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A Chef’s Guide: How to Make Venison Jerky

by Hank Shaw   |  April 22nd, 2013 0

Jerky is the ultimate travel food. I eat it whenever I’m out in the woods or on the water, driving across the country or hunkering down in a duck blind. And while you can make venison jerky from pretty much anything, venison is the ideal jerky meat—it’s wonderfully lean and loaded with protein. Venison also works great because you can use a big hind leg roast—a perfect candidate for slicing thin, curing and drying—and you get bigger slices that are easier to eat.

There are as many ways to make jerky as there are people who make it. What follows is my personal process for making traditional jerky from whole cuts of venison, not the reconstituted jerky you make with a modified caulking gun. That stuff can be pretty good, but it still kinda freaks me out.

Traditional jerky is both an art and a science. The art is in the flavorings, the cut of meat and how you dry it. The science comes in when you’re dealing with salt, acid, temperature and time. It really isn’t terribly difficult, as long as you follow these guidelines.

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