Venison (or Goose) Jerky

Clean out the freezer of last year’s venison by making some jerky to snack on during this hunting season.  Jerky is really quite easy to make, yet it takes some time and reliable, science-based recipes must be followed.  One reason to use last year’s deer from your freezer for making jerky is because game meat should be frozen at 5 degrees Fahrenheit or below for at least 20 days to kill the Trichinella parasite that causes the disease, trichinosis. Other reasons could be proper rotation of your freezer space, defrosting your freezer before restocking it with this year’s quarry, and just because jerky tastes great!

Preparing Goose or Venison to Make Jerky
Take about 2 pounds of meat out of the freezer, choosing a cut that will slice well, such as steaks, chops or roasts. Place the meat in the refrigerator to defrost. Partially frozen meat is easier to slice. Do not defrost the meat at room temperature because this will allow bacteria to multiply and potentially cause an unsafe product.

Trim fat from the meat and slice the meat into slices no thicker than 1/4 inch. Slice with the grain if a chewy jerky is desired and across the grain if a more brittle, tender jerky is preferred.

Marinade Ingredients
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
dash of pepper
dash of garlic powder
dash of onion powder
1 teaspoon hickory smoke flavored salt (or regular salt if you can’t find this).

Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a shallow glass or ceramic (not metal) pan and place meat in the pan, being sure to coat all of the pieces with the marinade.

Cover and refrigerate the marinating meat for 1-2 hours or overnight (the jerky will taste saltier the longer it is marinated).

Remove the pan from the refrigerator and place meat along with the marinade in a skillet or pan and place on the stove over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Boil the mixture for 5 minutes (this will kill any bacteria by reaching 160 degrees Fahrenheit). Remove the strips of meat and place to drain on clean absorbent towels.

Arrange the meat strips on dehydrator trays with the meat close together but not touching.  If you are dehydrating in an oven, place the meat on metal racks that are placed on cooking sheets to catch the drippings.  Place the racks in a dehydrator or convection oven preheated to 140-145 degrees.  For more information on using a dehydrator, convection or regular oven to dehydrate food see the Drying Food in NYS publication from Cornell Cooperative Extension. Begin checking the meat after about 3 hours to see if it is dry. It should crack, but not break when bent.

For more information see “Preparing Safer Jerky” from Cooperative Extension found here.

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