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Redmond Hunt Recipes: Smoked Venison Jerky 

Deer hunting season may be a memory now, but there’s still a fantastic way to savor a slice of your hunt while you’re waiting for fall to roll around again. Fire up the wood smoker and cook some seasoned venison jerky! 

A flavorful strip of jerky is the perfect meaty, protein-packed snack to gnaw on as you head back into the woods to scout or simply enjoy a day out. For packable food that’s handy for hunters and hikers, nothing beats it—and it’s downright satisfying when it comes from a deer you harvested yourself.  

Got a nice venison top round or rump roast wrapped up in the freezer? Get ready to toss on the Redmond Real Salt and Organic Garlic Pepper seasonings and get smokin’.  

How to Make Flavorful, Tender Jerky 

Jerky is an age-old way to bring deer meat from the field to the table—or your backpack or saddlebag or however you enjoy the outdoors. Study these tips and tricks before tackling our Redmond Hunt recipe below to make sure your jerky turns out just right. 

Best Cut of Meat for Venison Jerky 

Lean meats make the best jerky, and venison is one of the leanest—which means you’ve already got a point in your favor for cranking out some seriously good stuff! The best cuts to make jerky are the backstraps, tenderloins, and hindquarters, though any piece will do. Just choose meat that’s large enough to produce a decent-sized strip of jerky. Once you’ve picked your cut, hold off on the knife till you know how to slice the meat to make it most tender. 

Cutting Against the Grain 

Going against the grain implies bucking the natural way of things—which is great when it comes to cutting meat! Meat is made up of striated muscle fibers, or what we call “grain.” Cutting with the grain, or in the same direction, helps those fibers stay together—and results in tough meat and a serious workout for your jaw.  

So how do you make sure to cut meat against the grain? Visually, you should be able to see lines running one direction through your venison. If it’s hard to tell just by looking at it, grab the ends of the cut and pull in opposite directions. Natural striations should become noticeable. Cut across, not with, these lines. 

Cutting Tips:  Cut meat with even thickness (about ¼ inch strips) to encourage consistent drying and smoking on all pieces. Meat is also easier to cut—whether with a knife or slicer—when it’s partially frozen. If your meat is fresh, freeze it for about an hour and a half. If it’s already frozen, let it thaw slightly before cutting. 

How to Cure Smoked Jerky 

Most jerky recipes call for a curing salt, also known as prague powder. It extends shelf life of cured meats and contains a mixture of sodium chloride (salt), nitrite (to slow growth of bacteria), and red coloring.  

We tapped the knowledge of our resident Redmond chef, Shawn Wilson (check out his Redmond blog), to get his thoughts on using prague powder versus natural Redmond Real Salt for smoking or curing. Here’s what he had to say. 

“Salt nitrates are great if you’re curing over a long period of time using traditional methods which require meat to be hung and dried in specific climate and humidity,” he said. “I use Redmond Real Salt for simple, short-term curing, as well as anything I need to dry or smoke, like jerky. It works great! The sodium nitrite in curing salts takes some of the risk out of curing but isn’t necessary for cooking, smoking, or short-term curing processes.” 

So swapping out prague salt—which can actually be toxic if sprinkled on food without discretion—for all-natural Redmond Real Salt (or other salt) is a smarter and healthier choice when meat is headed for the smoker. Real Salt is packed with 60+ trace minerals, which gives our salt a slightly sweet flavor and pinkish tint that adds a nice touch to jerky. 

Venison Smoking Tips & Tricks 

Smoking also adds a natural yet complex and woodsy flavor to venison—and leaves meat more tender than a dehydrator. Here are some tips we recommend for tastier smoking: 

  • Spread out meat. Scatter meat evenly in your smoker, without pieces touching. This will help meat dry and smoke more evenly.  
  • Pick your pellet.  Different hardwood pellets give meat unique flavor. Cherry or applewood infuse meat with a slightly fruity flavor. Hickory and mesquite both create a bold and distinct smoky flavor. Maple tastes a bit like bacon. With the Redmond Hunt recipe below, we like a competition blend pellet—one that combines a trio of hardwood flavors. What chips you choose for your smoker, however, is totally up to you and your tastebuds. 
  • Blue not white. Just because your smoker is billowing profusely doesn’t mean it’s ready for meat. Make sure it’s emitting bluish, not white, smoke. White smoke makes bitter jerky. Thin, blue smoke means a clean-burning fire that allows meat to soak up the essence of your preferred wood pellets. 

You’re now ready to assemble your gear and ingredients and get to the good stuff—the heady smell of smoking meat and that first taste test! There’s a lot to love about the layers of flavor in this recipe. Brown sugar and soy sauce bring a sweet, tangy kick. Wood pellets add a deeper layer of smoky goodness. And chunky Redmond seasoning tops it off with a peppery bite of heat. Let’s get to it! But first, watch the quick two-minute video below to see the recipe in action.

Smoked Pepper Venison Jerky 

By Jacelyn Hansen 

Our smoked venison jerky recipe comes from Jacelyn Hansen—a Redmond partner and passionate food preservationist. Jacelyn and her family also have years of experience in the great outdoors. They lived and worked on a mountainous cattle ranch in northern Utah that doubles as a hunting ranch teeming with trophy mule deer, elk, pronghorn, and Shiras moose in the fall.

The Hansens received a wild game tag each year with their employment and jerked lots of meat using this favorite family recipe. For Jacelyn, it brings back memories of hunting with her husband and long, hot, hungry days in the saddle when a handful of jerky was all there was to reach for. 

“Smoking jerky is a great food preservation method,” she said, “and also a handy way to utilize your deer meat and make it really easy to eat.”  

choosing the best cut of venison, cutting meat against the grain, and picking the right seasonings are part of making great venison jerky.

Ingredients 

  • 1 LB of venison  
  • 2 TBLSP brown sugar  
  • 1/2 C soy sauce  
  • 1/2 C water  
  • 1/4 C Worcestershire sauce  
  • 1/2 TBLSP pure ground black pepper  
  • 1/4 tsp Redmond Real Salt  
  • 1/4 C Redmond Garlic Pepper  

Instructions 

  1. Mix all ingredients (except Redmond Garlic Pepper) together to make a marinade. Pour marinade in a large Ziploc bag or container.
  2. Cut venison into ¼ inch wide strips.
  3. Add meat to the marinade and stir to ensure all pieces are coated. Place in the refrigerator for 8-24 hours. (A longer marinade time creates stronger flavor.) 
  4. Once meat is done marinating, pat it dry with paper towels. Lay out meat pieces on a pan and coat one side with Redmond Garlic Pepper.  
  5. Prep your smoker and wait till bluish smoke rises from it. Place marinated meat in the smoker, ensuring pieces aren’t touching.  
  6. Smoke for 30-60 minutes, then turn smoker to 200° and cook meat for 1 hour.  
  7. After the meat has cooked for one hour, check it every 30 minutes. It’s done when jerky pieces bend and crack but don’t break in half.   
  8. Vacuum-seal jerky or place in a resealable freezer bag and store in the fridge or freezer. 

Find the best tricks and tips for how to make smoked venison jerky that's tender and flavorful.

More About Redmond

Interested in another great way to use your deer meat besides smoked venison jerky? Check out our Dutch Oven Venison Stew recipe! It’s savory, satisfying, and a delicious way to warm up and fill up your stomach after a day in the woods. Or click the button below to shop Redmond deer mineral products to help you bring in your buck next hunting season.

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