snack/ Wild Game

Venison Jerky

November 21, 2020 (Last Updated: November 23, 2020)

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Ground venison or ground elk can be seasoned and dried for delicious homemade venison jerky. This homemade jerky is perfect for snacking and for packing for whenever you’re on the go!

A pile of dried jerky on a white surface with a red and white towel.

Jerky is the perfect snack food for hiking, skiing, school, road trips, and just everyday nibbling.   We often use venison or elk to make our jerky  We live in an area where hunting is prevalent we always have plenty of wild game.

My husband and all three kids are hunters.  We usually end up with several freezers full of game meat.  Not only do they hunt, but Rod and the kids butcher and process the meat as well.  We grind a lot of the meat into burger.

Since we have so many hunters, we end up with a lot of ground venison and elk burger in our freezer. I mean A LOT!  Rod often makes jerky from elk or venison roasts sliced thin.  

One day we discovered a jerky gun at a store and we decided to give it a try.  In the end the only real difference between sliced jerky and burger jerky is the burger jerky tends to be easier to take a bite and chew. It’s a great way for us to use up some of that burger in our freezer!

Dehydrated trays topped with parts of a jerky gun.

A jerky gun resembles a caulking gun. And the process is pretty similar to caulking, except you’re shooting out meat.

Rod makes jerky quite regularly. The only problem is try to nail down an actual recipe from him! Over the years I have finally convinced him to keep a notebook with his recipes. He has a three ring binder and jots down what he does each time.

He’s perfected a lot of recipes from homemade bacon and hams to smoked fish and of course jerky.

I understand why it was hard for him to write things down. This is how Rod works – a little red wine, some brown sugar, garlic powder,  red pepper flakes, black pepper, more red wine. Give a little taste – add more salt, onion powder – give a little taste.  That’s hard to capture in a recipe, but he’s finally captured a master recipe.

Use this recipe as a master and then you can decide to cook like Rod does and try a little of this and a little of that.

Jerky marinade

Jerky marinade is flavored with liquid and spices. With ground meat, marinade for at least 4 hours. For sliced meat, marinade for at least 8 hours.

A complete list of ingredients and measurements can be found below. Just scroll to the bottom!

  • Red Wine – Add a ton of flavor. Use whatever you have on hand
  • Brown Sugar – A little sweetener goes a long way
  • Teriyaki – Helps balance the flavors
  • Whisky – Well, why not? It was in the recipe my husband made!
  • Spices – Onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper and you could also add red pepper flakes for a little kick!
Pouring liquid marinade over the top of ground burger.

The marinade is heated so the sugar and salt are dissolved in the liquid. Once cooled, the marinade is poured over the meat and then combined. This is a job best done with your hands. Just dive right in and really mix everything together until all the liquid is fully incorporated into the meat.

A glass bowl filled with ground venison.

Using the jerky gun

Squeezing our ground venison onto a dehydrator tray.

Dry in dehydrator.  Drying takes 4-8 hours.  The time varies depending on your dehydrator, how thick your strips of meat are, and how many trays you’ve used. We often need to rotate our trays so we get an even dry with all trays.  Even with rotating, we still have some trays that dry quicker than the rest.  

A dehydrator tray filled with wild game jerky.

Store in a paper bag at room temperature for up to a week (if it lasts that long!)  Or place in a freezer safe bag and freeze until ready to use.

Tips

  • Spray your trays lightly with a nonstick spray before adding meat. This helps prevent sticking.
  • Rotate your trays after a few hours
  • Test your jerky to determine when it’s done. Remove a strip from the dehydrator and let it cool. The exterior should be dry and when you bend the jerky, it should be flexible, not crumbly. It’s okay to dry longer than this point if that’s your preference.

Variations

  • Use ground venison or ground elk
  • Can use ground beef, but make certain you select the leanest ground beef you can find
  • To make with a roast, slice into thin strips. Marinade for at least 8 hours. Remove strips from marinade and place on dehydrator. Discard remaining marinade.
  • For spicier jerky, add an additional 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
Dried jerky on a white surface with a jar filled of jerky in the background.

More wild game recipes

If you make this recipe, I’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment below and snap a picture and tag me on Instagram @beyondthechickencoop

Be certain to check out all my Wild Game Recipes!

A pile of dried jerky on a white surface with a red and white towel.

