By Scott Leysath
The next time you pony up $10 at the convenience store for a small bag of jerky, consider how much money you could save by making your own out of harvested ducks and geese. Creating delicious jerky out of wild game is not only inexpensive, it’s also quite simple. You don’t need special equipment or skills. And best of all, homemade jerky can be prepared exactly the way you like it.
Our pioneer forefathers learned the basics of making jerky from Native Americans, who had figured out that you could dry almost any hunk of wild game and make it taste pretty good. Just slice the meat thinly, rub it with some salt, and slap it in an oven or smoker for a few hours and you have jerky.
Although jerky isn’t difficult to make, a few basic sanitary practices should always be followed. Never let raw meat come in contact with dried jerky. And keep your hands as well as all utensils, cutting boards, and work surfaces clean and sanitized.
Jerky can be made in a smoker, dehydrator, or oven. When using an oven, crack the door about half an inch to allow moisture to escape. Keep the temperature between 145°F and 160°F. Rub or marinate the sliced duck or goose breast fillets and refrigerate them for 12 to 24 hours. Next place the breast fillets on a rack, positioning a pan underneath them to catch any drippings. Test for dryness after about 3 hours. Understand, however, that drying may take as long as 12 hours, depending on how thinly the meat is sliced. Let the jerky cool at room temperature, and then allow it to air-dry for a day or two on dry towels before storing it in resealable plastic bags or glass jars in the refrigerator.
Basic Jerky Dry Rub
This simple rub is a good way to start your first batch of jerky. It’s a little sweet, a little spicy—and very tasty. Makes enough for about 4 cups of duck or goose breast strips.
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
Combine all ingredients. Coat the meat slices on both sides, place in a resealable plastic bag, and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours before drying in the oven.
This spicy marinade will turn dark-fleshed divers, sea ducks, and geese into tasty jerky. Makes enough for about 4 cups of duck or goose breast strips.
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Combine all the marinade ingredients. Place the meat and marinade in a resealable plastic bag and store for 12 to 24 hours in the refrigerator. Remove the meat from the marinade and allow it to air-dry on a rack for 1 hour before placing it in the oven.