray Excalibur dehydrator to experiment with cooking jerky. We improvised ourselves to ss (stainless steel) trays and the heavy-duty Excalibur dehydrator model. Commercial dehydrators are also available from Excalibur.

Used Dehydrator

A used dehydrator may save you a lot of money. The fact is that jerky businesses sometimes go out of business, and you may get excellent deals on dehydrators costing 1/2, 1/4, or less than the original price. Spend some time looking for classified advertisements and auctions focused on the food industry.

Food Slicer

A food slicer for home use costs anywhere from $500 to several thousand dollars, depending on the size and brand. Look for a second-hand slicer on Craigslist or an online auction site if you are searching for a bargain.

Also Read: How To Tell If Jerky Is Done Dehydrating


The difficult aspect of establishing a new jerky company is sourcing the supplies. Sure, you could have flavorful jerky, but finding a way to sell it is not simple. It is tough to get any big chain store to carry your jerky. Many small jerky makers distribute their goods at Farmer’s Markets.

For example, one jerky business had the fourth-highest sales in his state, but the gap between first and fourth place was significant. He stated that in order for the company to be successful, it must sell over 3,000 pounds of jerky every month, which is a tough goal.

Jerky Bags

Plastic Bags

Based on prior knowledge. In comparison to purchasing labels, buying bags for jerky is inexpensive. The cost of 2,000 resealable bags is around 5 cents each bag. And 30 cents per label for 1000 plain colored labels with only the flavor name. If you buy your bags and labels in big quantities, you may save a lot of money.

Also Read: How To Keep Beef Jerky Soft


A label maker will develop a template for you to use when creating your own customized labels. Creating a template may cost anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 or more, depending on the type of label maker you are using. If you want to start your business with four distinct flavors, that might set you back more than $20,000 in label fees alone. It may be an expensive decision to create a new label design.

Oxygen Absorbers

Oxygen absorbers are not essential, but they do help to prevent the risk of fires. They are quite efficient if utilized correctly and rather cheap. Oxygen absorbers are typically available in packs with a minimum of 500 inside. You must use the oxygen absorbers within days or they will lose their effectiveness if exposed to air for an extended period, even if you try your best to keep them sealed from air.


Do not overlook the expenses of cleaning your equipment and jerky-making area. You want to keep your jerky free from Salmonella or E. coli contamination. If one of your consumers became ill after eating your jerky, you may be responsible for a large lawsuit that would swiftly bankrupt you. According to the proprietor of a meat store, they include 25% of their expenses in cleaning alone.

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