Venison Jerky

Kathy
Homemade jerky using ground wild game meat.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 5 hrs
Marinade 3 hrs
Total Time 8 hrs 15 mins
Course Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 40 Strips
Calories 100 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 5 pounds ground venison (or elk)
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup teriyaki
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon whisky
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Combine all ingredients, except for meat in a saucepan. Heat over medium heat until brown sugar has dissolved. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature. Pour marinade mixture over ground venison.
    Pouring liquid marinade over the top of ground burger.
  • Combine until marinade is fully mixed into ground meat.
    Cover and refrigerate for 4-24 hours.
    A glass bowl filled with ground venison.
  • Use a jerky gun to make long strips on dehydrator trays.
    Squeezing our ground venison onto a dehydrator tray.
  • Dry at 145-165 degrees for 6-8 hours.
    A dehydrator tray filled with wild game jerky.

Notes

Tips
  • Spray your trays lightly with a nonstick spray before adding meat. This helps prevent sticking.
  • Rotate your trays after a few hours
  • Test your jerky to determine when it’s done. Remove a strip from the dehydrator and let it cool. The exterior should be dry and when you bend the jerky, it should be flexible, not crumbly. It’s okay to dry longer than this point if that’s your preference.
Variations
  • Use ground venison or ground elk
  • Can use ground beef, but make certain you select the leanest ground beef you can find
  • To make with a roast, slice into thin strips. Marinade for at least 8 hours. Remove strips from marinade and place on dehydrator. Discard remaining marinade.
  • For spicier jerky, add an additional 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
Drying time will vary depending on your dehydrator, the thickness of your strips and the number of trays on your dehydrator.
Yield may vary depending on thickness of your strips.

Nutrition

Serving: 2stripsCalories: 100kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 12gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 45mgSodium: 286mgPotassium: 197mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gCalcium: 8mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Elk Jerky, Ground Venison Jerky, Jerky, Vesnion Jerky
Tried this recipe?Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

This recipe was originally posted in February 2015. The recipe and images have been updated.

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9 Comments

  • Reply
    David @ Spiced
    November 23, 2020 at 3:52 am

    5 stars
    Ah, I do enjoy making jerky, and we’ve made venison jerky a couple of times! However, I’ve only made it in whole cut form before. I’m intrigued by the burger jerky gun! What a fun tool…I’m thinking that might need to end up in my list of kitchen cools pretty soon. 🙂

  • Reply
    Kimberly @ KimRidge Farm
    March 10, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    This is such a great idea! The ground deer is easier to chew. Some fats in the ground meet adds that sweet, rich, nutty flavor. I usually don’t follow recipes precisely. I wonder is the marinade should be mild because it concentrates during dehydration?

    I am going to pull out some ground deer from the freezer and try this. I know, it won’t last no matter what. We love deer jerky.

    Haven’t had beef in years. Deer is our kind of red meet.

    Thank you for sharing this great recipe.

    • Reply
      Kathy
      March 10, 2015 at 8:20 pm

      We always taste the marinade as we mix it up. You don’t want it to be diluted. The flavors should be strong, but not overly powerful. Jerky doesn’t stick around long in our house either!

  • Reply
    Amy (Savory Moments)
    February 17, 2015 at 1:37 am

    This looks great! I haven’t had jerky in a long time. My husband didn’t get a deer this last season, but hopefully next one and we can give this a try. Thanks for stopping by my blog! 🙂

    • Reply
      Kathy
      February 16, 2015 at 7:02 pm

      Thanks Amy! You can easily make the jerky with beef….until next year when he gets a deer.

  • Reply
    Vanessa @ Vanessa Baked
    February 16, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    I love this! My husband is a hunter and we always have venison in the freezer. Such a great idea using ground venison. Pinning this for later!

    • Reply
      Kathy
      February 16, 2015 at 1:06 pm

      Thanks Vanessa. I hope you get a chance to make some!

  • Reply
    Lori from LL Farm
    February 16, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    It has been a while since I have had deer jerky…my dad used to make it a lot. My family also does our own butchering. It’s always just been a way of life, but as I get older and have fed my family throughout the years, I see the many benefits of it. Thanks for sharing this.
    Lori from LL Farm

    • Reply
      Kathy
      February 16, 2015 at 4:23 pm

      I never had game meat until I met my husband. It took me awhile to get used to the taste and how to cook with it. It’s on our menu regularly now.

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