Ground Venison Jerky Recipe: A Step-by-Step Guide for Homemade Snacks

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Ground venison jerky is a delicious and healthy snack that’s gaining popularity among both avid hunters and those who simply love a good piece of jerky. Making jerky from ground venison offers a leaner alternative to traditional beef jerky, without sacrificing flavor. Venison, the meat from deer, is appreciated for its lower fat content and is a great choice for those who enjoy homemade jerky with a rich, gamey taste.

Making jerky at home allows snack enthusiasts to control the ingredients and customize the flavor to their liking. Ground venison is seasoned and dried until it becomes a chewy, flavorful snack food. One of the benefits of using ground meat is that it can be more easily shaped and can be used with a jerky gun, eliminating the need for slicing meat into strips. The process is relatively simple and can be accomplished with standard kitchen equipment like a dehydrator or an oven.

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Ingredients and Substitutions

Creating the perfect batch of ground venison jerky involves choosing the right meat and balancing flavors with a variety of seasonings and liquids. Substituting some ingredients can tailor the jerky to personal tastes or make use of what’s available.

Venison Selection

Lean ground venison is the foundation for jerky, typically from the top round or eye of round cuts known for their leanness. If the venison is too lean, a small amount of fat can be added to improve the texture.

Seasonings and Flavorings

The flavor profile of jerky largely depends on the use of seasonings and spices. Essentials include salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. To enhance the taste, consider adding brown sugar or paprika. For heat, include red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper.

Garlic PowderMinced garlic or garlic salt
Onion PowderMinced onion or onion salt
SaltSea salt, canning salt, or table salt
SugarBrown sugar, honey, or maple syrup

For intense flavors and to preserve the jerky, pink curing salt could be used instead of regular salt, and ground mace or nutmeg for a subtle background note.

Liquid Ingredients

Liquids in jerky marinate serve as both flavor infusers and tenderizers. Popular options are soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and liquid smoke. Those looking for a kick might choose hot sauce, while others may prefer the depth from red wine or whisky.

  • Soy Sauce: Can be replaced with tamari or coconut aminos for a gluten-free option.
  • Liquid Smoke: For a more natural smokiness, actual smoke from wood chips during the drying process.

Ingredient Measurements and Alternatives

Accurate measurements ensure a balance of flavors. Start with small amounts of stronger spices like curing salt and cayenne pepper and adjust according to taste and preference.

  • Spicy: Increase cayenne pepper or add hot sauce.
  • Sweet: More brown sugar or a splash of honey can sweeten things up.
  • Savory: A pinch more garlic or onion powder, mustard or ground coriander for complexity.

Substitutions offer flexibility in the recipe, allowing for a customized jerky experience based on what’s available or desired. It’s important to taste and adjust as the venison marinates.

Equipment and Preparation

Crafting delicious ground venison jerky begins with gathering the correct tools and preparing the meat properly. The right equipment and technique are crucial for transforming lean venison into a tasty, protein-rich snack.

Required Tools

To make ground venison jerky, one will need several essential tools:

  • Jerky gun or caulking gun: For shaping the ground meat into strips.
  • Food dehydrator or oven: To dry the meat effectively.
  • Mixing bowl: Preferably a glass bowl for mixing venison with seasonings and liquids.
  • Baking sheets: If using an oven, lined with paper towels for absorbing excess fat.
  • Plastic wrap: For covering seasoned meat during the marination process.

Preparing the Meat

The preparation begins with selecting a lean cut of ground venison. Fat content should be minimal, as too much fat can cause the jerky to spoil faster. One should wrap the venison in plastic wrap and then:

  1. Marinate: Combine venison with liquid smoke, teriyaki, and other seasonings.
  2. Cure: Add a curing salt to ensure the finished product is safe to consume.
  3. Refrigerate: Allow the meat to sit in the marinade in the refrigerator. Prep time varies, but a few hours to overnight is typical.

