Play around with the recipe all you want, but two rules should be followed:
- Keep the ratio of salt and soy sauce to meat accurate
- If you dry your jerky in a smoker, use a cure.
In anything other than a smoker, you can safely omit the cure, though many people favor the taste of cured jerky anyway.
Cure can be found under multiple names. A couple are “Prague Powder #1” or “Instacure”. They may be available from your butcher but are easily found online. No matter what the name, it is a pinkish 1:16 salt/Sodium nitrite mixture (6.25% sodium nitrite).
Some older recipes call it “pink salt” but don’t get confused – that term is also used nowadays for salt mined in the Himalayan mountains, which bears a pink color but is NOT a cure.
Or you can substitute “Morton Tender Quick”, which is available at grocery stores, which has all the salt in it already.
Sound complicated? Here’s an easy to follow guide for 1 lb of meat:
- With Cure: 1 tsp salt and 1/3 tsp cure. 4 tsp soy sauce.
- With Morton Tender Quick: 1 1/3 tsp Tender Quick. 4 tsp soy sauce.
- No Cure: 1 1/3 tsp salt. 4 tsp soy sauce. (Do NOT omit cure if you are drying under smoke using a smoker.)
This recipe works equally well with ground or sliced venison. If substituting domestic meat, use only the leanest cuts. When slicing, 3/8″ is a good thickness to aim for, but however you slice it try to be consistent throughout a batch. Many cuts will work but I find round roasts are the best. Trim the meat well before slicing. Slice with the grain unless you prefer your jerky crumbly rather than chewy.