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Blueberry Bourbon Deer Jerky

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Hunting season is upon us and it’s time to start making some great tasting venison jerky! Bring a little flavor of summer with the blueberries and the boldness of your favorite bourbon to this new jerky recipe.

Blueberry deer jerky in a glass full of blueberries on wood table with a bottle of bourbon

Slicing The Meat

I have been defrosting the last of the venison in my freezer from last hunting season. Hopefully you have some fresh deer from this season. If not, venison can be bought at many local butcher shops.

Thawed freezer packed venison in bowl

I thawed my freezer packed venison roasts in a bowl of water in the refrigerator prior to slicing. Make sure to defrost any meat in the refrigerator and NOT on your kitchen counter. Submerging the meat in water will speed up the thawing process immensely.

Venison Roast on cutting board with knife

After thawing and rinsing the deer roast, trim as much fat and silver skin as you can from the meat. Fat spoils faster than meat and will shorten the shelf life of the finished jerky.

I sliced the deer roast by hand with a very sharp knife. If you do not have a really sharp knife, wrap the roast in saran wrap and put the meat back in the freezer for 1-2 hours to partially freeze/harden the meat so slicing evenly sized strips is easier. Visit my how to slice jerky page for more information on slicing meat for the perfect jerky.

Venison Roast Sliced

Using a jerky slicer is another great option. I like using my Weston Jerky Slicer to cut the beef and deer roasts into jerky strips.

Venison being sliced by a jerky meat slicer

This jerky slicer is not needed to slice the meat, but it makes it a lot easier!

RELATED PAGE: DOZENS OF JERKY RECIPES – CLICK HERE!!!

Making The Marinade

The fresh blueberries really give this jerky the flavor that it needs to be a great tasting jerky. Frozen can be used if you don’t have any fresh blueberries. 

Blueberries in cup

Whenever using fresh ingredients such as blueberries, blending them in a blender with the rest of the ingredients is the best way to incorporate that flavor into the marinade. Simply cutting up small just doesn’t give the recipe the same flavor.

Blueberry bourbon jerky marinade blended in blender

Add all the ingredients in a blender and blend. I used my Vitamix when making this recipe. Any blender will work, this one is definitely bad ass though. 

Deer jerky marinating in blueberry bourbon marinade

Pour the marinade into a ziplock bag and add the jerky strips to the marinade. Make sure that all the strips are covered fully with the marinade. Marinate in the refrigerator for 6-24 hours mixing the strips in the bag every 4 hours or so to make sure the strips marinate evenly. 

Deer jerky strained in colander

After the jerky has finished marinating, strain the strips in a colander. The jerky will not soak up all the marinade and the excess will need to be removed. 

Deer jerky drying on paper towels

After patting the strips dry, place the jerky strips into a dehydrator, oven, or smoker. I used my Excalibur Dehydrator when making this recipe. You can also use an oven or smoker to make this recipe. For step by step instructions on how to use a dehydrator, oven, and smoker to make jerky; make sure to visit my How to Make Jerky page.

Testing For When The Jerky Is Finished

While drying the jerky, you want to start testing to see if it has finished at about the 3-4 hour mark. Take a piece of jerky out of the dehydrator, oven, or smoker and allow it to cool for 5 minutes to room temperature. Bend the jerky in half, it should bend and crack but not break in half. You will also see white fibers in the meat. The fibers are really visible when a piece is ripped in half.

Deer jerky strip finished and showing white fibers

If the jerky is not finished, continue drying for another hour and repeat the same process until the jerky is finished. 90% of the jerky i make is finished within 4-6 hours when using a dehydrator or oven and 6-9 hours when using a smoker. If pre-heating the meat in the oven, drying time can be as little as 2.5 hours.

Deer jerky in glass next to bottle of bourbon bottle on wood table

It took about 4 1/2 hours at 165°F to be done just right. The jerky turned out tasting pretty good. There is a mild blueberry and bourbon flavor. They don’t over power the jerky which is nice, I’m not a fan of overly alcohol flavored jerky.

I happened to be driving through Kentucky a couple days ago when visiting my sisters and saw a sign for Buffalo Trace Distillery about 20 minutes down the road. I LOVE their bourbon and just happened to be putting out this jerky recipe where I used their bourbon, (talk about great timing) I just had to stop and take a tour of the place!

Buffalo Trace water tower

The buildings are original from the 1800’s and the tour was a real blast to take. Especially the tasting at the end! 

Buffalo trace brewery holding bottle of bourbon

Had to grab a bottle for later….

Storing Jerky

To make the jerky last as long as possible, curing salt will really help along with keeping in air tight containers. I have put together a page on storing jerky and steps you can take to make your jerky have an extended shelf life. Check it out!

Old Pro Tips:

  • Trim all fat from the meat before marinating for longer lasting jerky once it’s finished drying
  • Use curing salt or celery juice powder to extend the life of the jerky
  • Pre-soak venison for a couple hours in 2 cups water and 1 cup vinegar to remove ‘gamey’ flavor
  • Frozen blueberries can also be used if no fresh are available

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For more in depth directions on how to dry your jerky, visit my page Jerky Making Methods.

Blueberry deer jerky in a glass full of blueberries on wood table with a bottle of bourbon
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Blueberry Bourbon Deer Jerky

Bring a little flavor of summer with the blueberries and the boldness of your favorite bourbon to this new jerky recipe.

Course Beef Jerky
Cuisine American
Keyword beef jerky, blueberry, bourbon, Jerky
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 5 hours
Servings 5
Calories 223 kcal
Author Will

Ingredients

Lean Meat

Marinade

  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1/4 tsp curing salt optional

Instructions

  1. Trim all visible fat from the venison or beef and place in freezer for an hour or two to partially freeze.
  2. While the meat is in the freezer, combine marinade ingredients in a blender and blend until the ingredients are fully mixed. Transfer to a bowl or ziplock bag. 

  3. Remove the meat from the freezer and slice ¼" strips against the grain for an easy chew. Cut with the grain for a more chewy jerky. Visit my page on slicing jerky for more information. I used my Weston Jerky Slicer when making this recipe.

  4. Add sliced venison or beef to the mixture in the ziplock bag or bowl and marinate for 6-24 hours in the refrigerator.
  5. After the meat has finished marinating, remove from refrigerator and strain excess marinade in a colander and pat dry with paper towels.
  6. Dry with your favorite jerky making method. I used my Excalibur Dehydrator and dried for 4.5 hours at 165F.
  7. The jerky is finished when it bends and cracks, but does not break in half. White fibers will also be seen when the jerky is bent.

Recipe Notes

Old Pro Tips:

  • Trim all fat from the meat before marinating for longer lasting jerky once it’s finished drying
  • Use curing salt or celery juice powder to extend the life of the jerky
  • Pre-soak venison for a couple hours in 2 cups water and 1 cup vinegar to remove 'gamey' flavor
  • Frozen blueberries can also be used if no fresh are available
Nutrition Facts
Blueberry Bourbon Deer Jerky
Amount Per Serving
Calories 223 Calories from Fat 18
% Daily Value*
Fat 2g3%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Cholesterol 77mg26%
Sodium 964mg42%
Potassium 418mg12%
Carbohydrates 14g5%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 11g12%
Protein 21g42%
Vitamin A 16IU0%
Vitamin C 4mg5%
Calcium 21mg2%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Liquor and Jerky go hand in hand! Bring a little flavor of summer with the blueberries and the boldness of your favorite bourbon to this new jerky recipe!