Deer Jerky with the AGK

Discussion in 'Hunting and Fishing' started by Patrick Rollins, Dec 27, 2019.

  1. Patrick Rollins

    Patrick Rollins Lead Instructor Staff Member

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    If you are anything like me, you love jerky but hate paying a lot of money for it. A good solution for this is to make your own. Dehydrators are fairly inexpensive and can provide plenty of snacks/food for the trail. Or you can simply make the jerky in your oven! Here is a quick rundown of how I made several batches of deer jerky recently.


    I decided to make the most use of a freshly killed doe by doing it all myself. I always wonder what percentage of meat do you get back from the processor, and what percentage of that meat is actually yours? First, I field dressed, skinned, and quartered the deer using an Ashley Game Knife. The meat was placed in coolers in the shade of the back porch and I knew this was going to be a lengthy process.


    The most prized cuts on many animals are the tenderloins and backstraps, so they were used first. If you are lucky enough to have a wife who doesn’t mind you occasionally cleaning animals in the kitchen, it makes the job a lot simpler. I rinsed them off and made sure to remove any fat. Deer fat is waxier in nature and doesn’t taste as good as pork or beef fat. Also, be sure to remove any of the “silver-skin” or connective tissue. If you try to skip this time-consuming step it makes for some very chewy jerky. Now cutting across the grain as much as possible, cut the meat into thin strips. I prefer to keep them no thicker than 1/2”. This takes a while, so make sure you have plenty of time to devote to it before starting.


    I have a six-tray dehydrator and know that it will only hold one mixing bowl of meat at a time. So, once the bowl was full it was time to start that batch marinating. When it comes to recipes there is usually a lot of trial and error. Search the web, find one that sounds good, and give it a shot. For this particular batch, I used two separate homemade marinades, one mild and one spicy. The meat is mixed in by hand and thoroughly coated before being poured into large Ziploc bags. Refrigerate overnight and space evenly on the trays. I try to leave gaps between the pieces to allow good airflow. Now it becomes a very good smelling waiting game. Times will vary depending on the dehydrator, amount of meat, and how dry you like it. I prefer it very dry so it will keep longer.


    Well, there you have it. In addition to the great jerky, I will brain tan the hide and the hooves and several bones will be used for classes/projects. If you don’t hunt but still wanted to give it a try, pickup up some beef from the grocery store. It’s great also!
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  2. Strigidae

    Strigidae Moderator Staff Member

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    Oh man! That looks amazing!
     
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  3. DYSPHORIC JOY

    DYSPHORIC JOY Moderator Staff Member

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    Awesome. We live off of deer jerky.
     
  4. Patrick Rollins

    Patrick Rollins Lead Instructor Staff Member

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    I need to get a couple more of them.
     
  5. ASH

    ASH Member

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    I came up with a super easy jerky marinade that I like. I have only used it on the smoker though I haven't tried it in a dehydrator. I also normally just mop it on instead of soaking, I think my mix may get too salty.

    I just mix Coke and Dale's sauce roughly even parts. Mop it on and sprinkle with fresh ground pepper.
     
  6. Patrick Rollins

    Patrick Rollins Lead Instructor Staff Member

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    Sounds pretty good! May have to try that one.
     
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  7. Andy the Aussie

    Andy the Aussie Moderator of the Century Staff Member

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    I had to clean the freezer out early in the year....all the older venison including some backstraps :eek: was made into jerky....I have a dehydrator the same as yours and it was running constantly for about a week..... :D:D But of course I started taking it into work and the vultures descended.....I started telling people it was "Koala Jerky" but apparently it tasted so nice they didn't care... :mad::)
     
  8. SEMO

    SEMO Member

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    Nice that you processed the entire animal with one knife.
    I always find it difficult to get consistent thickness of jerky strips with a knife. Then, the thin pieces become very dry and hard, while the thicker pieces are chewy
    Any tips on maintaining consistent thickness? I do have an electric meat slicer inherited from in laws, but it is a pain to clean up.


    I will have to try the coke/dales/pepper combo.

    Anyone here ever wet smoky c’s and use it for jerky marinade?
     
  9. ASH

    ASH Member

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    For even slicing you can attach guides to a cutting board. Something like a yard stick or paint mixing sticks, one on each side of the meat. Then lay the knife across the guides and slice the bottom off of the meat.
     
  10. Andy the Aussie

    Andy the Aussie Moderator of the Century Staff Member

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    I have one of these...



    ... you could make a similar thing with only guides down each side of a board
     
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  11. ASH

    ASH Member

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    That's cool I didn't know there was a commercial version. I got the idea a long time ago from either outdoor life or field and stream, back when they were worth reading.
     
  12. Patrick Rollins

    Patrick Rollins Lead Instructor Staff Member

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    When it comes to trying to keep the pieces evenly sliced, I just do the best I can with it. Some pieces dry out faster than, but I like it really dry so I just leave it all on until everything is how I want it.
     
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  13. timdgsr

    timdgsr Member

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    Dang, now y'all got me wanting some jerky.

    I use something similar to this to slice mine. [​IMG]

    Works best if the meat is slightly frosty, but not frozen.
     
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