Stop Looking: This is the Best Venison Jerky Recipe

Best venison jerky recipeThe world has you convinced that venison jerky needs to be a gristly jawbreaker of edible cardboard. That the best venison jerky recipes must involve a smoker you’ll use once a year, a dehydrator in pieces somewhere in the basement or an impossible-to-clean oven rack. That unless you nick your thumb with a knife while filleting venison down to the width of a toothpick, you’re doing it wrong.

No, friends, the world is wrong.

The following is what I believe to be the absolute best venison jerky recipe. You might call it “nugget-style venison jerky” or “steak-style venison jerky.” Ever since this photo of venison jerky in the oven went viral on Facebook, I’m calling it “Living Ready style venison jerky.”

Best Venison Jerky Recipe: Prep the Cuts

Use a sharp knife to cut chunks of venison about the size of your index finger. There isn’t an exact science, but do keep the cuts under a half-inch thick. The cuts don’t need to be uniform, but it helps.

Best Venison Jerky Recipe: Salt Soak

Place the venison cuts in salted water for 24 hours to draw out the blood. This step is easy to overlook, but it keeps the jerky tender.

Best Venison Jerky Recipe: Find the Cure

Buy a bag of commercial curing mix, available at sporting goods stores (it looks like regular salt). It’s important the mix contains either sodium nitrite or sodium nitrate. It can be pre-seasoned or unseasoned. If it’s unseasoned, buy a dry rub to combine with the cure.

Don’t like sodium nitrite/nitrate? You’re not going to have much luck with this venison jerky recipe. These agents of preservation mean the difference between tender, flavorful jerky and dry steak chunks as appetizing as poker chips.

Best Venison Jerky Recipe: Making Magic

Remove the venison cuts from the salt soak. Place them in a sealable, plastic freezer bag and mix in the cure (including dry seasonings). Coat the cuts, seal the bags and let it all sit in the fridge for 24 hours. Behold the power of chemistry in action as the venison transforms from mere meat to pre-dried jerky.

How to Make Venison Jerky in the OvenBest Venison Jerky Recipe: Head to the Oven

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Place the venison cuts on a pizza pan with holes in the bottom or on a wire rack over a cookie sheet. The idea is to allow airflow underneath the pieces.

Best Venison Jerky Recipe: Wait 5 Hours

Cook the venison cuts in the oven at 200 for five hours. Flip each piece at the 2.5-hour mark.

Best Venison Jerky Recipe: Eat Up

Have a bite after the jerky completely cools. You’ll understand why this is the best venison jerky recipe of all time.

Vacuum Seal Venison JerkyBecause this jerky is larger and softer, it’s much more versatile than the standard strips. Here are some possible uses:

  • Sandwich meat (especially Reubens)
  • Filling in wraps
  • Chopped into stews
  • And, of course, eating as-is

Don’t forget to vacuum seal the venison jerky for the longest shelf life.

Recommended Venison Recipe Resources

Best venison recipes DVDDon’t miss more of the best venison recipes from these resources at the Living Ready Store:

2 thoughts on “Stop Looking: This is the Best Venison Jerky Recipe

  1. Norske

    I can’t believe I wasted my time reading that. That is a recipe? Soak in salt water and add store bought cure? Oh goodness, you are missing everything here.

    First off, the nitrate additives are not the solution to avoiding dry jerky. Keep the cancer causing nitrates on the store shelf. Instead use a dehydrator with a fan and temperature control to keep the meat from getting too dry. It’s way better than the oven. The pioneers of America cured their meat with plain old salt and so can you. If you are storing it for a long time, double bag it and toss it in the freezer.
    Also, start playing with natural flavors to spice up your jerky. The “perfect” recipe is one you have customized to your own tastes. So try black pepper, herbs, soy sauce, or red wine in that bag while it is soaking. You’ll be surprised at the variety of jerky tastes you can achieve.

    Not cutting it too thin is a good recommendation though. You’re right in saying it doesn’t have to be toothpick thin. As you cut it thicker, try slicing or pocking some holes into the junks though to make the cure soak in faster and better and to get more even drying.