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how to make deer jerky in a food dehydrator


Deer Jerky: A Tasty and Nutritious Snack for Outdoor Enthusiasts


Deer jerky is an incredibly delicious and nutritious snack that is easy to make at home using a food dehydrator. Whether you are a hunting enthusiast looking for a creative way to enjoy your game meat, or simply someone who appreciates flavorful, protein-packed snacks, learning how to make deer jerky is a skill worth acquiring. In this article, we will guide you through the process of making deer jerky using a food dehydrator, from selecting the right cut of meat to seasoning and drying it to perfection. So let's dive in and explore the world of deer jerky!

Selecting the Right Cut of Meat

Choosing High-Quality Venison for Perfect Jerky

The key to making mouthwatering deer jerky lies in selecting the right cut of meat. For making jerky, lean cuts like the backstrap or hindquarter are ideal. The absence of excess fat ensures a longer shelf life and prevents the jerky from spoiling quickly. When purchasing venison for jerky, make sure the meat is fresh and from a reputable source. If you are a seasoned hunter, you can use the meat from the deer you have hunted and processed yourself for an unbeatable homemade experience!

Preparing the Marinade

Enhancing Flavors with a Delectable Marinade

Marinating the venison before dehydrating it is a crucial step that infuses the meat with depth and flavor. The marinade serves the dual purpose of tenderizing and seasoning the meat. You can experiment with various flavors by using ingredients like soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, honey, garlic powder, onion powder, and a touch of heat with chili flakes. Combine the marinade ingredients in a shallow dish or a resealable plastic bag, place the venison slices inside, and ensure they are well-coated. Let the meat marinate in the refrigerator for at least 6-24 hours to soak up all the delicious flavors.

Preparing the Meat for Dehydration

Slicing and Preparing the Meat for Drying

Once the venison has marinated to perfection, it's time to prepare the meat for dehydration. Start by removing the meat from the marinade and gently patting it dry using paper towels. This step ensures that excess moisture is removed, which helps in achieving a better jerky texture. Next, slice the venison across the grain into thin, even strips. Slicing against the grain helps in tenderizing the meat and makes the jerky easier to chew. Aim for strips that are about ¼ inch thick, as they tend to dehydrate more evenly.

Dehydrating the Venison

The Art of Dehydrating Deer Jerky

Now comes the exciting part – dehydrating the venison to transform it into delicious jerky! Preheat your food dehydrator according to the manufacturer's instructions. Arrange the meat strips on the dehydrator trays, leaving some space between each strip for proper air circulation. This ensures that the venison dries uniformly. Set the dehydrator to a temperature of around 160°F (70°C) and let it work its magic for 4-6 hours. Keep in mind that drying time may vary depending on the thickness of the slices and your desired texture. Check on the jerky periodically, rotating the trays if necessary to ensure consistent drying.

Storing and Enjoying Deer Jerky

From Dehydrator to Mouth – Storing and Savoring the Jerky

Once the venison slices have dried to your desired texture, they are ready to be devoured! But before digging in, ensure that the jerky has cooled completely. This allows it to become firm and intensifies the flavors. Store the jerky in airtight containers or resealable bags to maintain its freshness and prevent moisture absorption. When properly stored, deer jerky can last for several weeks, or even a few months, without losing its taste or texture. However, it usually gets consumed long before that, as it is incredibly addictive for outdoor enthusiasts, gym-goers, or anyone looking for a healthy and satisfying snack!


Learning how to make deer jerky using a food dehydrator opens up a world of culinary possibilities. By following these simple steps, you can enjoy your own homemade deer jerky that is flavorsome, packed with protein, and free from unnecessary additives. Remember to choose high-quality venison, marinate it to enhance the flavors, slice it against the grain, dehydrate it to perfection, and store it properly to maintain its deliciousness. So, why not embark on this jerky-making adventure and impress your friends and family with your newfound culinary skills?


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