For most people around the United States, hunting season is over, freezers are full and a lot of people have turned their focus on ice fishing. This is the time of year I start making all sorts of smoked sausages along with one of my favorite things to make with venison....JERKY.
Anyone can do this and with pretty much any cut of meat. I like to use the shoulders as they are generally a little tougher but the top round and bottom round steaks from the hind quarter work good to.
Start by cutting the meat into 1/4 inch thick pieces, flatten with a meat hammer until they are about 1/8th inch thick. Mix all the marinade ingredients and soak the meat overnight at a minimum, a day or two in the marinade does not hurt anything.
I use a cheap dehydrator that you can pick up at any department store for about $15, the round one with 5 trays holds about 3lbs of fresh Meat which ends up being about 1lb when done. I like to take the meat pieces out of the marinade and with my fingers I squeeze the excess marinade out and also flatten the meat so it is uniform which will help it dry evenly.
Arrange the meat on the trays and mark one tray so you can rotate them about once every hour, as the pieces get dryer you can start to take them out and consolidate the trays until they are all done, it is a matter of personal preference but generally they are done when you can bend the piece of meat and it will form white stringy threads but it won't "snap"
Venison jerky is always a hit and a great snack to bring on the ice.
Venison Jerky Recipe
1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup Worchester sauce
1 cup teriyaki or mesquite marinade
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup liquid smoke
¼ to ½ cup minced garlic
2 tbs molasses
2 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp seasoning salt
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp ground black pepper
Morton tender quick as directed – optional
Any cut of meat will work but I like to use the top round and bottom round from the hind quarter, the front shoulder also has some good meat to use but is generally used for grind instead. Cut the meat into ¼ inch thick pieces, use a meat hammer to gently pound them evenly flat so they dry uniformly. Mix all ingredients together and marinate overnight. Lightly squeeze the excess marinade from the meat and place on dehydrator racks. 3lbs of fresh meat will yield about 1 pound of finished jerky. Rotate the racks throughout the drying process and remove the jerky when it is firm but not brittle, you should see white fibers as you bend it in half which means it is perfectly dried.