My kids love jerky. I don't know how they developed a taste for it, since until yesterday, I had never made homemade jerky. I suppose it was some of the expensive, store-bought variety that got them addicted. It is a pretty healthy snack, and we had some venison steaks in the freezer, so this unexpected, long weekend I thought I'd try making some.
Two words: Easy. Delicious. The only thing is, it takes a bit of patience while it's drying in the oven.
The hardest part may be slicing the meat thin enough, which fortunately I didn't have to do because the venison steaks were pretty thin already. A good sharp fillet knife would work for slicing thicker cuts, and if the meat is partially frozen it's easier to cut thin.
The strips are coated with a small amount of liquid smoke and seasoning. I used, as I do for so many other dishes, Louisiana brand Cajun seasoning. Then when the excess moisture has evaporated a bit, the meat strips are placed in a covered bowl overnight in the refrigerator.
The next day, lay the strips on the oven racks, turn the oven on to about 150, just warm enough to dry the meat, and wait about 6 hours, checking every once in a while. When it's dry enough it should still bend a little, but not feel plump or "juicy" anywhere. The seasoned flavor really comes out when most of the moisture is gone.
We need to get more deer next year.
By the way, the recipe book that appears in this and the preceding post is a wealth of tips and recipes for wild game: Wild in the Kitchen, by Bob Schranck. It's probably out of print, so I'm trying not to spill too much on our copy.