Once you got the deer hunt out of the way and you have brought home a fresh supply of deer meat, you will surely be looking for a variety of ideas of how to prepare and eat the meat. One of the great ways many hunters and deer meat eaters like it, is by making deer jerky from it. The question is, how do you go about it, how to make deer jerky?
Here is our best deer jerky recipe, and generally my favorite method of making it that has served me well for many years.
Deer Jerky Recipe
Here is an old school recipe for making deer jerky in a dehydrator, you are making the jerky here by making the deer jerky marinade from scratch, not a ready made marinade as is often used nowadays.
- 1 pound lean venison, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch thick strips
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons liquid smoke
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the venison.
- Add the venison strips to the marinade and stir to coat.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
- Preheat the dehydrator to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove the venison from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels.
- Arrange the venison strips in a single layer on the dehydrator trays.
- Dehydrate the jerky for 4-6 hours, or until it is dry and firm but still slightly pliable.
- Store the jerky in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
Making deer jerky, or any jerky for that matter, entails either drying or smoking the meat to the level of dehydration you like. The major equipment needed will then be either a smoker or a food dehydrator. The smoking method is for another post, so here we focus on using a dehydrator to dehydrate your deer jerky. I have an older dehydrator that still works, but the newer features of more modern dehydrators make it much easier to consistently get the jerky to your liking. With multiple trays and built-in timers, they are set and forget, making the whole process much less time consuming for you. Here is the current dehydrator that I am using and highly recommend:
Food Dehydrator for Jerky
The COSORI Food Dehydrator for Jerky has a number of features that make it a good choice for making jerky:
- 5 trays: The COSORI Food Dehydrator has 5 trays, which provide plenty of space to make a large batch of jerky. The trays are also dishwasher-safe for easy cleanup.
- Adjustable temperature: The temperature range of the COSORI Food Dehydrator is 105-165 degrees Fahrenheit, which allows you to customize the drying process to your liking.
- Timer: The COSORI Food Dehydrator has a timer up to 24 hours, so you can set it and forget it.
- Cool-dry function: The COSORI Food Dehydrator has a cool-dry function that prevents the jerky from overdrying.
- Jerky seasoning guide: The COSORI Food Dehydrator comes with a jerky seasoning guide to help you get started.
Here are some additional features of the COSORI Food Dehydrator for Jerky:
- It is made of BPA-free materials.
- It has a compact design that makes it easy to store.
- It comes with a recipe book.
Overall, the COSORI Food Dehydrator for Jerky is a good choice for making jerky at home. It has a number of features that make it easy to use and produce high-quality jerky.
Here are some reviews of the COSORI Food Dehydrator for Jerky:
- “I love this food dehydrator! It’s so easy to use and makes great jerky.” – Amazon reviewer
- “This food dehydrator is perfect for making jerky. The temperature control is great and the trays are dishwasher-safe.” – Bed Bath & Beyond reviewer
- “I’ve made jerky, fruit leather, and even dog treats in this food dehydrator. It’s great!” – Walmart reviewer
If you are looking for a food dehydrator to make jerky, the COSORI Food Dehydrator for Jerky is a good option to consider. It has a number of features that make it easy to use and produce high-quality jerky.
Dehydrating Deer Jerky – Common Questions
How long to dehydrate deer jerky?
When you are making deer jerky, it is recommended to preheat your dehydrator to 160F, and then dehydrate the deer jerky in the dehydrator for around 4 to 6 hours, until it is dry and firm but still pliable. Once you have done it a few times, you will quickly find how long works for you do get the deer jerky to the dry level of your preference.
Here are some tips for making deer jerky:
- Use lean venison. The fat will make the jerky tough.
- Cut the meat into thin strips. The thinner the strips, the faster the jerky will dry and more pliable it will be when dry.
- Marinate the deer meat for at least 8 hours, before putting it in the dehydrator. This will help to flavor the jerky and tenderize the meat.
- Dehydrate the jerky at a low temperature, usually at around 160 degrees Fahrenheit. This will help to prevent the jerky from drying out too much and becoming tough.
- Check the jerky periodically while it is dehydrating to ensure you do not over-dry it. The drying time will vary depending on the thickness of the strips and the dehydrator.
- Store the jerky in an airtight container at room temperature, the deer jerky can be stored this way for up to 2 weeks.