How to Prepare Venison For Jerky
You can make venison jerky with a few simple steps. But before you get started, you need to prepare your meat correctly.
To do this, partially freeze the venison meat before you slice it into strips. This will make it much easier to cut thin, uniform slices.
When making jerky from venison, the first step is to trim the meat. This process ensures that the finished product is free of sliver skin and other contaminants that may compromise its quality and shelf life.
Slice thin strips of the meat, about 1/4 inch thick and 1 to 1 1/2 inches wide. You can choose to slice the venison against or with the grain, depending on the desired chewiness of your finished jerky.
Cut the sliced meat into manageable pieces that will fit through the LEM Big Bite Electric Meat Grinder. If you are using dry seasoning, sprinkle it on top of the venison before grinding.
Once you have a good mixture of spices, place the seasoned strips into a large zip-top bag or a plastic bowl with a tight fitting lid. Add the room temperature marinade and mix well to evenly distribute it throughout the meat. Massage the bag a few times to encourage the marinade to work into the meat.
Preparing the Meat
Choosing the right cut of meat for jerky is important. Venison has a rich beefy flavor that pairs well with the variety of spices used to make jerky.
It’s best to use a lean cut of meat; fat hastens spoilage and makes jerky taste too dry. Venison cuts like rump roasts, top eye, and sirloin tips are especially good.
Before preparing the meat for jerky, trim off any excess fat and silverskin. This will help the meat slice more easily and avoid off flavors.
Once the meat is trimmed, marinate it in a large bowl or a large plastic freezer bag for eight hours or overnight. This gives the seasonings time to penetrate and give the venison extra flavor.
Once the meat is cured, it can be dried in a dehydrator or by hanging it in your oven. It’s best to use a low-temperature oven with a door slightly open so that the jerky can dry evenly.
Venison can be tough and stringy if left unmarinated, but a marinade will tenderize the meat and add flavor. Marinating is a tradition in many cultures that dates back to antiquity.
Traditional wine-based marinades moderate venison’s gaminess and add a degree of tenderization. They also use herbs and spices such as thyme, bay and rosemary.
Beer-based marinades are less traditional but still effective in minimizing the gaminess of wild meats. Dark beers and strong flavors go well with venison, but you can also find recipes that use lighter beers and brighter flavors.
To prepare venison for jerky, cut the meat into strips that are 1/4 inch (.64 cm) thick. These should be sliced against the grain for easier chewing. Refrigerate the strips in the marinade for up to 1 day before dehydrating.
Venison jerky is a great snack for hunters and can be made with any cut of venison. It can be smoked or dried in the oven.
When drying venison for jerky, it is important to keep the meat at a low temperature and dry it slowly. If you are using a smoker, keep the temp at 160 degrees Fahrenheit and allow the meat to smoke for three to four hours before drying.
The jerky will be very dry, but it should still be pliable and chewy. You can test for proper dryness by removing a strip of jerky from the dehydrator or oven and bending it.
If the jerky is too hard or brittle, it is not properly dried. Store the jerky in an airtight plastic bag or container in a cool, dark place. It will last two weeks at room temperature or up to a year in the freezer.
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