Venison Jerky

There are as many jerky recipes as there are people making jerky. This basic recipe is great “as is” but also a fine platform for tinkering.
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 #1”. 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 recipes just 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 use “Morton Tender Quick”, which is available at most grocery stores.

This recipe works equally well with ground or sliced venison.  If substituting domestic meat, use only lean 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.

Print Recipe
Venison Jerky Yum
Course Side dish
Cuisine Adaptable, American
lbs meat
Course Side dish
Cuisine Adaptable, American
lbs meat
  1. Mix ingredients except meat well in a glass, plastic or glazed crockery bowl.
  2. Add the meat and mix. With sliced meat take care to see that all meat surfaces get covered. This can take a little manipulation.
  3. Cover and store in the fridge from 1-3 days. Mix a little a couple of times a day.
  4. Place meat on the drying racks of your smoker or dehydrator. If using an oven try a cooling rack. If using ground meats you may want to use a tool designed to extrude the jerky into uniform thickness and width, or into round "snack stick" shape.
  5. Dry in either a smoker, a dehydrator, or a low oven with the door slightly propped open with a wooden spoon or something similar. If using a smoker, follow the manufacturers directions. In a dehydrator process the jerky at about 150°F. Use only dehydrators with a fan and a thermostat. Dry until it is gets a flexible firm texture but before it cracks. The time needed varies widely depending on humidity, thickness, and your smoker or dehydrator. 4-8 hours is typical. Check it periodically.
  6. When done, if there is any fat pooled on the surface, pat the pieces dry with a paper towel while still warm. Let cool before packaging.
  7. Jerky can be stored long term in many ways. Best is in a refrigerator in a sealed jar or plastic bag.
Recipe Notes

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