Homemade Venison Jerky Recipe

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Ever made homemade jerky?  It’s surprisingly easy…and really delicious!  This Homemade Venison Jerky Recipe is a favorite snack around our house!

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Ever made homemade jerky?  It's surprisingly easy...and really delicious!  This Homemade Venison Jerky Recipe is a favorite snack around our house!There I was sitting in a shed in the middle of a field somewhere in rural Texas.  Oh, and I had my dog Maximus with me.  And it was dark.  You see, my aunt and uncle have loved to hunt deer for as long as I can remember.  In fact, my uncle hunted using a bow and arrow for many years…that’s legit!  Back when I lived in southern Louisiana, I would drive up and visit my aunt and uncle every year around Thanksgiving.  And the day before Thanksgiving, we’d always go out to their “farm” (a big piece of wooded land that bears no actual resemblance to a farm) to hunt. 

Ever made homemade jerky?  It's surprisingly easy...and really delicious!  This Homemade Venison Jerky Recipe is a favorite snack around our house!Texas, like most states, has a limit on the number of deer you can hunt in a season.  As my aunt and uncle pointed out, though, the limit is more than enough.  They typically grind their venison for chili, and once the freezer is full, they donate the rest to a local food shelter.  (Ground venison mixed with ground beef is amazing in chili, by the way!)  Although there is a limit on deer, there is most definitely no limit on wild hogs.  Yes, wild hogs.  In rural eastern Texas.

I was surprised to hear about the wild hog population in Texas, but apparently it’s a real problem.  The hogs get out there and root up farmer’s fields which in turn creates major problems.  And when I say root up, I mean root up!  My uncle showed me those hog ruts, and you could definitely get hurt if you stepped in one.  The year before I moved away, Maximus and I drove up for our Thanksgiving visit, and we headed out hunting.

Ever made homemade jerky?  It's surprisingly easy...and really delicious!  This Homemade Venison Jerky Recipe is a favorite snack around our house!*Boom*  The crack of a gunshot rang out over an otherwise very quiet (almost eerily quiet) Texas evening.  There were no deer to be had on that specific trip, but my aunt had shot one of the wild boars.  Fortunately, they have a family friend who runs a professional catering service, and he always takes any boars that my aunt and uncle come across.  So we loaded that boar into the back of the old pickup truck and delivered it to their catering friend.  Once we arrived at his place, I let Max out of the truck, and he started sniffing around like crazy.  He circled around and around that truck.  So I picked him up and put him in the back of the truck bed.  Max took one step towards that boar, and he literally did a somersault back into my arms.  (The boar wasn’t alive…but Max had no interest in waiting around to confirm that one!)

But enough wild boar talk.  Let’s talk venison!  Aside from chili, one of my favorite ways to cook venison is actually to turn it into Homemade Venison Jerky.  (Although one of my buddies from Baton Rouge made a cream cheese-stuffed backstrap one time.  Woah!)  I was chatting with one of my curling teammates recently, and he commented that he had some venison in his freezer.  I immediately thought about this Homemade Venison Jerky Recipe…and just a couple of days later, we were making a big batch of jerky.  Yum!

Want to take a closer look at LEM™ Products’ Mighty Bite® Dehydrator?  Just hover over the photo above to click through!

Ever made homemade jerky?  It's surprisingly easy...and really delicious!  This Homemade Venison Jerky Recipe is a favorite snack around our house!

For this homemade venison jerky recipe, I used LEM™ Products’ Mighty Bite® Dehydrator.  This 10-tray (yes, 10 tray!) dehydrator is perfect for making big batches of jerky, dried fruit, fruit leather, homemade yogurt (yes, yogurt!) and everything in between.  In fact, I just recently read a tip about using a dehydrator as a bread proofing box.  Genius!  My mother-in-law already has plans to use the LEM Mighty Bite Dehydrator over Thanksgiving weekend to make a huge batch of dried sweet potatoes for the dogs.  At this rate, I’m pretty sure I just need to find a permanent spot on the countertop for the dehydrator!  (LEM also makes a smaller, 5-tray model depending on your needs.)

