venison jerky

Don’t get cute with your venison jerky recipes; stick with something proven like this one.

Most hunters love to eat the meat they have themselves hunted, and there’s no doubt that deer jerky appears near the top of the list of their favorites.

While the cuisine craze that has taken over the world of online recipes continues to influence even the most basic dishes (bacon-infused ice cream, anyone?), sometimes keeping things basic with common ingredients and avoiding extensive preparation and cooking procedures just makes sense. It’s not all about fancy venison steaks, stuffed back straps, or slow-cooked venison roasts.



After all, if you’re making something like homestyle venison jerky, you don’t want to get caught up in extreme flavors and take away from the great taste of venison or elk meat. You don’t want to waste too much prep time, and you don’t want to buy tons of specialized ingredients.

To all the passionate hunters, try this original recipe of marinated venison or elk jerky, and keep it simple with your wild game. Feel free to add more complex ingredients if you wish, but the basis of a good jerky marinade starts with these essentials. Mind you, if you follow it directly, you should still end up with one of the best jerky batches you’ve ever made.

Here’s hoping your hunting season is successful enough to provide you with plenty of elk or deer meat to make homemade jerky with.

Marinaded Venison or Elk Jerky


For every pound of venison or elk meat, you will need:

  • 4 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp. ketchup
  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 large or 2 small fresh garlic cloves, pressed or ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp. onion powder
  • ¾ tsp. kosher salt
  • optional: red pepper flakes or cayenne to taste


  • Using a sharp knife, slice your elk or venison into ¼-inch pieces. If you want softer jerky, slice meat across the grain (it helps if it is still partially frozen), or if you like chewier jerky, slice it with the grain (it will need to be totally defrosted for this). You can use ground meat as well, but will need a jerky gun.
  • In a large bowl or pan combine the marinade and pour it over the meat. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours, stirring it occasionally to make sure all the meat stays covered by the marinade. Let the meat marinate no longer than 24 hours, and
  • Drain the marinade from the meat and discard.
  • Place the jerky slices on the food dehydrator trays so that they are not touching.  Set the dehydrator to 155 degrees and dehydrate for 6-12 hours. The cook time shouldn’t vary much outside of those limits.
  • Check the jerky periodically to see that it does not get over-dried. It is done when it is completely dry yet still pliable, not crumbly.
  • The jerky should be stored securely, preferably in a sealable plastic bag, and eaten within a month if it isn’t frozen. Note that drying the jerky slightly longer keeps it better longer, but is harder to chew.

You know you can buy a bag of beef jerky any time you want, but have you ever actually looked at the nutrition facts on those things? Having a homemade deer jerky recipe is something we should all have in our back pocket.