Most folks think that they can’t make jerky unless they have a dehydrator or smoker. Not so. Any oven will work just fine. Although making jerky can be a tester for those who lack basic knife skills, it’s well worth the savings when compared to store-bought jerky, and you can make it exactly the way you want it — salty, spicy, sweet, it’s your call.
Here’s a basic recipe for making oven jerky. It should be used as an outline. Add other ingredients to create your own signature jerky. Some prefer to add liquid smoke for flavor. If you are so inclined, use it sparingly. A little liquid smoke goes a long way.
As long as you’re making jerky, it’s best to make a large batch. Package in freezer-safe zipper-lock bags, or better, vacuum-pack them for longer storage. When cooled and packaged, they can be stored in the freezer for a year or more.
Kinda Spicy Oven Venison Jerky
- 2 pounds trimmed venison
- 1 teaspoon coarse-ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup hot sauce
- pan spray
- Slice venison across the grain into 1/4-inch thick strips. For a chewier jerky, slice along the grain. Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl, blend well, add sliced jerky and toss to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours, turning occasionally.
- Remove jerky, and shake off excess marinade. Place a wire rack on top of a baking sheet, and lightly coat rack with pan spray. Lay meat out flat on rack, and place in a 160-degree oven. Oven door should be cracked open about 1/4 to 3/4 inch to allow moisture to escape. If your oven does not have a catch that will keep it cracked open, place a small foil ball between the door and the oven.
- Flip meat over after about three hours. Place back in the oven, and continue drying. Making jerky isn't an exact science, although there are those who try to make it one. Check the meat again in another 3 hours. Remove the pieces that are thoroughly dried, and continue drying those that are not. Note that the meat should still be a little flexible and not crispy. It will firm up when cooled.
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