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Drunken Hot Deer Jerky

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Beer and Habanero peppers is just about the best combination of any two things on this planet, so let’s use them to make some jerky!

Deer jerky on platter with glass of beer and a coors original beer bottle

Slicing The Meat

I had a good hunting season this year and have been making some deer jerky with my now full freezer. Hopefully you also had a good season and are ready to turn that fresh meat into some great tasting jerky!

If your season wasn’t the best, not to worry, venison can be bought at many local butcher shops.

Thawed freezer packed venison in bowl

Defrost your venison roasts in a bowl of cold water that is placed in the refrigerator. 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 strips soaking in water and vinegar in bowl

This roast had a good amount of blood in the package and had a game aroma, because of this I decided to soak the meat in cold water and salt solution to remove that ‘gamey’ flavor from the meat. I used 1 cup of salt and about 5 cups of water above. 

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!


Making The Marinade

As I mentioned before, the beer and habanero’s are the star of this show. I LOVE hot jerky, and habanero peppers are some of the best tasting to use when making jerky.

Grab your favorite beer and a couple habaneros from your local grocery store. Mix all of the ingredients listed below in the recipe card in a blender. Cut the stems off of the habaneros before placing in the blender. 

Venison jerky marinade with habanero in blender

I started with only one habanero, but for a truly hot jerky you will need two. After tasting the marinade with only 1 pepper, I threw a second one in making it perfect to me. 

I used my Vitamix when making this recipe. Any blender will work, this one is definitely bad ass though. I HIGHLY recommend using a blender and not just slicing the peppers and placing in the marinade. Blending them really incorporates them well and gives the max amount of flavor/heat.

Habanero deer jerky marinating in plastic bag

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.

Habanero deer jerky straining 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. 

Habanero deer jerky drying on paper towels

Lay out paper towels and place the strained pieces of meat on the paper towel. Pat the top of the strips with more paper towels to remove any more excess marinade before drying. Doing this will help speed up the drying process.

Habanero deer jerky on dehydrator trays

After patting the strips dry, place the jerky strips into a dehydrator, oven, or smoker. I used my Excalibur Dehydrator when making this recipe. Make sure the pieces of meat are not touching and have space for air to flow around each piece.

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 bent in half with beer and peanuts in dish in background

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 finished with beer in background

It took about 4 hours at 165°F to be done just right. The jerky had a nice spice that got me sweating a little bit. The worcestershire sauce really came through with the spice coming towards the end of chewing. This was spicy, so if you want it a little more milder, only add one pepper.

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 5 cups water and 1 cup salt to remove ‘gamey’ flavor
  • Decrease habaneros to 1 pepper for a milder flavor
  • Freeze meat before slicing to make even strips

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

Deer jerky on platter with glass of beer and a coors original beer bottle
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Drunken Hot Deer Jerky

Beer and habaneros, arguably the best combination of any two items on earth; in this case giving you a fantastic tasting jerky!

Course Beef Jerky, deer jerky, venison jerky
Cuisine American
Keyword beef jerky, Deer Jerky, Jerky, Venison Jerky
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 5 hours
Servings 5
Calories 164 kcal
Author Will


Lean Meat


  • 1 pear
  • 1/3 cup worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 cup beer
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper freshly cracked
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 2 habanero peppers
  • 1/4 tsp curing salt optional


  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 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 5 cups water and 1 cup salt to remove 'gamey' flavor
  • Partially freeze meat before slicing for even strips
Nutrition Facts
Drunken Hot Deer Jerky
Amount Per Serving
Calories 164 Calories from Fat 18
% Daily Value*
Fat 2g3%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Cholesterol 77mg26%
Sodium 1275mg55%
Potassium 493mg14%
Carbohydrates 11g4%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 21g42%
Vitamin A 14IU0%
Vitamin C 4mg5%
Calcium 27mg3%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Drunken Hot Deer Jerky