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Deer Jerky Recipe


This simple, old-fashioned deer jerky recipe is really awesome. You don’t have to have anything fancy – not even a dehydrator!

Deer Jerky Recipe

I love jerky. I mean, who doesn’t, right? And it’s pretty much the biggest reason I look forward to hunting season every year, but the thing is, it’s kind of expensive, and not only that, it’s full of nitrates and nitrites – preservatives. I really do try my hardest to avoid those kinds of things. I’ve even been making my own bacon for years now because of it.

Most jerky recipes feature ground meat – which I love and have used many time for my teriyaki venison jerky recipe. It’s easy to chew, which is always pretty awesome, right? But if you don’t have a meat grinder, or a jerky press, that can kind of put the kibosh on all your fun. That’s where this kind of old school jerky recipe comes in.

Because guess what? You can make deer jerky – or beef jerky for that matter – with real (a.k.a not ground) meat. No jerky press required – just a sharp knife.

I highly recommend using the most tender cuts of beef or deer that you can. Loin is great for larger pieces, as are some of the other choice cuts. Lower quality cuts of meat are still good, though I do recommend cutting those into jerky “tidbits” rather than strips.

Recipe For Old Fashioned Beef Jerky

Regardless of what cuts you choose, always remember to cut across the grain. As you look at a piece of meat, you will notice that the muscle fibers run in a particular direction. You’ll want to cut across those fibers.


Deer Jerky Recipe


  • Two pounds of beef or deer roast, steak, or loin
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce*
  • 2 Tablespoons liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Dash (or more) of hot sauce, cayenne pepper powder, or Cajun Seasoning. (Optional)

Optional equipment:


  1. Cut meat into 3/8 inch thick slices across the grain. Obviously you don’t have to measure every piece – just eyeball it. I tend to err on the thick side as I like my jerky chewy rather than brittle.beef on cutting board
  2. Having a super sharp knife, with a quick sharpener handy really speeds this process up. It’s no fun sitting at the table sawing meat all day. Get your knife sharp and get it done!
  3. Toss meat with marinade ingredients in a large bowl.
  4. Cover meat with a plate and weight it down so that the juice cover it. OR, (and this is preferable) put the meat and marinade in a large, zip-top bag. Squeeze all of the air out so that the meat has no choice but to be covered in the juice (what little there is).
  5. Refrigerate overnight.beef on dehydrator

In the morning:

Dehydrator: Arrange meat on dehydrator trays Turn heat setting to 150-160 and dehydrate for 6-8 hours.


  1. Arrange jerky on air bake pans, cookies sheets, or hang over the (clean) oven racks themselves.
  2. Turn oven on to 150º and place jerky in center of the oven. If you’re using air bake trays, or the oven racks, you might want to place a jelly roll pan or something underneath to catch any stray drips.
  3. If your oven has a fan-bake setting, use it. The more airflow you can get, the faster your jerky will dry.
  4. Bake/dehydrate for 8-12 hours or until dry. If using cookie sheets, you’ll need to turn jerky over every few hours.
  5. Store in an airtight container.
  6. Enjoy – slowly!


*If you are allergic to gluten, make sure you read your soy sauce label before using it! Believe it or not, soy sauce is often made with wheat. La Choy is widely available and, (last time I checked) gluten-free.


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  1. I’ve never tried to make my own jerky before, but I love how you can control the ingredients. The store-bought stuff has so much garbage in it!

    PS: I love your new site design, too. 😉

  2. I will be passing this recipe on to one of my son’s who is a deer hunter, hopefully he will share with his Mom. Thanks so much for starting your 2015 with Full Plate Thursday and have a great week.
    Happy New Year!
    Miz Helen

  3. Nice recipe! The boys love jerky and I have a dehydrator but haven’t tried to make my own yet. You make it sound easy (with the right tools) so I feel confident to give it a shot! Do you you store at room temp or fridge? do you know how long it would last?

    1. Mine is stored in air-tight containers in the pantry. As long as it doesn’t come in contact with too much moisture, it should keep almost indefinitely. I have some that’s three months old right now, but honestly, that’s an anomaly. We usually eat it up long before it gets that old. 🙂

  4. I wish I had the patience to make this but it is very interesting to know how it’s done. I’ll pass this on to the meat lovers in my family.

  5. I didn’t realise it was so easy to make Jerky and it’s so interesting to see it made from venison. I always worry that commercial jerkys might contain a lot of additives. Your homemade version sounds so much nicer! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe with us at the Hearth and Soul Hop.

  6. Oh my! This looks so amazing. Pinned and tweeted. Thank you so much for being a part of our party. We really appreciate you! I hope to see you on Monday at 7 pm. Happy Saturday! Lou Lou Girls

  7. Omigosh yum! I’m a huge fan of game meat and sometimes it’s hard to think of different things to do with it! We recently got a bunch of moose meat and this would be a great way to make sure everything gets used too!

  8. Thank you so much for joining us this last Thursday and sharing on #PureBlogLove we are pinning and sharing this awesome blog post on our social media and following you on yours. I hope to see you again this Thursday at 8 pm EST- Monday morning on our Link Party! Have a fantastic night and thanks again

  9. Do you think I could basically do the same thing with my ground deer meat? If I form it into “strips”?

  10. How did Pinterest knew I needed to read this? Came up in my feed this morning and I am very thankful. We got our first deer yesterday and it is in ice now. I was starting to look for ways to use and cook the meat since I don’t have any experience with deer meat. This looks amazing!

  11. We love jerky also – have tried our hand at deer jerky, but I think my hubster has been cutting it wrong & too thin… We shall try again with your tips! Personally though, I cannot imagine anyone using that sweet sweet tenderloin for jerky! Haha! We only use the smaller roasts…love my tenderloins, hearts, & livers way too much to turn any of it into jerky! lol. Thanks for the tips!

  12. I followed this recipe and used my oven. My oven only goes down to 170. The deer meat baked! What did I do wrong? Was I supposed to open the oven door or something? ????????????

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  14. I love the taste and everything about it! Wonderful recipe! However Mine started to mold in a week?? What did I do wrong!!

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