Smoked Venison JerkySteven Raichlen
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
- Yield: Makes 1 pound, serves 4
- Equipment: Apple, cherry, or your favorite hardwood
- 2 pounds venison
- 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
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.
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