Jerky-Making Techniques

After marinating, the meat is ready to be formed and dried:

  • Forming strips: Use the jerky gun to extrude thin strips of seasoned ground meat onto baking sheets or dehydrator trays.
  • Drying process: Whether using a dehydrator or an oven, follow the device’s instructions for the correct drying time and temperature to ensure it’s done safely.
  • Storage: Once dried, cool the jerky to room temperature and store it in an airtight container to preserve freshness.

Using these tools and techniques, one can create a batch of savory ground venison jerky to enjoy as a nourishing homemade snack.

The Jerky Making Process

Making ground venison jerky involves careful preparation of the meat, adding a blend of seasonings and cure, and slow drying to create a flavorful, shelf-stable snack. This section breaks down the three key stages of the process.

Seasoning and Curing

For ground venison jerky, combining the right seasonings is essential to achieving a robust flavor profile. Ingredients typically include garlic powder, onion powder, and red pepper flakes for heat. An important component is curing salt, often referred to as Instacure No. 1, which contains a mixture of salt and sodium nitrite that ensures the jerky is safe to eat by preventing the growth of bacteria.

Ingredients for the cure often include:

  • 1 teaspoon of curing salt
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper

Marinating and Flavor Development

The next step is to marinate the ground venison, allowing it to absorb flavors deeply. Liquid ingredients like soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce are common, creating a complex base for the marinade. For a subtle sweetness and depth, some recipes suggest adding red wine or whisky to the mix. The marinating process can take several hours or up to a full day, depending on the recipe.

A basic marinade mixture may include:

  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons of whisky or red wine

Drying and Dehydrating

The final phase is the drying process. Ground venison jerky can be dried in an oven, food dehydrator, or smoker at a low temperature to ensure the meat dries evenly without cooking. The optimal temperature is around 160°F, as this is sufficient to dry the jerky while also eliminating harmful pathogens. The drying time varies, but it usually takes several hours for jerky to reach the proper consistency. Once dry, the jerky should be stored in an airtight container to maintain freshness.

The drying setup:

  • Set the temperature to 160°F
  • Dry the jerky for 4-6 hours, checking periodically

By following these steps, one can create delicious, homemade ground venison jerky with a balanced flavor profile and the perfect chewy texture.

Storage and Preservation

When properly stored, ground venison jerky can last a long time and retain its flavor and safety. The key is to use the right preservation methods and storage conditions to ensure longevity and freshness.

Longevity and Shelf Life

Ground venison jerky, when prepared with a cure and completed through the drying process, has an impressive shelf life. Before refrigeration, jerky can be safely consumed if kept in an airtight container for 1 to 2 months. For prolonged storage, place the jerky in the refrigerator to extend its edibility, where it can last for 2 to 3 months. The protein in the venison is preserved due to the removal of moisture and the presence of salt from the curing process.

Tips for Keeping Jerky Fresh

For optimal storage of ground venison jerky, follow these guidelines:

  • Keep jerky in airtight containers: Limit exposure to air to prevent spoilage.
  • Refrigerate: Always store jerky in the refrigerator if you’re not planning to consume it within two weeks.
  • Use desiccants: Include food-grade moisture absorbers to keep the jerky dry if you live in a humid climate.
  • Monitor frequently: Check on your jerky periodically to ensure it’s still in good condition.

Using these methods, individuals can maintain the safety and taste of their jerky, ensuring that this high-protein snack remains delicious and safe to consume over time.

Nutritional Information

When making ground venison jerky, one can expect a snack that’s both high in protein and relatively low in fat. A typical serving of ground venison jerky contains around 80 to 100 calories. Venison, the meat of deer, is known for being lean, making it a healthier alternative to beef jerky.

Venison jerky serves up a good amount of protein, which is important for building muscles and keeping the body strong. Each serving can offer about 15 to 20 grams of protein, which is a considerable amount for such a small snack.

Regarding fat content, venison jerky tends to be on the lighter side. Each serving may contain 1 to 3 grams of fat, depending on the recipe and cooking method. This can be greatly beneficial for those monitoring their fat intake.

Ground venison jerky is not only tasty but also qualifies as a healthy snack. The nutritional information always depends on the added ingredients, but pure venison is naturally rich in nutrients and low in unhealthy fats. This makes it an excellent choice for a quick energy boost or a satisfying, protein-packed treat.

