venison jerky

Venison Jerky Recipe: How to Make Great Marinaded Jerky


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Most hunters love to eat the meat they have themselves hunted, and there's no doubt that deer jerky appears near the top of the list of their favorites. While the cuisine craze that has taken over the world of online recipes continues to influence even the most basic dishes (bacon-infused ice cream, anyone?), sometimes keeping things basic with common ingredients and avoiding extensive preparation and cooking procedures just makes sense. It's not all about fancy venison steaks, stuffed back straps, or slow-cooked venison roasts.

After all, if you're making something like homestyle venison jerky, you don't want to get caught up in extreme flavors and take away from the great taste of venison or elk meat. You don't want to waste too much prep time, and you don't want to buy tons of specialized ingredients.

To all the passionate hunters, try this original recipe of marinated venison or elk jerky, and keep it simple with your wild game. Feel free to add more complex ingredients if you wish, but the basis of a good jerky marinade starts with these essentials. Mind you, if you follow it directly, you should still end up with one of the best jerky batches you've ever made. Here's hoping your hunting season is successful enough to provide you with plenty of elk or deer meat to make homemade jerky with.

Tips for Making Venison Jerky

There are a few pointers worth keeping in mind when you're attempting to make good venison jerky. First of all, the cut of game meat you opt to use for jerky can make a big difference, not only in texture but also in overall cooking time. Tender portions of meat, like the backstrap or rump, are going to require less time and have a better bite. A tougher cut like the ribs, top round, or bottom round will call for a longer cook time and be a little more chewy as a finished product.

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Also, there are several methods that you can use to create great jerky, but they all require a slightly different set of instructions and cook times. We cover the steps for using a dehydrator, which is the most common and ultimately preferred method. But wild game chefs can also go with a smoker or a traditional oven, both perfectly capable of helping whip up a batch of delicious venison jerky.

Also, the amount of time you leave raw game meat in a marinade can affect the overall flavor of the finished product.

Marinaded Venison Jerky Recipe

Ingredients

For every pound of venison meat, you will need:

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  • 4 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp. ketchup
  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 large or 2 small fresh garlic cloves, pressed or ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp. onion powder
  • ¾ tsp. kosher salt
  • optional: red pepper flakes or cayenne to taste

Directions

1. Using a sharp knife, slice your elk or venison into ¼-inch pieces. If you want softer jerky, slice meat across the grain (it helps if it is still partially frozen), or if you like chewier jerky, slice it with the grain (it will need to be totally defrosted for this). You can use ground meat as well, but will need a jerky gun.

2. In a large bowl or pan combine the marinade and pour it over the meat. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours, stirring it occasionally to make sure all the meat stays covered by the marinade. As a general rule, don't let the meat marinate longer than 24 hours.

3. Drain the marinade from the meat and discard it (the marinade can't be used again after coming in contact with the raw meat).

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4. Place the jerky slices on the food dehydrator trays so that they are not touching. Set the dehydrator to 155 degrees and, depending on the total amount and the thickness of your meat strips, dehydrate for 6-12 hours. The cook time shouldn't vary much outside of those limits.

5. Check the jerky periodically to see that it does not get over-dried. It is done when it is completely dry yet still pliable, not crumbly. A good indicator of doneness is shown when you bend a piece; if it begins to crack and shows white fibers inside the meat, you're done or close to being done. If it's still flimsy and doesn't crack or tear, let is go longer.

The jerky should be stored securely, preferably in a sealable plastic bag, and eaten within a month if it isn't frozen. Note that drying the jerky slightly longer keeps it better longer, but is harder to chew. You know you can buy a bag of beef jerky any time you want, but have you ever actually looked at the nutrition facts on those things? Having a homemade deer jerky recipe is something we should all have in our back pocket.

READ MORE: BEST VENISON SNACK STICK KITS ON THE MARKET TODAY

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