The primary reason for venison jerky in a dehydrator is to preserve and store your meat efficiently. Expect more out of your venison meat, and make tasty, succulent and tender venison jerky at the same time. You can even re-hydrate your jerky meat!
Venison jerky can be, as you may know, a little tough to chew. We’ll show you how to overcome that issue with an effective deer jerky cure and marinade that’ll soften, and at the same time, flavor your jerky.
A deer jerky recipe that’ll work for you
Your choice of deer jerky mix will depend on your own preferences. We’ve included a deer jerky recipe that you can use in a dehydrator, providing a list of optional ingredients that you can easily swap out.
- 1 pound venison meat
- 1 tbsp. garlic powder, onion powder, ginger powder and black pepper
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 3 cups dark ale, red wine or apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup soy sauce
Cut the meat for your deer jerky into slices 1/8” thick. Trim off as much fat as you can, as it will be the first to spoil and go rancid and is best avoided altogether.
Combine all of your ingredients, except the meat for the venison jerky, in a large, glass bowl. Whisk them together, then transfer to the sealable container that you’ll use to marinate your meat. Place your slices of meat into the marinade, ensuring that each one is thoroughly covered.
Sale your venison jerky marinade and refrigerate for 24 hours. Afterward, let your marinated deer jerky dry out on paper towel before placing them evenly on dehydrator trays.
Set your meat dehydrator to 160 degrees and cook your venison jerky for 4 hours. At this point, your meat should have reached an internal temperature of 160 degrees, but it may not be as dry as you’d like.
One of the benefits of venison jerky cures and marinades is that the meat becomes so succulent and tender. This means that you can dry your meat out for up to 5 or 6 hours for a longer shelf life, and it’ll still be enjoyable to eat.
Venison jerky seasoning, marinating and curing
Venison jerky seasoning can be combined into a marinade. Using acidic ingredients, like ale, wine, tomato juice, fruit juice, vinegar and apple cider vinegar will tenderize your deer meat jerky. This creates tastier meat that isn’t so tough and gamy.
When making venison jerky in a dehydrator, using wild game, you can work a deer jerky cure into your marinade. This process essentially extends the shelf life of your meat with the use of sodium nitrate, which you can make by treating celery juice with a bacterial culture. You could also use more conventional or chemical sources of sodium nitrate.
Making deer jerky is a process that inherently extends the shelf life of your venison meat. You can vacuum seal uncured meat jerky and it’ll last for up to 2 months in the fridge, or up to 6 months in the freezer. The curing process can extend its shelf life in the refrigerator to up to an entire year.
At the very least, we recommend soaking your raw venison meat in salt water for about an hour. This will draw out the blood and help tenderize the meat even further.
Expert tips for making venison jerky
Use a deer jerky dehydrator. The proper equipment will ensure balanced, thorough cooking, with enough drying power, in terms of wattage. They’re also designed with advanced air flow systems that properly evacuate moisture, leaving behind all of the delicious flavors.
A food dehydrator with timer will aid your process further. Being able to push a button, knowing that your dehydrator will run for 4 hours, means that you can set large batches and then collect them whenever it’s convenient for you.
A meat dehydrator is your go-to tool for turning your catch into a 2- to 6-month supply of delicious meat, and reducing the storage space required for it.