Jerky is one of those snacks that everyone in the family loves. It also happens to be pretty expensive and a lot of people feel that it is either too complicated or too time-consuming to make on their own. While it can be time-consuming I’m happy to say that it is far from complicated! The jerky that we have been making lately is venison jerky but if you don’t have access to deer meat you can substitute beef with similar results. Homemade venison jerky is delicious however and if you can get your hands on some deer I highly suggest giving it a try! This is also a great snack for my Keto following friends!
Hunting has been an important part of our homesteading journey and there is nothing quite like producing healthy and ethical food for your family from your own backyard. There is certainly a lot of appreciation for this meat when you know where it came from and put in the work to harvest and process it from forest to table.
Homemade Venison Jerky Without a Dehydrator
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- 1ib Meat (per batch)
- A Marinade of choice (see below for some suggestions)
- Foil (or baking trays/cookie sheets)
- Sharp Knife
- In order to make amazing jerky, there is a bit of preparation that has to take place! I have made jerky in the past using beef chuck roasts and other similar cuts, with venison jerky I have found the thinner rib scrapings and the flat connective muscles from the hindquarters and shoulders works very well but it’s possible to make jerky from any cut of meat that you can slice thinly. Slice your meat into thin strips, try to remove as much fat as possible. A thin very sharp knife is highly beneficial for this step – if you’re looking for suggestions I love my current knife.
- Once you have your meat sliced it’s time to add some marinade. Marinades are highly personal and I suggest experimenting a little bit to find out what your family likes. Some people enjoy very hot and spicy jerky while others prefer a sweeter or more smokey flavor. If you’re pressed for time you can also cheat and use marinades in a bag (they work great and come in a variety of flavors. I have also found that most people enjoy a mixture of 2/3 Dales to 1/3 liquid smoke. Marinade your meat in the fridge for at least 24 hours.
- Preheat your oven to its lowest possible setting (170 degrees for mine) and arrange your oven racks so that there is room for your jerky to hang vertically between two racks. Place some tin foil or baking sheets on the bottom rack to catch any drippings from your jerky.
- Slide a toothpick through one end of each slice of meat and use the toothpick to hang your jerky across the oven rack. A lot of people like to bake their jerky on flat pans much like you do in a dehydrator but I find this tends to make it very hard and it takes longer for it to dry out properly since it’s sitting in the drippings.
- Allow the jerky to bake for a couple of hours, depending on your oven this step can take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours. I highly suggest starting this process early in the morning just in case it takes a bit longer than you expect. Check your jerky for doneness every hour or so – the jerky should feel dry to the touch and when pulled apart the meat should be thoroughly dried through and cooked. If you like hard crunchy jerky let it cook a bit longer, if you like more tender softer jerky pull it out sooner.
- Label and bag your jerky. If you have a vacuum sealer jerky can be stored for 1-2 months in the pantry and 4+ months in the fridge. Honestly, in our house, we are lucky if jerky makes it past a week without being eaten, however, it can be bagged and stored in the pantry for 1-2 weeks without a problem and one month in the fridge!