There are a few different things you can do with deer meat, but easily one of my favorites is making jerky. Even with a gamey buck, the salt and spice typical of jerky overwhelms and appeals to even picky eaters. When you make deer jerky, you can:
- Slice flat pieces, and then cure by marinating in a brine or dry applying the cure and spice blend.
- Grind your deer meat, mix in cure and let sit overnight, and then apply in flat sheets using a meat caulking gun (for a lack of a better term).
- Same as above, but apply in “meat snacks”, or round jerky. (Kind of looks like dog shit).
The meat snacks pack in more weight and meat on a grill, so if you’re limited for space go for them. On my grill, I used 2 racks of meat snacks, and 1 rack of flat jerky. Making from ground deer gets you better soak in the cure and more consistent thickness that makes it easier to smoke or bake. After mixing the ground deer with the cure and spices and refrigerating for 24 hours, I applied the meat to racks using what is essentially a meat caulking gun, then popping them in the oven for a quick 2 hours at 200 Farenheit. To keep drippings off the bottom of your oven, you’ll want to put something in the way to catch it. I tried using some foil along with magnets holding the foil to the edge of the oven, but the heat de-magnetized them and the foil ended up drooping in the middle and spilling drippings in the oven. If you’ve got an extra rack, opt to put some tinfoil on it to catch the drippings, or come up with a better solution than I did.
Overall, this is a really easy way to make some deer meat snacks. I used 5 lbs of ground deer for this round, and I think that’s a good amount to make. Much less, and it’s not worth the hassle you’re dealing with cleaning all your utensils. Any more, and you’ll run out of space in your oven, or the jerky will go uneaten or freezer burnt from sitting too long.
This is the 4th batch of jerky I’ve done with Hi Mountain, and I’m pleased yet again at the results. Their kit mixes come in resealable bags so you don’t have to do a full batch once you’ve opened them, and the instructions are pretty clear. It also comes with a shaker if you want to do a dry rub.