Venison Jerky cuts?

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Master of the Pit
Original poster
Dec 25, 2010
Arlington, TX
Im wanting to know what cuts of deer are good for jerky. Im new to everything about smokers and making jerky. I have a freezer full of my dads hunts. Got deer backstrap, tenderloin, and ham steaks. Are any of these good cuts for first time jerkey making. I also was reading some other threads, and I am guessing there is a cure I need to further research. thanks everyone for any help or suggestions, and merry christmas!
If those three are your choices, I would use the ham steaks.  The backstraps and tenderloins are just too good as is to use for jerky.  Assuming your ham steaks are already cut to unifom thickness against the grain, you can slice them again with the grain to make strips or grind them to press into shape depending on the final texture you want.

You will need to use a cure to inhibit bacteria growth during the drying proess.  Your choices there are Tenderquick from Morton salt company, and Instacure#1 (also known as pink cure or pink salt among other names).  They are measured or weighed out in proportion to the weight of fresh meat you will be working with.  You will also need a selection of seasonings for flavor.  For someone just starting out, I recommend buying a commercial jerky kit that would include the cure and seasoning blend in separate packets.  Your local grocery or sporting goods store should have some to choose from.

You can dry your jerky in the oven, a dehydrator, or a smoker, as long as you can keep the temperature low enough (like 140*F).  This can be a problem with ovens, as is getting permission to tie up that oven for 10 hours or so.
Que-ball has it right -- save those choice cuts for the tasty treats they are by themselves!  Jerky is for the tougher cuts, like the butt roasts, neck meat, etc.

I partially defrost the meat which makes it easy to slice as desired to thickness and grain (with or across).  Then I put it immediately into the brine/marinade.

I brine/marinade my jerky with a recipe I found on-line.  You mainly need the salt in a brine to kill any bugs that can make your loved ones sick. The rest is about flavor preferences.  I've never used a commercial kit and never made anyone sick.

I smoke my venison jerky for about 2 hours, then into the oven on as low as possible with the door propped open over night.  You can also use a dehydrator, but I make huge quantities and haven't found a dehydrator big enough to meet my needs.

Trust me -- it won't last long!  Cheers!!! is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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