Start to Finish: 13 to 18 hours
Servings: 1 pound of jerky
Making deer jerky at home is a simple way to preserve large amounts of meat, and for making easy protein-rich snacks. You will need a dehydrator with a temperature control feature and a probe-style instant-read thermometer to safely preserve meat.
Lean, intact muscle tissue makes great jerky. Use this method to make jerky from your favorite game meats, or from lean cuts of beef.
- 1 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons ground pepper
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 3 pounds fresh venison
Combine the Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, pepper, onion, garlic and liquid smoke in a large zip-top bag.
Remove the venison from the freezer and slice against the grain into thin strips. Put the strips into the bag with the marinade. Refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours or overnight.
Put the venison in the freezer for 30 to 45 minutes or until firm, but not frozen solid, before slicing. This will make the meat easier to cut into thin strips.
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.
Lay the marinated meat in a single layer on a rack set over a baking sheet. Roast until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 160 degrees F. Remove the meat from the oven.
Set the dehydrator’s temperature control to 130 to 140 degrees F.
Spread the meat in a single layer on the drying racks in the dehydrator. Allow the meat to dry for 5 to 10 hours or until it reaches the consistency you prefer.
Homemade jerky is shelf-stable for 1 to 2 months. If you have more jerky than you plan to use in that time frame, you can vacuum-seal individual portions to extend its shelf life, or freeze it for up to 6 months.
Get creative with your jerky marinade. This is where the real flavor of your finished product begins. Use these suggestions as a starting point:
- Sweet and salty: Substitute 1/2 cup pure maple syrup for half of the Worcestershire sauce in this recipe. Your jerky will have rich, sweet maple undertones.
- Spicy: Add a chipotle chili (or two) in adobo sauce to the marinade.
- Asian-inspired: Substitute grated ginger for the onion in this recipe, and add 1/4 cup chopped lemongrass to the marinade.