How to Cure Venison Jerky

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Venison jerky is a tasty and gamier alternative to beef jerky.
Venison jerky is a tasty and gamier alternative to beef jerky. (Image: Paul E Tessier/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Venison jerky is a tasty and gamier alternative to beef jerky. Because the meat is dried and has large amounts of salt, which acts as a preservative, it keeps exceptionally well. Because tenderness is not an issue, you can always use tougher cuts of venison for your jerky. Store-bought venison jerky can be expensive, so if you want to save some money, you can make it at home. The secret to making good venison jerky lies in using the right seasoning and curing the meat well.

Things You'll Need

  • 15 pounds of venison
  • 2.5 oz. sodium nitrate
  • 3 1/2 cups Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. teriyaki sauce
  • 3 1/3 tsp. seasoned salt
  • 3 1/3 tsp. onion powder
  • 3 1/3 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 3 1/3 tsp. dry jerky mix
  • 3 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 3 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2/3 tsp. sugar

Buy either the leg muscles, chest, rib or neck cuts of venison. Ask your butcher to de-bone to meat and cut it lengthwise into strips of 1/8- to 3/8-inch thick.

Trim off all the fat, gristle, tendon and silver skin.

Mix the sodium nitrate, Worcestershire sauce, seasoned salt, onion powder, soy sauce, garlic powder, black pepper, teriyaki sauce and cayenne pepper, sugar and dry jerky mix in a bowl, then rub the venison with the mixture. Roll the meat strips inside the bowl for a few minutes so they absorb the mixture.

Leave the venison strips in the bowl. Cover it with cellophane wrap and leave it to marinate overnight. Let the venison strips marinate for at least 24 hours.

String one end of the strips on a metal rod. Let the strips hang so the liquid drains from the meat. Leave some space between each strip. If you don’t have a metal road, lay the meat flat on top of oven racks to drain. Place foil at the bottom to collect the excess fluid as the venison cures.

Set your oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the venison strips on the top oven rack. Leave the oven door ajar while cooking. Cook for 5 to 6 hours until the meat is dry; begin checking the meat for doneness after 4 hours--overcooking can cause the venison to become dry and crumbly.

Tips & Warnings

  • Adding a little sugar helps to retard bacteria. To keep your jerky from spoiling, put them in airtight containers and store them in the freezer.
  • Make sure to leave the over door opened a few inches, if not the jerky might get cooked too quickly.

References

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