Veteran Hunter’s Deer Jerky Has a Peppery-Garlic Kick

Steve VanDeKeere of Indiana is a diehard hunter and outdoorsman, and like many of us he loves to put venison on the table.

Steve VanDeKeere loves hunting and good venison on the table.

Steve VanDeKeere loves hunting and good venison on the table.

I asked him recently if he had a good deer jerky recipe and VanDeKeere didn’t disappoint.

“My deer jerky recipe has a semi-peppery/garlic taste,” he said. “This recipe yields 2-2.5 pounds of finished jerky. I only use an oven for my dehydrating. My jerky recipe is for tender, not tough, jerky.”


5 pounds trimmed deer roasts (In case of tag sandwich substitute beef sirloin tip roast)
2 Tbsp Tender Quick
1-1/2 Tbsp Garlic Powder
2 Tbsp Seasoning Salt
2 Tbsp McCormick Hot Shot
1 Tbsp Liquid Smoke
2 Tsp Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp Celery Salt

The key to this jerky, in my opinion, is to cut the meat with the grain, while still semi-frozen. Doing so allows for a slightly thicker cut. (1/4-3/8″) I use a repeatedly sharpened fillet knife to do this. Once the meat is trimmed and sliced, I layer it in a bowl with the seasoning mix sprinkled over every layer. I refrigerate 24-36 hours.

Then, I place the jerky strips in single layers on dryer racks and place in the oven. 170-180 degrees with the door propped slightly open for 6-7 hours turning once 1/2 way through. After the 6-7 hour dehydrating time I turn off the oven and leave the jerky set inside. Shut the door and wait until the oven has cooled to room temp.

Doing this prevents any extra condensation to form after you cut the jerky into bite size pieces and place into Zip-loc style bags. The jerky is not shelf stable for more than 48 hours. After that I recommend storing in a refrigerator up to 2 weeks. (If it lasts that long!)