A working oven and a few basic pieces of equipment are needed to make jerky:
n Jerky seasoning packet, with cure included (I used LEM Backwoods Original. Or use your own recipe from scratch, with cure added. Meat cure is available at most grocery stores, butcher shops or where jerky-making products are sold.)
n Large bowl for mixing.
n Measuring spoons.
n Drying trays or racks (mesh), approximately one tray per pound of meat (Spray with non-stick cooking spray to prevent sticking.)
n Drip pan, placed under the drying racks in the oven.
n Jerky gun, when using ground meat.
Jerky guns are quick and easy to use. Similar to using a caulking gun, just squeeze and quickly press strips of jerky onto drying racks. If you don’t have a jerky gun, you can also simply form jerky strips with your hands and flatten to a quarter-inch with a rolling pin between sheets of waxed paper.
Now that you have your venison ready and your equipment assembled, you are ready to begin. Be prepared to stay home, as you’ll be leaving your oven on for the next four to six hours. Snowstorm coming? Cold and rainy weather keeping you indoors? What a great time to make some venison jerky!
n Mix ingredients as your recipe indicates and blend with your ground meat using clean hands.
n Let mix rest for several minute.
n Pack the ground and seasoned meat into the jerky gun, taking care to eliminate air pockets; wash hands.
n Begin carefully pressing the ground meat onto the racks in strips about an eighth-of-an-inch apart
n Stack racks on top of drip pan.
n Set oven to 160-200 degrees, as your recipe indicates.
n Place in center of oven for approximately two to three hours.
n After 2.5 hours, turn strips over, rotate racks and return to oven for another two to three hours.
n After removing dried venison from the oven, blot off any excess moisture from the meat and let dry completely before storing.