Deer jerky is a tasty snack full of protein and is excellent for outdoor activities, car trips, or just when you’re hungry. You can control what goes into it when you make deer jerky at home. It’s also healthier and tastes better than store-bought versions. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll show you how to make deer jerky that tastes great.
Table of Contents
How to make deer jerky
- 1-2 pounds of deer meat (venison) – lean cuts like the backstrap or ground meat.
- Marinade of your choice (we’ll provide a simple recipe below).
- Seasonings (salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, etc.).
- Optional: Liquid smoke for extra flavor.
- Optional: For a bit of heat, cayenne pepper or chili flakes.
- A food dehydrator or an oven with a low-temperature setting.
- Parchment paper or food dehydrator trays.
- Sharp knife or meat slicer.
- Ziplock bags or airtight containers for storage.
Step 1: Get the meat ready
Almost any lean meat can be made into jerky. People like to eat venison, beef, pronghorn, bison, African wild animals, and just about anything else. We will focus on deer for this piece, but the methods can be used with almost any meat.
Jerky can be made from almost any lean part of your deer. Here are the best cuts of meat for making jerky:
Thickness of deer jerky
You have a few options when it comes to how to cut dried meat. When you bite into the end product, chewing will be more satisfying if you miss the grain. Going against the grain makes the jerky softer and easier to chew.
The most important thing to do when splitting jerky is to make it the same thickness throughout. You want the meat to dry at the same rate all over. If you’re drying a mix of thin and thick jerky, you’ll have to go through it often to pick the thin pieces ready to eat. On the other hand, a more comprehensive work next to it may still need hours to be safe to eat.
Even though thicker pieces are more affluent and filling, they only keep well if they are kept in the fridge. It also takes a lot longer for thick meat to dry. Thin beef strips dry quickly, but they can get too swiftly done, leaving you with a piece of crispy beef that needs to be cut better. I like something about it in the middle. Most of my heart is about a quarter-inch thick.
How to cut deer meat into strips for jerky
You can cut your deer in different ways.
- Place the meat in the fridge for an hour or two before slicing. It helps firm it up and makes it easier to cut by hand with a sharp knife at the same thickness.. Work in batches, getting as much meat as you can cut out of the freezer before it softens again.
- Next on the list is a guide on how to cut jerky. These guides are made of metal or wood and have a small tray to hold the meat and a guide to show how thick the heart is. They’re like hand-held slicers for sandwich meat.
- If you like jerky and want to make a lot of it, you should buy an electric meat grinder. They have moving guides that let you change the width of each piece, and a few pounds of deer go through them quickly.
- A crank-style jerky cutter is another handy way to make many jerky strips quickly. These machines rapidly make very even slices about 1/4 inch thick.
Step 2: Create the Marinade
A good marinade is essential to flavorful deer jerky. Here’s a basic recipe:
Ingredients for Marinade:
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- One teaspoon salt
- One teaspoon of black pepper
- One teaspoon of garlic powder
- One teaspoon of onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Optional: 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke for extra smokiness
- Optional: 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or chili flakes for some heat (adjust to taste)
- Combine the sauce’s ingredients in a bowl.Mix thoroughly until sugar and salt are dissolved.
- Pour the sauce over the sliced deer meat in a Ziploc bag or a small dish. Make sure that each slice is properly covered.
- Refrigerate the bag or dish for at least 4 hours, or better yet, overnight. So, the tastes can get into the meat.
Step 3: Dry out the meat
Using a dehydrator
- Put parchment paper or food dehydrator trays on the racks to keep things from sticking.
- Place the strips of marinating deer meat on the trays without letting them touch.
- Set the food dehydrator to a temperature between 145°F and 160°F (63°C and 71°C) and let it run for about 4 to 6 hours, or until the jerky is dry but still bendable.
- The time it takes to dry depends on how thick the meat is and how your dehydrator is set up.
Using an oven
- Set your oven’s temperature to its lowest level, around 170°F or 75°C. Put a wooden spoon in the oven door to keep it open and let wetness escape.
- Place the deer meat strips that have been prepared on oven racks or wire cooling racks that have been set on baking sheets to catch any drips.
- Bake the jerky for about 4 to 6 hours, checking it often to see if it’s done. The meat should be dry but still bendable.
Step 4: Store and Enjoy
- As soon as your deer jerky reaches room temperature, it’s time to preserve it properly:
- Put the jerky in containers or ziplock bags that won’t let air or wetness in.
- Keep it in a cool, dry place or the fridge to make it last longer. If you store it right, deer jerky can last a few months.
- Make your deer meat and eat it as a snack, on a hike, or as a high-protein addition to your meals.
How to make meat from deer?
Although the sirloin, rump roast, and neck are excellent choices for jerky meat, you may also utilize the top round and eye of round.
Is Beef Jerky healthy?
Despite being a nutritious snack, beef jerky is best enjoyed in moderation.
What are some well-known ways to marinate jerky?
You can try different marinade recipes, like ones made with soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce, teriyaki-style marinades, hot chili marinades, and mixes of sweet and salty flavors.
Deer jerky is a tasty snack that can be eaten on hikes, road trips, or with meals to add energy. People who make jerky learn a new skill and get in touch with old ways of keeping meat and making tasty treats.
You can change the taste of the jerky by trying different marinades and spices. This is fun and creative. Fewer additives and stabilizers are used in home made deer jerky than store-bought kinds.