Making your own jerky is a great way to make tasty treats from your venison. It’s easy to do, delicious, and fun to eat. Kids love it, adults love it, and it makes a welcome and unique gift during the holidays. When you take jerky making into your own hands, you can flavor it and cook it just how you want. Check out our venison jerky recipe inspiration and overview of how to make your own venison jerky at home.
The first steps to the jerky making process are slicing up the meat and preparing a marinade. For optimal flavoring, let the meat soak in the marinade overnight in the fridge. And don’t be afraid to get experimental with your flavoring. More salt, red flake pepper, or sugar may be just what your jerky needs.
Prepping the Venison
To get started making venison jerky, follow these steps:
1. Trim as much silverskin as you can off the meat.
2. Slice the meat into thin, long strips.
3. Aim to cut the strips ⅛ to ¼-inch thick.
If you want a chewier jerky, slice the meat with the grain and if you want the jerky to be more tender, slice the meat against the grain. To make the meat easier to slice, place it in the freezer for 30 minutes before cutting it up.
Making the Marinade
Making a tasty marinade is essential for any great venison jerky recipe. Key ingredients for a delicious jerky flavor include soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, and a host of seasonings like garlic powder, salt, and pepper. For a classic, savory recipe, check out this Allrecipes Deer Jerky. If you’re looking for a little more kick, follow this Chipotle Venison Jerky recipe from Hunter Angler Gardener Cook.
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Mixing the Meat and Marinade
Once you have your marinade dialed in, add it and the meat slices to a large ziplock bag and mix until the venison is evenly coated. To let the flavor soak in, store the bag in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to one day. Knead the bag occasionally to evenly distribute the marinade.
Drying the Jerky
Once your meat is marinated, you can start drying it. To dry your marinated venison, you can use an oven, dehydrator, or smoker. When your jerky is dried to the consistency you want, let it cool and store it in an airtight container for safe eating.
Juicy Jerky Cooking in the Oven
Lots of people like to make jerky in their oven. If you pick this route, follow these steps:
1. Cover baking sheets with foil and place them beneath the racks in your oven.
2. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees F (70 degrees C).
3. Lay the jerky directly on the oven racks making sure they don’t touch each other. You can also hang the strips across oven racks using toothpicks or kabob sticks.
4. Dehydrate the meat for 6 to 8 hours or until it’s at your desired consistency.
Easy and Convenient Jerky Making with a Dehydrator
Using a dehydrator is another great way to make jerky. You can purchase a dehydrator between $35-75 and use it to dehydrate all sorts of foods, from fruits to mushrooms to vegetables, along with a variety of meats. To dehydrate venison, lay the meat strips in even layers in your dehydrator, making sure that they don’t touch. Set the dehydrator to 160°F for 2 hours. After the 2 hour point, lower the temperature to 145°F until the jerky is the consistency you want.
Fire up Your Smoker for Great Tasting Jerky
You can also make jerky in a smoker. Start by setting your smoker between 165°F and 180°F. Once the smoker is preheated, arrange the meat in a single layer on the grill gate. If you want a little more spice, sprinkle the meat with some red pepper flakes and crushed black pepper. Then, smoke the meat for 4 to 5 hours and remove it once it’s dry, but still chewy and a little flexible.
Remove the Jerky and Store
Once your jerky is at your preferred level of chewiness, you’ll want to store it in an airtight container. You can refrigerate it for up to 1 month.
Use a Venison Jerky Recipe to Make the Most of Your Hunt
Making your own jerky is an excellent way to use up extra venison you have stored in your freezer. There are ample opportunities to experiment with different flavors, textures, and even shapes! Share your jerky with family and friends, or hoard a stash for yourself.
Use ScopeShields for More Jerky
At ScopeShield, we understand that before jerky, you need to hunt successfully. Use our ScopeShields for scope protection and quick access in the moments that matter most. As always, we wish you a safe and satisfying hunt!