How to Make Deer Jerky

If you’re looking for a lighter, protein-rich snack that’s also good for your health, try making your own deer jerky. Venison is one of the leanest meats out there and it’s a great way to get the iron and B12 you need without the fat!

You can make jerky at home in an oven or with a dehydrator. Both methods are relatively easy and quick.


The key to making deer jerky is the right combination of seasoning and drying time. Salt and spices are essential for flavor, but a variety of sweet ingredients can also be used to customize the taste.

Once the meat is cut, you can either marinate it or dry it by air-drying or dehydrating. A marinade will add moisture and flavor to the venison, while drying will remove all of the excess moisture and make it hard and chewy.

For the best results, slice your venison into very thin strips, about 1/8′′ thick. This is easiest to do when the meat is partially frozen, so set it in the freezer for a few hours before cutting.

Use a sharp knife and cut the slices across the grain to avoid slicing through muscle fibers. This helps ensure the jerky will be chewy. You can also use a meat slicer to make this process a bit easier, but it will take a bit longer to get the results you desire.


Deer meat is naturally lean and low in fat, which makes it perfect for jerky. But before you start to make venison jerky, it needs to be trimmed of all unwanted fat and connective tissue.

Trimming is the process of removing all excess fat, muscle sheathing and any connective tissue that is not essential for the meat’s flavor and texture. This helps to ensure the meat stays fresher longer and keeps the jerky tasty.

Once the meat is trimmed, it can be cut into small strips that will become jerky. The best cuts for this are thin sliced pieces that are about the same thickness, so they will be chewy and tough enough to survive long-term storage.

For a more tender jerky, try slicing the meat with the grain instead of cutting it across. Slicing with the grain will produce a more chewy and tougher piece of jerky.


Jerky is an easy-to-make, healthy snack that can be made from any cut of venison. It’s also a great way to get your family involved in the cooking process.

When making jerky at home, the key is to choose lean cuts of raw meat. Hind quarters such as the rump roast, eye round and butts make the best choices.

Besides being lean, these cuts of meat have muscle fibers arranged in a way that makes it easier to cut against the grain. Slice these slices into thin strips about 1/8” thick.

You can use a variety of spices and seasonings to create a flavorful marinade. Many deer hunters like to use curing salt, which is a form of sodium nitrate that helps prevent the growth of bacteria and parasites.


When you’ve made your own deer jerky, you can store it for up to six months in an airtight container. It will last longer if it is frozen after it’s been opened, but freezing can alter the flavor of the jerky.

For long-term storage, jerky should be vacuum sealed in a food-grade bag. The bag will remove the air from the jerky, which will increase its shelf life substantially.

In addition, you can also use desiccants to help remove excess moisture from the jerky. A Mylar bag or mason jar can work well for this, as it will absorb moisture and prevent mold growth.

Once your jerky has dried, you can then package it in glass jars or heavy plastic food storage bags. You can also store it in a cool place, such as a pantry. But be sure to check it often for signs of spoilage, like a bad odor or a covering with white.

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