Deer is one of those wholesome, all-American snacks, usually eaten to use up (and preserve!) excess meat from the hunting season.
But don’t worry if you’re craving some out of deer season though, it doesn’t have to be made out of venison – you can basically make it out of whatever type of meat you have on hand. You can use everything from your neighbor’s excess deer to leftover ground beef.
We’ve compiled a list of our favorite spicy deer jerky recipes that are out there, for all you spice lovers.
Find your new favorite, easy recipe for a food you will be coming back to year after year.
Do note – it is typically easier and more time effective in these recipes to use ground venison or beef, rather than a whole cut, as a whole cut will mean that you spend ages slicing the cuts and marinating them to create strips of flavorful jerky.
If you are using ground meat, then it is far more similar to making homemade sausage, only with the additional step of putting the drying jerky in a dehydrator or oven.
Classic Sweet and Spicy Deer Jerky
- One pound of ground lean beef or venison
- Two tablespoons of soy sauce or liquid aminos
- Two tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
- Two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
- Half of a cup of brown sugar
- One tablespoon of onion powder
- One tablespoon of garlic powder
- One teaspoon of black pepper
- Two teaspoons of crushed red pepper
- Mix all of your ingredients together.
- Roll the mixture out onto a piece of paper, so that it ends up around 3/8ths of an inch thick (the same thickness as you would roll cookies to).
- Use a pizza cutter or large knife to cut the jerky into strips of an inch-wide.
- Slip the blade of your knife, or a bench scraper under each piece of jerky, and then transfer it to the tray of the dehydrator.
- Dry on the highest setting (which should be around 160 degrees) for six to eight hours, until the jerky is completely dry.
- Store in an airtight container or sealed plastic bag for up to two weeks, or in the freezer indefinitely.
Properly Peppery Spicy Deer Jerky
Two pounds of venison (or any other type of red meat)
Two tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
Two tablespoons of vinegar
One tablespoon of salt
One teaspoon of red pepper flakes
Two sliced cloves of garlic
Two teaspoons of cayenne pepper
One cup of water
- Cut the meat into thin strips (remember that they will shrink down as they are dehydrated, so account for that with your cutting!).
- Mix all of your ingredients together in a big bowl.
- Cover your bowl and marinate the meat overnight, in the fridge.
- Place the meat on foil on an oven tray, and place in the oven (preheated to 200 degrees Fahrenheit). Leave the door propped open, and take them out once the meat is pliable but a little tough.
Chili Garlic Deer Jerky
- One pound of top round Milanesa beef, or venison.
- A quarter of a cup of soy sauce
- A quarter of a cup of water
- One teaspoon of cane sugar
- Half of a teaspoon of chili powder
- One teaspoon of red pepper flakes
- One tablespoon of chili garlic sauce
- A quarter of a teaspoon of curing salt
- Add your soy sauce, water, cane sugar, chili powder, red pepper flakes, and chili garlic sauce into a bowl, and then mix until the sugar has dissolved.
- Place your slices of meat into the marinade, and set in the fridge for 4 to 12 hours, depending on how much flavor and spice you want.
- After the meat has finished marinading to your desired flavor, remove from the marinade, and pat off any excess with paper towels.
- Dry the meat out using your favorite jerky-making method. We recommend you used a dehydrator, but an oven will work just fine. Place your slices on your tray or racks, so that they are not overlapping or touching. Dry for about two hours, at 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Your jerky will be finished when it bends and cracks but does not fully break in half. Allow to cool for several hours before you move it to an airtight container for storage.
Sriracha Honey Deer Jerky
- Two pounds of beef/deer top, or bottom round steak that has been cut into one to one and a half-inch thick pieces and trimmed.
- A third of a cup of reduced-sodium soy sauce.
- A third of a cup of sriracha sauce.
- Three tablespoons of honey.
- Three tablespoons of olive oil.
- Two teaspoons of salt.
- One teaspoon of chili powder.
- Place your meat in a steamer basket in a very large skillet. Add water to the skillet, just below the level of the steamer basket, so that it doesn’t touch the meat. Bring the water to a boil, and then put a lid over the basket and steam your meat for between ten and fifteen minutes at medium heat (160 degrees Fahrenheit). Allow the meat to cool slightly, and then wrap in plastic or waxed paper, and freeze for 30 minutes until firm.
- With a sharp knife, cut the meat across the grain into ⅛ to ¼ inch slices. For marinade, in a large bowl, combine all of the remaining ingredients. Add your meat to this bowl, and then stir to coat. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
- Drain the meat in a colander, discarding any of the leftover marinades. Arrange meat slices in a single layer on a mesh-lined dehydrator tray.
- Dehydrate the meat at 160 degrees Fahrenheit, for about six hours, or until dry. To check if it is done, remove a slice from the dehydrator, and let it cool. The jerky should easily break in half when it is done. Store in a sealed container at room temperature for up to three weeks.
Deer jerky is a great way to use up any leftover meat you have – and can be a really cost-effective way of saving what otherwise might go to landfill. This protein-packed snack doesn’t have to be flavorless though, you can pack it with all of your favorite spices and chilies for a little extra kick.