Venison Jerky Recipe
Make venison jerky at home for a healthy snack and a treat to share with friends. Venison jerky is easy to make, keeps well and has plenty of protein.
You can use ground meat for venison jerky, which is much easier to chew than slices of whole muscle. The jerky also has a deeper flavor.
Basic Venison Jerky Recipe
Here’s a basic venison jerky recipe that you can use as a starting point. You can adjust the seasonings to suit your taste preferences and experiment with different flavor profiles:
- 1 pound of thinly sliced venison (about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick)
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (adjust to taste for spiciness)
- 1/4 teaspoon curing salt (optional, for food safety)
- In a mixing bowl, combine the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke (if using), and all the dry seasonings. Adjust the amount of red pepper flakes to your preferred level of spiciness.
- Place the venison slices in a zip-top bag or a container with a lid. Pour the marinade over the venison, ensuring that each slice is well coated. If you choose to use curing salt, mix it into the marinade.
- Seal the bag or container and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight for better flavor infusion. The longer it marinates, the more intense the flavor.
- Preheat your oven to its lowest setting (usually around 175-200°F or 80-93°C). Alternatively, you can use a food dehydrator or smoker for this step.
- Remove the venison from the marinade and blot off any excess moisture with paper towels.
- Arrange the venison slices on a baking sheet, wire rack, or dehydrator trays.
- Dry the jerky for 3-6 hours, depending on your chosen method. Check it periodically; the jerky is ready when it’s firm but still slightly pliable.
- Allow the venison jerky to cool completely, then store it in an airtight container. Properly dried jerky can be stored for several weeks or even longer.
This is a basic recipe, but you can get creative with different seasonings and marinades to create unique flavors. Some people like to add a touch of sweetness with brown sugar or honey, while others prefer smoky or teriyaki flavors. Experiment and find your favorite venison jerky recipe! See also Venison Jerky Seasoning Recipes
Choosing the right ingredients is an important part of the jerky making process. The best meat to use for jerky is lean, as fat hastens spoilage. Venison is a good choice because it has a meaty flavor and is relatively low in fat.
Trim as much silverskin as you can from the venison and then slice it against the grain into 1/4-inch-thick strips. A meat slicer makes this step easier and faster, but you can also do it by hand.
Prepare a Marinade – For optimal flavor, let the meat bathe in your jerky marinade overnight before drying. This will give the flavors time to meld together and provide a better savory taste.
Combine the marinade and sliced meat in a large bowl or food storage bag. Mix the spices with the venison and then store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to make your jerky.
Once you have the venison jerky mixture ready, load it into a jerky gun (like our LEM Mighty Bite 8.5” Belt Driven Meat Slicer) and spray it onto dehydrator trays until they are all full. Then set your dehydrator to 160 degrees and leave it to dry for about 5 hours. Check for doneness by gently bending the jerky strips to make sure they bend without breaking.
Venison jerky is easy to make at home, and is an excellent snack. It can be made to suit your taste and stored safely in the refrigerator or freezer for weeks or months.
The preparation process for venison jerky includes marinating and heat treating the meat. This helps to reduce the risk of bacteria, such as E. coli, and parasites such as Trichinella and tapeworms.
To begin, trim the venison of fat and connective tissue. It is also important to remove as much tough silverskin, sinew and tendon as possible.
Next, slice the meat crossgrain about 1/4 inch thick. This ensures the jerky will be chewy, but not too tender or brittle.
Cut the sliced meat into thin strips about 1 to 1 1/2 inches wide and 4 to 10 inches long. Arrange on dehydrator trays or cake racks for oven drying, placing the strips close together but not touching each other.
A great venison jerky recipe starts with prepping the meat and creating a delicious marinade. You can use soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, and a variety of seasonings to achieve a flavorful jerky that everyone will love.
To start, slice the venison against the grain into thin strips. You can do this yourself or you can ask your butcher to cut it for you on a meat slicer.
If you choose to do it yourself, you should partially freeze the venison first so that it’s easier to cut into uniform slices. Next, trim any fat or silverskin off the meat.
Afterward, cut the meat into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Lay them out on dehydrator trays or cake racks set on baking sheets for oven drying.
As with most meats, venison needs to be stored properly to prevent illness from parasites and pathogens. To help prevent these threats, freeze meat in pieces less than 6 inches thick (at 0 degrees Fahrenheit) for at least 30 days before processing.
Freezing helps to kill parasites like Trichinella that can cause a condition called trichinosis. This is especially important when making jerky from wild game.
After freezing, slice the meat into thin strips, approximately 1/4 inch thick and 1 to 1 1/2 inches wide. Arrange the strips on wire racks, 1/8 to 1/4 inch apart for air flow.
Depending on how long you want to store the jerky, you can choose between using an air tight container such as a stand-up pouch, Mylar bag or mason jar. Adding a food grade desiccant could also be an option to help maintain moisture in the jerky.
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