Ever made homemade jerky?  It's surprisingly easy...and really delicious!  This Homemade Venison Jerky Recipe is a favorite snack around our house!I found the LEM Mighty Bite Dehydrator to be perfect for making this homemade venison jerky.  I split the batch with my buddy (he supplied the venison, after all!), and let’s just say that our half of the jerky didn’t last very long.  Jerky is actually surprisingly easy to make with a dehydrator!  I did marinate the venison over night in a soy sauce/Worcestershire sauce combination, but that’s about it.  The dehydrator itself uses a rear-mounted fan for faster drying times, and it was super quiet while it ran.  (It takes between 3-5 hours to make jerky depending on the thickness of the meat.)

Ever made homemade jerky?  It's surprisingly easy...and really delicious!  This Homemade Venison Jerky Recipe is a favorite snack around our house!

Homemade Venison Jerky Recipe

We’re all about making food ourselves (hence the food blog!) around here, and homemade jerky is an easy and delicious snack.  And for you hunters out there, it’s always fun to know that you helped supply the venison for this homemade venison jerky recipe.  My curling buddy is actually heading out hunting again this weekend, and he’s already asked to borrow our dehydrator.  I told him I’m willing to share as long as some jerky comes back with it!  (LEM also makes a high-quality meat grinder, and I’ve definitely got my eye on that one as a Christmas present!  We had a burger recently with ground beef and ground bacon…woah.  Bacon ground into a burger is delicious!)

Ever made homemade jerky?  It's surprisingly easy...and really delicious!  This Homemade Venison Jerky Recipe is a favorite snack around our house!In the meantime, though, you can find me in the kitchen either making more of this homemade venison jerky or using that dehydrator to make all sorts of dried fruit snacks for Robbie!  Cheers, friends!

If you like jerky, try this beef jerky recipe, too!

Ever made homemade jerky?  It's surprisingly easy...and really delicious!  This Homemade Venison Jerky is a favorite snack around our house!

Homemade Venison Jerky

Ever made homemade jerky?  It’s surprisingly easy…and really delicious!  This Homemade Venison Jerky Recipe is a favorite snack around our house!
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours 10 minutes
Marinating Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 25 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 103kcal



  • Trim any fat from venison and slice across the grain into thin (~¼”) strips; set aside. For a chewier jerky, cut meat with the grain. (Tip: Placing meat in freezer for 30 minutes prior to slicing will make it easier to slice thinly.)
  • Using a large resealable plastic bag, add all remaining ingredients except for black pepper (soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, maple syrup, liquid smoke, brown sugar, salt, onion powder, garlic and red pepper flakes).
  • Add venison and seal bag; refrigerate for 4-6 hours, or overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 300°F. Remove venison from marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Place strips in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, or until internal temperature of meat reaches 160°F. (This step is recommended by the USDA to destroy any bacteria that might be present.)
  • Transfer venison strips onto the dehydrator racks. (Tip: Space out strips so that they are not touching.) Sprinkle tops of strips with black pepper.
  • Set dehydrator temperature to 150°F and dehydrate for 3-5 hours, or until a piece of jerky doesn’t show any signs of moisture when cut in half. (Finished jerky should be able to be bent without breaking.)


If looking to store jerky unrefrigerated for a long period of time, then a cure containing sodium nitrite should be used.

Ever made homemade jerky?  It's surprisingly easy...and really delicious!  This Homemade Venison Jerky Recipe is a favorite snack around our house!

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  1. Poor Max! I think Cookie would do the same thing I she ever got close to a wild boar, alive or not :). I’ve been thinking for awhile of getting a dehydrator because I’d love to make my own dried fruit and I’m taking this post as a sign that I need to do it! Happy Wednesday, David!

