Jerky 101


An investment in a quality food dehydrator will pay for itself after only a few years of passing on the convenience store jerky and/or not paying the premium at your deer butcher.

We all love beef jerky, but commercial jerky costs up to $6 for a 3-oz. pack -that’s $32 per lb.! As soon as you open the bag it seems to disappear. Turning your deer into jerky is an economical way to process your animal and creates a long lasting supply of jerky that will be enjoyed even by folks who do not normally like eating venison. Enjoy all the jerky you can eat for far less money by doing it yourself.

You can make jerky in your oven at home, but it is more difficult than using a dehydrator and the quality is not as good. Ovens are made for cooking, not drying. You’ll spend far more money heating a bigoven than you will running a dehydrator and you can manufacture so much more in one batch that it seems like much less work to make a batch. Additionally, the clean-up is easier and you won’t overheat the house.

Purchasing a decent dehydrator like an Excalibur makes it more likely that you will actually get the jerky made every year. If you are considering making jerky at home, do yourself a favor and buy a dehydrator, although these units will cost a few hundred bucks, you will be more likely to make jerky –and make far better jerky with a dehydrator. The investment will pay for itself after a few years of passing on the convenience store jerky and not paying the premium with your deer butcher.

Easy Venison Jerky

6-8 Lbs. Venison

1 T. garlic power

2 T. liquid smoke

1-2 quarts soy sauce

1 T. onion powder

1-2 tsp. tobasco sauce

Mix all ingredients together. Cut meat into 3/16” thick strips. Marinate in seasoning mixture for at least 12 hours.  Dry at 155 in the Excalibur Dehydrator for 5 -6 hours or until dry.

Photo: New York magazine (top)