The usual way to make jerky, and the way I have done it in the past, is to use a food dehydrator. Unfortunately, I threw mine out when I was moving, so for this recipe I had to use the oven.
Ingredients list for 1lb of venison:
- 4 tablespoons of soy souse
- 4 tablespoons of Worcestershire souse
- 1 tablespoon of ketchup
- 1/4 tablespoon of garlic powder
- 1/4 tablespoon of onion powder
- 1/4 tablespoon of crushed black pepper
- 1/2 tablespoon of salt
The first step in making the jerky is to remove all of the fat and connective tissue from the meat. For me this was the most time consuming part as I am not a good butcher. It is however an extremely important part to do right because otherwise the dehydration will not work well – fat does not dehydrate.
Once the meat is cleaned up, slice it into 1/8 inch thick pieces. This is of course easier said than done, especially when you are working with less than ideal cuts. I like to start with the top of the piece of meat, and then keep cutting around like unrolling a roll of toilet paper. That should give you a good size thin piece of meat that you can then cut into strips. If you end up with any thick sections, use the back of the knife to flatten them out.
When the meat is prepared, put it in a large Ziploc bag or a container together with the above ingredients. Make sure to mix well. Leave the meat to marinate in the mixture overnight.
The next day remove the meat from the marinate, drain any liquid that is till on the meat, and place the strips on a baking sheet. Do not overlap any of the pieces. Ideally you would be able to use a rack of some sort for this step, but a baking sheet or pan will work fine as long as you don’t have any liquid (marinate) dripping form the meat or fat that has been left over. At this stage I also added some extra salt to the surface of the meat. Only do that if you like your jerky salty.
Preheat the oven to 170F (77C) and put the soon to be jerky inside. Keep it in the oven for about seven hours. It’s a process that will take a good part of your day. The jerky should be ready within six to eight hours. Since you are not using a rack, for the last hour you may want to flit the pieces of meat around so that both sides dry completely.
And then you should end up with some nice jerky. This past weekend I did about two and a half pound of venison, which from the looks of it is not going to last us very long.