    1. Oh man, you should’ve seen Max circling that truck sniffing the air, Kelsie! I’ve never thought of Max as a hunting dog, but he was ready to go…that is, until he actually caught a glimpse of what he was hunting. At that point, he was ready to go back inside for his dog food and a blanket on the couch. 🙂 Also, you should totally get a dehydrator! I’ve been looking up all sorts of fun ways to use this one, and I think the dried sweet potatoes for the dogs on Thanksgiving will be a fun one! I bet Cookie would really enjoy a dried sweet potato or six. Thanks so much, my friend!

  2. Hi David! I haven’t made jerky in a couple of years, but this sure sounds good to me! We have a friend whose son-in-law hunts deer and one night they showed up with a cooler. I thought they’d been fishing, but it contained a fresh backstrap. I stuffed it with lobster and wrapped it in bacon. Pretty darn good!
    We have a large dehydrator which I mainly use for garden produce and fruit, but I’m thinking I need to make some jerky, which I happen to love!

    1. Gosh, this jerky was so, so good, Dorothy! We made jerky a few years ago, too, and I remember liking it. But this jerky totally takes the cake! Wait, did I just read that correctly? Backstrap stuffed with lobster and wrapped in bacon? That’s it. I’m moving in next door to you! 🙂 Ooo…I’m curious to hear more about your dehydrator adventures. I’ve been reading all sorts of fun ways to use one! Thanks so much, my friend…and happy jerky making!

  3. David, so, usually when I stop by your blog I manage to learn at least one new thing – this time I’ve learned like 3 things!! First off, a “dehydrator as a bread proofing box” and to make yogurt? AND B.A.C.O.N ground into a burger? My mind’s blown!!!
    BTW, I don’t think I’ve ever had homemade venison jerky before – and yours with that apple cider vinegar/soy sauce/maple marinade sounds so yum! Dude, you really rocked that LEM Mighty Bite Dehydrator!

    1. You are too kind, Shashi! I love including fun tips in my posts. Heck, I figure if I learned something from making the recipe, then I should share that with everyone else. 🙂 But yeah, a dehydrator as a bread proofing box! You’d have to make sure the dough is covered due to the fan, but it could totally work. And I’ve already put a bug in my buddy’s ear to bring me some more venison. This jerky turned out so well! Thanks so much, my friend!

    1. Yeah, I didn’t know there were wild hogs in Texas, either…but they really do some serious damage to farmers’ fields. My uncle was saying that the hogs’ ruts can be very troublesome for cattle who might step in there and then injure their legs. (These ruts are like 8″ deep…so serious ruts!) Anyways, pass this recipe along to your son-in-law for the next time he makes venison jerky. We were very pleased with how it turned out! 🙂

  4. Maximus – what a great name for a dog, especially such a brave one 🙂 How cute that he was scared of the boar, jumping right back into your arms. LEM’s dehydrator sounds great to make homemade jerky, never tried making it myself but it is nice to be able to use your own meat. Have a nice weekend, David!

    1. Hah! I don’t know about brave, but Maximus sure is a fun name. (I’ve always loved Roman history!) He wanted absolutely nothing to do with that boar since he saw what he was sniffing. I felt bad for the little guy! We had a blast making jerky with this dehydrator. It’s surprisingly easy to make! Thanks so much, Miriam, and I hope you and the family have a wonderful weekend ahead!

  5. All three of my kids and my husband are hunters. I am not! So far this year, they have filled their deer tags and now it’s elk season! Needless to say, we have a lot of venison! Jerky is awesome. It makes great snacks and is perfect for packing in their hunting packs. We will have to try your recipe. I love that it has maple syrup! That would add awesome flavor!

