The perfect snack for all occasions, jerky is better when made at home. The process is simple, and you can eliminate all the unnecessary junk filler ingredients found in a lot of store-bought jerky. Once you start making jerky at home, the flavour combinations are only limited by your imagination. I turn stewing meat into jerky, or you could use a lean roast. Be sure to trim the fat off whatever cut of venison you choose to utilize. I usually make jerky in a dehydrator, but this recipe walks you through the steps of making it in the oven because not everyone has a dehydrator.
2 lb venison (stew meat or a lean roast)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup whiskey
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/8 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ancho pepper powder
1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
1 tsp crushed chilli pepper flakes
If using frozen venison, let thaw in the fridge. If using fresh meat, place into the freezer until semi-frozen. Meat that is partially frozen is easier to slice, so aim for that sweet spot with whatever you use. Slice the semi-frozen meat across the grain (this makes it less chewy) into pieces around 1/4-inch thick.
In a non-reactive bowl or Ziploc bag, combine all the ingredients except for the chilli pepper flakes. Place the meat into the marinade and use your hands to massage the marinade into the meat. Pop into the fridge and let marinate for a minimum of 12 hours or up to 36 hours. The more time you can provide makes the meat more tender and flavourful.
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. While the oven is preheating, remove the meat from the marinade and place onto a wire rack. Sprinkle crushed chilli pepper flakes over the meat. Set the rack of jerky on a baking sheet covered in aluminum foil to minimize the mess. Put into the oven for 15 minutes with the door closed. After the 15 minutes is up, turn the heat down to the lowest temperature setting possible, crack the oven door to allow air to circulate and continue to dry in the oven for anywhere from three to eight hours, depending on the thickness of the slices.
A simple test to determine whether the jerky is done is to take a piece and attempt to bend it. The jerky should develop cracks in it but not snap in half. It must reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
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