It’s important to note that additional ingredients like brown sugar or soy sauce will alter the calorie and sodium content. For those watching their sugar intake, these additions should be used sparingly or looked for in low-sugar or low-sodium alternatives.

Serving Suggestions

When it comes to enjoying homemade ground venison jerky, there are several delightful ways to serve it. This healthy snack is not only tasty but also packed with protein, making it an ideal choice for various occasions.

  • On the Go: For individuals who love hiking or are frequently on road trips, venison jerky is a convenient snack. It’s lightweight, doesn’t need refrigeration, and can give you a quick energy boost.
  • Lunch Boxes: A few pieces of jerky add a flavorful and satisfying touch to any school or work lunch. Pair it with some nuts and fruits for a balanced, nutritious meal.
  • As an Appetizer: If you’re entertaining, serve it as a starter. You can cut the jerky into bite-sized pieces and present them on a cheeseboard with some crackers, cheeses, and pickles.
  • During Hunting Trips: For hunters heading into the woods, venison jerky is a natural fit. It’s easy to pack and is a rewarding way to enjoy the fruits of one’s labors after a successful hunt.

Here is a simple table to illustrate the suggested pairings:

Snack TypePairing Suggestion
Hiking/TravelNuts and dried fruits
Lunch BoxesCheese cubes and whole grain crackers
AppetizerCheeseboard with pickles and olives
Hunting TripsTrail mix with chocolate pieces and seeds

Remember, the key to enjoying jerky is moderation, as it is typically quite high in sodium. One should enjoy these tasty strips as part of a diverse diet to keep snacks both interesting and health-conscious.


Making ground venison jerky at home is a process that anyone can master with practice. The recipe offers a different twist to traditional jerky, using ground meat instead of sliced. The result is a rich, flavorful snack that is both lean and satisfying.

For those interested in exploring homemade jerky, ground venison is an excellent choice. It’s a lean source of protein that lends itself well to various seasonings and spices, creating a unique addition to any cuisine. With a recipe that includes the right balance of ingredients, one can achieve a golden ground meat jerky that rivals store-bought versions.

It is important to highlight that safety should always be a priority. Adding curing salt helps prevent bacteria growth, and ensuring proper dehydration is crucial for shelf stability. By following guidelines carefully, they can make jerky with confidence, knowing it’s safe and delicious to eat.

To sum it up, this ground venison jerky recipe is an excellent starting point for those looking to make their own homemade jerky. It provides a savory treat that is made to suit personal taste preferences, and can be a rewarding experience for novice and seasoned cooks alike.

Ground Venison Jerky Recipe

Ground Venison Jerky Recipe

Experience the unique and delicious flavor of homemade Ground Venison Jerky. This recipe is a great way to utilize ground venison, creating a tender and flavorful jerky that’s perfect as a protein-rich snack. With a mix of savory spices and a hint of sweetness, this jerky is sure to be a hit among game meat enthusiasts.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 30 minutes
Course Snack
Cuisine jerky
Servings 8 servings
Calories 140 kcal


  • 2 lbs ground venison
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional


  • Mix Ingredients: In a large bowl, combine ground venison with soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Mix thoroughly.
  • Marinate: Cover and refrigerate the mixture for at least 2 hours, or overnight for more intense flavor.
  • Prepare Jerky Gun or Rolling Pin: If using a jerky gun, fill it with the venison mixture. If using a rolling pin, roll the mixture between two sheets of wax paper to your desired thickness.
  • Shape Jerky: Extrude or cut the venison into strips or desired shapes.
  • Dehydrator Setup: Place the venison strips on dehydrator trays, leaving space between them for air circulation.
  • Dehydrate: Dehydrate at 160°F (71°C) for 4 to 6 hours, or until the jerky is dry and firm.
  • Cool and Store: Allow the jerky to cool before storing in an airtight container.
Keyword deer, dehydrated, jerky, meat, venison
User Review
5 (1 vote)