Venison is coming into season and it’s the perfect meat for making deer jerky. The purpose of making jerky is to preserve by removing all the water from the meat. Without moisture, pathogens are unable to thrive. It also makes the meat significantly lighter which makes it perfect for traveling especially on foot in the great outdoors. Venison also has very little fat (which can go rancid) giving it yet another quality for amazing jerky.
The first step is to cut the venison. This will differ depending on the cut you use. Since venison is lean anyway and you intend to eat the jerky within a couple of weeks, you can use practically any cut, as long as you can cut it into small strips. If your making jerky to store for months you’d be better of using leaner cuts of the deer. I used two 250g venison haunch steaks and sliced them into thin 1-2 inch long strips that were around 3-4 quarters thick.
Next, you have to season the jerky with salt and freshly cracked pepper. Using pink curing salt will give the jerky a really nice finished color so I highly recommend using it. It can be hard to find so if you’re unable to, regular sea salt will do. Crack some peppercorns over the venison (how much depends on your preference) then turn on the oven to 120-150°F and let it heat up for 10 minutes.
Next line an oven rack with some aluminum foil then evenly space the venison slices out onto the foil. Place the rack into the oven then close the door leaving it wedged open with a wooden spoon or something similar for air circulation.
Dehydrate the meat for 2-3 hours on one side, remove the tray from the oven and flip all the jerky pieces then place it back into the oven and leave it to run for another hour or two before turning the oven off and transferring the meat to a jar.
If you have the vacuum sealing equipment, allow the jerky to cool off completely, then place it into a vacuum seal bag and suck out the air. This will allow you to store the jerky for much longer.
500g/1.1 lbs venison steaks, cut into thin strips
- Preheat your oven to 120°F
- Lay the strips of venison out onto a cutting board then season evenly with curing salt and coarsely ground black pepper.
- Once the oven is preheated, line a baking tray with a rack with aluminum foil then space the venison stips out evenly onto the foil.
- Place the baking tray into the oven, close the door but keep it wedged open with a wooden spoon to allow for efficient airflow.
- Dehydrate the meat for 2-3 hours, remove from the oven then flip it all over.
- Place the baking tray back into the oven then finish dehydrating for at least another hour or until the jerky is fully dehydrated.