The Regular Rifle season opens for most Texans this Saturday. Some have already taken a deer during the Texas archery season and a few more were harvested by the Texas youth hunters this last weekend in the Texas special youth season. At the start of every deer season I get emails asking how to make things like deer jerky, venison sausage and other recipes for deer meat.
Everyone must like jerky and many want to know how to make their own. This has been my go to recipe for years and it sure doesn't last long around my house. Most of my hunting buddys and family now make it this way so it must be pretty good. If I take a bag of it along to deer camp or on a fishing trip it seems to disappear almost like magic. You can change it by adding other flavors and or spices. Many add soy sauce or red pepper for heat. Some even add barbecue sauce to the brine. You can come up with your own special flavor.
Here is the basic no fail way I make it.
Cut lean strips of venison, beef, chicken or turkey. The pieces should be at least ¾ inch thick or more and as large as you want them. Trim off all fat as it will turn rancid as the meat dries. Fill a large mixing bowl with water and stir in 1/2 cup of Brown Sugar and 1/2 cup Kosher non iodized salt. Stir in 1 Teaspoon of Garlic powder,½ Teaspoon of Allspice 1/8 Teaspoon of ground Cloves. Add meat and soak in the brine for 8-24 hours in a refrigerator. The longer it is in the brine the more salt it will absorb. Remove meat from brine and rinse very well in cold water. Roll or shake on coarse ground black pepper to taste. Do not use table ground black pepper or it will have too strong a pepper taste. Remember coarse ground pepper adds flavor, fine ground adds heat. Arrange meat on a smoker and slow smoke with your favorite wood keeping the heat under 170 degrees until fully smoked. I smoke mine overnight. I use very dry oak or seasoned mesquite with no green left in the wood. If you do not have a smoker you can do this in your oven, just add liquid smoke to the original brine and dry on your ovens lowest setting or warm setting. Place a wood spoon in the oven door so moisture can escape and dry meat to the texture and hardness desired. You can then place jerky in a bowl in the refrigerator for up to a week to finish dehydrating. It never lasts that long at my place. Place any extra in a bag in the freezer and take out about 2 hours before you intend to eat it. It is worth it to take the time to slow smoke the jerky as the wood smoke flavor enhanced meat can never be matched by that made in an oven. Enjoy, Wild Ed
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