“The Men” went deer hunting a few weeks ago, and I told myself for months that when this day arrived, I would force myself to buy some new clothes. I really do not enjoy clothes shopping, which is probably why all of my jeans have holes in them and my shirts are covered in stains from 5 years ago. So while the manly men went to sit in their deer stands, I went shopping for probably the 3rd time in my life since I moved out of my parent’s house, and no, I’m not THAT young!
I was rewarded for my shopping efforts with a giant hunk of venison. I knew immediately that I wanted to try my hand at jerky and it was worth it. It’s time consuming but certainly not difficult.
The jerky has a sweet marinade but the spice blend lends a peppery heat. It’s pretty addicting. This was my first time ever making jerky so I really didn’t want to go out and by a dehydrator since I had no idea if this was something I would want to do again. After I made it, I have determined that I do want to do it again, although the oven worked really well for me so I’m not sure I need to buy the dehydrator anyway.
- 1 Tbsp. onion powder
- 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
- 2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. curing salt
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2/3 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
- 1/4 cup extra-tenderizing Worcestershire sauce
- 1/3 cup Balsamic vinegar
- 4 Tbsp. hickory liquid smoke
- 1/2 cup pineapple juice
- 1 pound lean venison meat
- Mix together seasoning ingredients, set aside.
- Mix together marinade ingredients in a large bowl with an airtight container and set aside.
- Thinly cut venison into 1/8″ strips, cutting against the grain of the meat using a very sharp knife. If this is proving difficult, put the meat in the freezer for about 10 minutes to make this part a bit easier.
- Toss the meat with the seasoning mixture to coat. Submerge meat in marinade, cover, and let sit for at least 3 hours and a max of 6 hours.
- Drain meat in a colander.
- Lay strips out in a single layer on 2 cooling racks (the ones you use to cool cookies when they come out of the oven).
- Place oven racks to high and low positions then place cooling racks on oven racks.
- Place a thermometer in the oven, and prop the oven open with a small fan on high (I used a battery powered fan that we generally use for camping. Get creative here, you want constant airflow to promote the drying process).
- Once an hour, preheat oven to lowest possible temperature (mine was 170F). Once the thermometer reaches 100F, turn the oven off. Rotate racks every hour to ensure even heat and drying.
- The amount of time it takes to dry will depend on the thickness of the strips. Mine took about 8 hours total.
- Once meat is thoroughly dehydrated, place in an airtight container or glass jar (avoid ziploc bags as they tend to store moisture which will promote mold growth).
- Hoard and eat!