How to Make Deer Jerky in the Dehydrator
There is one Christmas present I can count on receiving, every single year. My stocking always contains a huge ziplock bag of deer jerky that my dad has made. My sister and I, as well as our significant others now, have grown to expect and look forward to this gift every year.
The truth is, deer jerky is delicious and it's so easy to make. I'm finally letting the cat out of the bag to tell you how it's made. It's not a secret recipe or anything—but it sure is good!
- Jerky shooter
Step 1: Prep the Ground Venison
Get a big bowl and add all of your meat. You might have to mix up a pound at a time if you make a lot, like we do. The directions for the seasoning kit we use says to add 1/4 cup of water per pound of meat, but we substitute some of the water for Worcestershire sauce. Since we are using 2 pounds of meat in this recipe, we added 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce.
Next, add your spices and cure packets to the meat according to the instructions on the seasoning package. Be sure to mix up really well to evenly distribute the flavors and seasoning. We use our hands and run our fingers through it to mix it. Just keep squashing it in your hands and rolling it around until you get all the water and sauce fully saturating all of the meat. This will keep it from being overly dry in some spots.
Step 2: Create the Jerky Strips
We use a jerky shooter to create the jerky straps because it makes it easy to get them to be the same thickness and size. This ensures that they cook evenly and that all pieces turn out the same. You can do it by hand, but I feel like it would take forever.
Fill the jerky shooter up with your ground deer meat and put the shooter together. Simply squeeze the handle and form a strip on the dehydrator rack. Keep going until all dehydrator racks are full and evenly spaced between strips.
Step 3: Let the Dehydrator Work
Once you have all of the racks filled, go ahead and turn your dehydrator on. You will need to let them "cook" for 5 to 5.5 hours. For best results, rotate the racks every hour. Sometimes the ones on the top rack cook differently than the ones on the bottom. So, just rotate them through each hour so each rack gets the same amount of dehydration. This will also give you a chance to check them each hour to see if they are done. Some people like more chewy jerky and others like to have to gnaw at it. It's up to you.