Smoked Venison Jerky Recipes

Real wood smoke flavor is what makes these smoked venison jerky recipes taste so good. Strips of venison, lightly caressed with the smoke of hickory, oak or alder taste better than any jerky seasoned with bottled liquid smoke.

It doesn't take a lot of wood to smoke deer jerky. In fact, the thin meat slices can be easily oversmoked, and end up tasting less than perfect. Light smoking is the rule when dehydrating venison jerky in a meat smoker.

Smoker Dried Venison

One of the secrets of making great jerky is maintaining the right temperature as it dries. Between 140 and 150 degrees Fahrenheit is perfect, but can be difficult to achieve in some types of meat smokers. Smoked Venison Jerky offers a helpful look at how meat smokers can be used to dry venison jerky while adding some great real-smoke flavor.

Preparing Venison For Jerky

Venison jerky can be made using slices of deer meat, or from ground venison burger. Tips and techniques for getting the venison ready to season for jerky can be found at the following pages...

Smoked Jerky and Food Safety

The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service recommends that red meat be heated to 160 degrees Fahrenheit before the dehydrating process is started. The page Food Safety of Jerky offers guideline for making safe-to-eat jerky.

Smoky Venison Jerky Recipes

Here are a few of my favorite smoked venison jerky recipes that I'm sure you'll enjoy trying.

  • Hickory Smoked Venison Jerky

    This recipe is about as basic as you can get. Deer meat, salt and smoke. This is all you'll need...

    3 to 4 pounds sliced venison
    1 gallon water
    3 tablespoons Tender Quick®
    1 cup salt

    Add the salt and Tender Quick® to the water and mix until completely dissolved. Add the venison and give it another quick stir. Let the meat cure in the fridge for 3 days, stirring two or three times each day. Bring your meat smoker up to temperature and lightly smoke the jerky with hickory. Dry for six to ten hours, or until perfectly dried.

  • Mesquite Magic Deer Jerky

    This is a Southwest style deer jerky. The mesquite smoke adds a lot to the spicy flavors of this one.

    5 pounds sliced deer meat
    5 teaspoons canning salt
    2 teaspoons Tender Quick®
    2 tablespoons chili powder
    2 tablespoons sugar
    2 teaspoons cumin
    2 teaspoon oregano
    1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

    Combine the dry ingredients, mixing well. Evenly coat the strips of venison with the dry seasoning, and then place it in a plastic food storage container or better yet, a large freezer bag. Keep this in the fridge for a couple of days, mixing twice daily.

    Drain the meat, then place the strips on lightly oiled smoker racks. It will take anywhere from six to ten hours to dry this jerky recipe in the smoker. Use a bit of mesquite wood for smoke as the jerky is drying, but don't use too much. Mesquite has a strong flavor...a little goes a long way, especially when smoking venison jerky.

  • Garlic Smoked Venison Jerky

    When smoking pork shoulder for pulled pork I usually toss several whole bulbs of garlic into the hot coals. The garlicky smoke produced adds a unique flavor to the pork. The technique works well for jerky, too. This one is a ground venison jerky recipe.

    5 pounds ground venison
    2 tablespoons canning salt
    2 teaspoons Tender Quick®
    1/4 cup light corn syrup
    1/2cup Worcestershire sauce
    2 tablespoons onion powder
    1 tablespoon black pepper
    1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    3 bulbs garlic

    Combine the salt and Tender Quick® with the ground venison, mixing thoroughly. Rest this mixture in the refrigerator for two days, re-mixing the meat a couple times a day. Add the rest of the ingredients before the last mixing session, mixing well. Allow the seasoned mixture another two hours of resting time before smoke-drying.

    Fire up the charcoal or wood smoker and bring it up to temperature. Lightly oil the smoker racks with cooking oil spray. Form the ground venison jerky with a shooter or rolling pin, then place onto the racks. Add an entire bulb of garlic to the hot coals at two hour intervals. Dry the jerky six hours, or until done.

Deer jerky is a great snack to munch on any time of day. With these smoked venison jerky recipes, you can make jerky that'll be sure to please.


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