Homemade deer jerky is commonly enjoyed by hunting enthusiasts. It’s a great way to preserve your game in a delicious form that’s flavored by a deer jerky seasoning or marinade.
Wild game isn’t treated the same way as commercially sold meat. The curing process, which uses salt and a deer jerky mix that consists of curing salt, is an essential step that must be done right. This will ensure the proper flavor, tenderness and shelf life of dried venison.
Making deer jerky from scratch
Making venison jerky is easy, once you know what you’re doing. Experienced hunters will generally use an injection cure for large sections of meat. It uses the correct proportion of water, salt and curing salt, working from the inside out.
For our purposes, we’ll assume that you’re using a cut of meat up to the size of a round roast of beef. This way, we can use a wet or dry cure, in the form of deer jerky marinade or seasoning. Always use the recommended quantity for your curing salt.
If you’re purchasing your venison meat from a butcher, it’s likely already been cured. They may even be willing to cut it into 1/8″ strips, which will save you time and effort. Otherwise, partially freeze the meat before slicing it thinly with a sharp knife.
We recommend cutting against the grain. This will slice open muscle fibers and make venison jerky much more tender and absorbent to flavors.
Venison jerky recipe
We like to keep our deer jerky recipes very simple, however you can certainly experiment on your own. Ours is a template example that uses few ingredients, but is tasty and enjoyable.
You could also sweeten it with brown sugar, molasses or honey. Citric ingredients, like wine, beer, pineapple juice and apple cider vinegar will soften the meat, while adding unique flavors.
- 2 lbs. venison meat (boneless)
- ½ cup teriyaki or soy sauce
- 4 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp. smoked paprika
- 2 tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. each garlic powder, onion powder and black pepper
Combine all of the ingredients into a venison jerky marinade. Combine the marinade and sliced meat in a sealed container, such as a freezer bag an marinate in the fridge for 12-24 hours.
Set your deer jerky dehydrator to 160 degrees F. Place the uncooked strips of deer jerky on dehydrator trays and dry for about 6 hours.
Drying times change, based on preference. The venison jerky must cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees, and you can certainly desiccate it longer. The reduced moisture will allow for longer storage times, as bacteria will have less of a chance to develop.
Once finished, let your homemade venison jerky cool for about 30 minutes. They’ll store in the fridge for about 3 weeks to a month. Remember that if you store them in the freezer, they will last for at least a few months, but the flavor may suffer for it.
Secrets to venison jerky seasoning
A ground venison recipe will do well with a dry rub or seasoning. It’s possible to take our venison jerky marinade, or any kind of sauce, and turn it into a deer mix, from scratch!
All you need is a food dryer. Simply pour the sauce into the solid variety of dehydrating trays up to 1/8″ thick and dehydrate at 135 degrees F. Once dried into solid chunks, you can seal them in bags, then grind them up when ready to reduce oxidation.