I made some Jerky two years ago (venison & Beef) and it was off the hook. Family and friends loved it and of course soon after I was "gifted" plenty of venison steaks and roasts to convert into dried meat-gold! However life happens (kids, work, etc..) and the meat sat in my deep freezer...until last week!
When doing venison jerky, I always like to use teriyaki because I feel it cuts the gamey flavor of the meat all while adding a salty flavor that venison usually lacks (compared to beef). Here you see my slicer, cutting board, scale, disposable gloves, and seasonings. I used Sweet and Spicy seasoning for the beef. Pink salt was my cure. 1tsp/5lb.
Weighing it out and prepping to mix in 5lb batches. I had 15lbs of venison total, and I've found that 5 pound batches works best not just for curing, but a gallon ziplock bag holds 5lbs nicely allowing for a little room to mix and squish while curing. Plus I find it's the maximum amount I can mix by hand before it gets to be too much. This picture below is of the venison steaks. They were still slightly frozen together making slicing easy, but broke up into smaller pieces as they thawed for easier blending/seasoning.
I sliced it a little thinner this time, (last time was about 1/4in). This time most pieces were around 1/8, but some sliced up thicker by accident, and they turned out better in the end, so I think go back to that next time. Also I slice across the grain for a easier bite/chew.
Here is the seasoning and blending. I usually sprinkle and toss the jerky in three stages (sprinkle-toss-sprinkle-toss-sprinkle-toss) to ensure optimum curing and seasoning.
Bagged with the air squeezed out. I also added a tablespoon of cracked black pepper to the seasoning blend for a little heat.
After a few days resting in the fridge, it's time to smoke/dry. A few years ago I had the idea to buy 1/8in food grade stainless steel rods and cut them to fit on my smoker rack. It works great. I skewer the meat onto the rod using my bench vice, then into the smoker!
Each rod holds a pound of meat, which helps planning. Here is what it looks like. Beef on top, venison on bottom. It looks like the meat is touching, which is a jerky drying no-no, but I was careful to make sure they weren't.
Got some bourbon oak pellets smoking in the A-MAZE-N smoker. I did this batch on Halloween. Took about 6 hours. Started at 120 degrees and worked up to 160/165.
It went a little long, but the temp never got higher than 170, so it's just tougher jerky, which is the whole point I guess.
My son after a long night (20 minutes) of tough trick-or-treating! He was grunting like a cave man at the meat. My in-laws got a kick out of it!
"Let me give you a hand with that dad, this skewer looks a little overloaded."
Close up of some of the Black pepper teriyaki venison.
These were pieces too small to fit on the skewer. Qmatz worked awesome, thanks @TJohnson
This batch went in Nov 2nd. All venison, but some with black pepper, some with red pepper flakes. Also, I used pitmasters blend pellets this round.
Some of the finished red pepper teriyaki venison.This batch was by far the best!
The best part is the guys who gave me the meat do not know it's done yet! They're in for a nice surprise when I get to deer camp next week! Thanks for looking.