Now that all of the hard work has been done, it's time to use that venison to jerk some snacks. This time I decided to make what I'm calling Famous Dave's Venison Jerky. I don't know Dave but he makes a killer BBQ sauce called Smokey Chipotle.
I have been making my jerky with a hot air food dehydrator purchased from Bed Bath and Beyond. I'd say it's a far stretch from a Bed or Bath product but I'm sure there may some use for it there. I also got 20% off by using one of those coupons I get in the mail every other day.
After butchering the deer, I accumulated about 3 pounds of odds and ends that were trimmed off larger cuts or trimmed so I could get the cuts into bags. 2 or 3 pounds of meat is about all you can get in one of these small dehydrators. Cut your meat into small strips if you can about 3/4 to 1 inch wide and 1/4 inch thick or less. My odds and ends didn't work well into strips so a lot of them are bite sized chunks which also work just fine. Next, take a gallon sized zip lock back and pour in about 1/2 to 3/4 of a bottle of Famous Dave's Smokey Chipotle BBQ sauce. Add 1 tablespoon of salt, and a little less than half a teaspoon of jerky cure. I got my cure from sausagesource.com
. You can use any cure you like but be sure to follow the directions for the amount of meat you are using. Yes you should weigh the meat to get the right dosage. I used the bathroom scale...something else you can get from Bed Bath and Beyond!
There has been some concern over the years about the toxicity of meat cures. The FDA has published guidance
on safe concentrations of sodium nitrite for home meat preparation. The cure not only keeps the meat red but it inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria, including E coli, during the curing process. Since deer are known carriers of E coli, I would rather err on the side of caution and follow the meat cure directions.
So now that you have all of the ingredients in the bag, mix it all up very thoroughly then add the meat to the bag. Mix everything up again until all of the meat is coated with the sauce and salt mixture. Squeeze out the excess air and zip the bag shut. Lie it flat on a plate or baking dish as shown above and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. Might be good to flip the bag and remix the ingredients once or twice.
The next morning, dump the bag onto the plate or baking dish and begin to put the meat on the dehydrator trays. Don't pack them in too tight. You want the air to circulate freely around the pieces. Once your trays are full, you can go back and fill in here and there to get it all into the machine.
Next, put the top on the dehydrator, set the temp to 155 degrees and plug it in. In about 7 to 8 hours, you should have nicely dried jerky. When it's done to your satisfaction, dump the jerky onto paper towels to cool. Once cooled to room temperature, put them into a paper towel lined bowl and put in the refrigerator with the top open. The fridge will keep them dry and fresh for several weeks...though I bet it wont last that long.