    1. Elk? Interesting! I don’t think I’ve ever tried elk, but I’m always down to try something new. I’m right there with ya on the jerky, though. It’s surprisingly easy to make, and it is the perfect snack for when you’re on the go. Do give this recipe a shot! The bit of sweetness from the maple syrup is a really fun twist. That jerky didn’t last long around our house at all! 🙂

  6. I absolutely love to snack on jerky!! Hubby and my father make it on the regular and now fur baby has feel in love with it too, lol. I’ve never had venison jerky before, but I’m pretty sure I would love that too! That dehydrator sounds pretty awesome! I can only imagine all the yummy treats you can make besides jerky…fun experimenting 🙂 Love the sweet/savoury combo you have going on here with this recipe – right up my alley 🙂

    1. I totally agree, Dawn! There are so many ways you can experiment with jerky flavors. Someone was just mentioning a wasabi jerky the other day…interesting! In fact, we have a whole store near us that sells only jerky. That’s it. I might have to stop in there to get some flavor ideas! 🙂

  7. Oh boy, I have so many “haven’t” and “I don’t’s” today. I think I’ve never tried venison in my life. Possibly once, at the restaurant. I haven’t recorded such fact anyways. Certainly, I haven’t tried venison jerky. Indeed, I’m not really familiar with jerky either (I mean, I’ve had it a few times in my life, but that’s it). Needless to say, I’ve never made it. And I don’t have any dehydrator either (which sounds like a very cool thing to have). So thank you for sharing this delicious recipe. Glad we can find you in the kitchen playing with your dehydrator. But I’d rather find you at the post office packing a box with this jerky for me;)

    1. Hey Ben! Venison isn’t necessarily the easiest meat to come by. Fortunately, I have friends who hunt, but I believe I’ve seen it sold at local farmers markets, too. You might check that out? Deer season is going on right now (at least in our area, so I imagine it’s the same for you), so venison should be more plentiful this time of the year. And I’ve gotta say that the dehydrator is turning into a very useful tool. I mean there’s the jerky (yum!), but I’ve got some fun ideas up my sleeve for fruit leather, too. And dried berries. And dried lavender. Oh wait, did I say lavender? Silly me! 🙂

  8. You know David, I’d always wondered how jerky was made and now I know! I really do learn loads of stuff off your blog. And please feel free to come over to Scotland and take part in a shoot for one of the 250,000 wild deer we have roaming about Scotland! Take as much as you want, your dehydrator would be going 24/7! Have a great weekend my friend, you Robbie and your dehydrator! 🙂

    1. Why thank you so much for the kind words, Neil! Making jerky is actually surprisingly easy. Wow, I had no idea there were so many wild deer over there in Scotland! I might have to send my buddy over to stock up on deer…and I’ll come along so I can curl somewhere. 🙂 And, yes, you can definitely find me in the kitchen soon dehydrating anything and everything! I know I mentioned it in the post, but I’m super intrigued with the idea of making my own yogurt! Hope you and Lynne have a wonderful weekend!

  9. I recently started a nonprofit called FairGame.org that supplies wild boar with legally obtained fire arms and Kevlar. It has totally transformed the local hunting scene.

    1. Now that would transform the local hunting scene! But now that has me wondering if I can make wild boar jerky. Mmmm…jerky! On a side note, Laura and I had wild boar in Italy (several years ago now), and it was so good! I believe it was called “cinghiale,” but good luck finding it here in the States. Now I just need to go back to Italy apparently.

  10. Hi David! Stopping by to tell you that my husband saw your facebook post for this and shared it on his page!! lol He is now wanting the dehydrator so we can make this!

    1. Hey there, Shelby! Thank you so much for stopping by. I love that your husband happened to see this post. 🙂 Making jerky is so incredibly easy, too! This dehydrator would make a good Christmas gift…just sayin’. Haha! Also, I want to try this out with beef jerky now. Mmmm…jerky! I hope you are doing well, my friend!

    1. Hey Karen! Unfortunately, I’ve never experimented with ground venison for making jerky. If you come across a good one, would you consider sharing? I’d love to try it out sometime!

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