Its small, packable size makes jerky a staple for the outdoorsman, whether it’s a hunter sitting in a tree stand, a hiker who needs a little snack at the top of a mountain, or a fisherman trolling for salmon. The chewiness and intensity of jerky satisfies the appetite in just a few short bites.
Servings: 5 pounds jerky
6 pounds venison leg meat or flank steaks
1 cup sorghum syrup
1 1/2 cups soy sauce
1 tablespoon liquid smoke
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons finely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
- Holding a knife blade at a 45-degree angle and slicing diagonally to make a “tranche” cut (as you would slice a side of smoked salmon, but at a much less exaggerated angle), cut the meat against the grain into 1/4-inch strips.
- Whisk the marinade ingredients until well combined, making sure the sorghum is fully dissolved and does not sink to the bottom of the bowl. Pour about a quarter of it into a square-sided nonreactive container (a Pyrex casserole dish works well). Layer the slices of meat in evenly, pouring more marinade over as needed to coat all pieces equally. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
- Remove slices of meat from container and layer them between paper towels to remove excess marinade. Turn oven to lowest setting. Lay the slices on lightly oiled baking racks, leaving a little space between all pieces so the jerky dries evenly.
- Place the baking racks directly on the oven racks without cookie sheets or anything to block the air and heat from circulating around the oven. You can place a few sheets of aluminum foil on the bottom of the oven to catch any drips.
- Leave the oven door cracked open throughout the drying process, which will take up to 8 hours. Halfway through, check the progress, flipping the slices of meat and rotating the racks. The jerky is done when it is still slightly pliable — not so dry as to be crisp and breakable.
- Let the jerky rest at room temperature to let the moisture left inside the meat equalize with the drier outside surface, about 1 hour. Transfer to an airtight container and store in a cool, dry place. If refrigerated, the jerky will keep for up to 2 months.
Try out these venison recipes on MeatEater:
- A Rinella Recipe: Venison Blade Roast
- Steven Rinella’s Venison Osso Bucco Recipe
- A Rinella Recipe: Grilled Venison Loin