Ground Venison Jerky
Use up all of last year's venison by making a few batches of ground venison jerky. It's a great way to clear out your freezer, while creating an excellent snack to munch on.
You can use a commercial jerky seasoning mix, or make your own. It's not difficult to mix up a ground deer jerky recipe from scratch.
How To Make Ground Venison Jerky
To make a batch of ground venison jerky, there are several steps to work through.
- Buy a seasoning mix or make your own
- Mix the ingredients with the meat, following recipe instructions
- Allow the meat to rest and "cure"
- Form the ground venison into your preferred shape
- Dehydrate the jerky
The Jerky Seasoning Mix
If you are buying a ready-made seasoning mix, just follow the package instructions. If you'd like to make your own, you can use the recipes on this site. Salt, Morton® Tender Quick® Meat Cure, sugar, spices, herbs, and various liquids are all used in making ground jerky.
For salt, canning salt is ideal since it contains no additives that can impart off flavors. Try not to use regular table salt since it can add a metallic taste and off flavors to the jerky. Table salt contains anti-caking compounds, and the iodized variety contains iodide. Canning salt is pure salt with no additives.
Tender Quick® is a curing mix that contains sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite, along with sugar and pure salt. This is potent stuff, so it is used in small amounts. Its purpose is to inhibit bacterial growth during the low temperature drying process.
Combining The Ground Jerky Ingredients
Most deer jerky recipes call for combining the salt and Tender Quick® with the ground meat first.
Spread the ground venison out evenly in a flat pan, and sprinkle the salt mixture on its surface. With your hands, knead the salt into the meat, then press the meat down evenly into the pan, cover it, and put it in the refrigerator.
The ground meat needs to cure for two or three days in the fridge. Mix the meat thoroughly two times a day as it is curing.
When the ground venison is mixed for the last time, add the remaining ingredients. Make sure that the seasonings are mixed together well before adding them to the meat. Allow the soon-to-be ground venison jerky to sit a few more hours before forming it to dry.
Forming The Ground Meat Jerky
With a jerky gun, the jerky mixture can be easily formed into a flat strip. Form it right onto the dehydrator tray, or onto a cookie sheet if drying it in the oven. It can even be formed onto the grate of your smoker.
If you don't have a jerky shooter, you can form it into rounds with your hands. Wet your hands with cold water right before you start forming each piece, and the meat won't stick. One-half inch in diameter is perfect for snack sticks.
An alternative is to roll the meat into balls, then one at a time, take a rolling pin and flatten them to 1/4 inch thick between pieces of waxed paper. Place the formed ground jerky in your drying apparatus, and you're ready to dehydrate!
Drying The Ground Deer Jerky
Dry the ground venison jerky in an oven, a dehydrator, or a smoker. It can be dried in a flat pan or on a rack in the oven or the smoker. Spray on a little vegetable oil to prevent sticking. To make cleanup easier, you can dry the jerky on aluminum foil, tossing it out when the jerky's done.
In a dehydrator, rotate the racks every hour until the ground venison jerky is dry. (Some dehydrators don't require tray rotation. Follow the manufacturers directions) Figure on four to eight hours to complete. In the oven, set the temperature to 170-200 degrees Fahrenheit. Leave the door cracked open to allow the moisture to escape.
When using a smoker, use mild flavored wood, and don't over-smoke the meat. It can easily become bitter if smoked too heavily. The ideal smoking temperature is between 170 and 200 degrees.
Recipes For Ground Meat Jerky
Now it's time to try your hand at making a batch of ground venison jerky. This Wooster 'n Onion recipe is very tasty. There are several other good recipes to be found in the Ground Deer Jerky Recipe Collection.
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