Newsletter Up In Smoke

Get Raichlen's Burgers! plus weekly recipes and tips straight from Steven Raichlen!


Game Meats

Smoked Venison Jerky

Jerky requires lean meat (fat hastens spoilage), and venison meets that admirably, delivering a superrich beefy taste. If venison isn’t available, use bison or lean beef instead.


Smoked Venison Jerky

Recipe Notes

  • Yield: Makes 1 pound, serves 4
  • Equipment: Apple, cherry, or your favorite hardwood


  • 2 pounds venison

Jerky Marinade

  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup cola, beer, or cold-brewed coffee
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar (light or dark—your choice)
  • 2 tablespoons Prague Powder #1
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons hot sauce, such as sriracha or Frank's Redhot
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed with the side of a knife or cleaver

Recipe Steps

Step 1: Partially freeze the meat, 30 to 60 minutes. (This facilitates slicing.) Trim off any fat or silverskin, then cut the meat against the grain into 1/4-inch-thick slices using a sharp knife. Or, ask your butcher to do this for you on a meat slicer.

Step 2: Place the meat in a large resealable plastic bag. Add the Jerky Marinade, seal the bad then massage the bag to make sure each strip of meat is coated. Place the bag in a mixing bowl (to contain any potential leaks), and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 24—the longer, the richer the flavor. Turn the bag every few hours to ensure the meat marinates evenly.

Step 3: When ready to cook, drain the meat in a colander, discarding the marinade. Arrange the meat slices on a wire rack over a sheet pan and blot dry with paper towels.

Step 4: Set up your smoker according to the manufacturer’s directions and preheat to 200° F. Add the wood as specified by the manufacturer. Lightly oil the smoker racks. Arrange the meat strips in a single layer on the racks. Smoke until the jerky is dry, but still somewhat pliant, 3 to 4 hours. Transfer to a wire rack to cool to room temperature, then place the jerky in a sealed container or resealable plastic bag. The jerky will keep for at least 1 week in the refrigerator.

Find This Recipe

And More

Barbecue Sauces, Rubs, and Marinades—Bastes, Butters & Glazes, Too

Barbecue sauces, rubs, and marinades are every griller’s secret weapon—the flavor boosters that give grilled food its character, personality, depth, …

Buy Now ‣