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how to make deer jerky with a food dehydrator


How to Make Deer Jerky with a Food Dehydrator


Deer jerky is a flavorful and protein-packed snack that can be enjoyed on the go or as a tasty addition to your meals. Making deer jerky at home using a food dehydrator is not only easy but also allows you to control the ingredients and customize the flavors according to your preferences. In this article, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of making delicious deer jerky using a food dehydrator.

1. Selecting the Right Cut of Deer Meat

2. Preparing the Marinade for Deer Jerky

3. Slicing and Preparing the Meat for Dehydration

4. Dehydrating the Deer Jerky to Perfection

5. Proper Storage and Enjoying Your Deer Jerky

Selecting the Right Cut of Deer Meat

When making deer jerky, it is important to choose the right cut of meat. The best cuts for jerky are lean and tender, as they will result in a more flavorful and chewy snack. Popular choices include the deer's hindquarter, backstrap, or loin. Trim away any excess fat or silver skin from the meat before proceeding.

Preparing the Marinade for Deer Jerky

The marinade plays a crucial role in enhancing the flavor of deer jerky. You can use a pre-packaged jerky marinade, but making your own allows for more customization. Combine ingredients like soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, honey, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and liquid smoke in a bowl. Adjust the flavors to your liking, adding more spices or sweetness as desired.

Slicing and Preparing the Meat for Dehydration

To ensure proper dehydration, the meat should be sliced into thin, uniform strips. Place the deer meat in the freezer for about an hour before slicing to slightly firm it up. This makes it easier to achieve even slices. Use a sharp knife to cut the meat against the grain, resulting in a more tender jerky. Aim for slices that are approximately a quarter-inch thick.

Dehydrating the Deer Jerky to Perfection

Now it's time to get that food dehydrator fired up. Line the dehydrator trays with non-stick drying sheets or lightly coat them with cooking spray to prevent the jerky from sticking. Arrange the slices of marinated deer meat on the trays, ensuring they do not overlap or touch each other. This allows for proper airflow and thorough dehydration throughout the process.

Set the dehydrator at around 160°F (71°C), as higher temperatures can cause the jerky to dry out too quickly and become brittle. Depending on the thickness of the slices and personal preference, the drying process can take anywhere between four to twelve hours. Regularly check on the jerky and rotate the trays if necessary for even drying.

Proper Storage and Enjoying Your Deer Jerky

Once the deer jerky is fully dehydrated, it's essential to store it properly to maintain its freshness. Allow the jerky to cool completely before transferring it to airtight containers, such as glass jars or resealable bags. Store the jerky in a cool, dark place away from moisture and direct sunlight.

Deer jerky can be enjoyed as a standalone snack, added to salads or sandwiches, or even used in various recipes. Its long shelf life makes it an excellent option for backpacking trips, camping, or as an emergency food supply. Remember to savor the fruits of your labor within a reasonable time frame for the best taste and quality.


Making your own deer jerky with a food dehydrator is not only a great way to utilize the bounty of a successful hunting trip but also allows you to enjoy a healthy and delicious snack. By selecting the right cut of meat, marinating it to perfection, slicing it properly, and dehydrating it with care, you can create a mouthwatering treat that will satisfy your cravings wherever you go. So, get your food dehydrator ready, follow these steps, and enjoy the delightful flavors of homemade deer jerky.


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