The inspiration for this jerky came from my love for a good breakfast sausage. This was the last of my venison from this past hunting season, and i'm thrilled the jerky turned out tasting great!
Common sausage ingredients like sage and thyme are the main flavors found in First Light Deer Jerky. The cayenne pepper also can't be missed, it gives this jerky a definite kick!
The venison was sliced with the grain making this a chewier jerky. You can slice against the grain if you don't like too much of a chew. The venison was marinated for 18 hours which gave it an immense amount of flavor.
The jerky was strained, but not dried with paper towels as some of my recipes are. You can do that with this recipe, but I didn't want to wipe off any of the thyme or sage during this process. If you do decide to dry with paper towels, just dab each piece lightly to get off the excess marinade.
After straining the jerky, the jerky slices were placed on a baking rack so air can flow on top as well as around the bottom of the jerky slices for the initial heat treatment. The baking rack sat on top of a aluminum foil lined cookie sheet. This helps make the clean up SO much easier! I then baked in a pre-heated oven at 300F for 12 minutes with the oven door closed.
The reason I did an initial heat treatment on this deer jerky is because I did not use a curing salt. This initial heat treatment makes sure that the jerky reaches an internal temperature of 160F killing any potential bacteria. After the initial heat treatment, the jerky was transferred to my Nesco Snackmaster Pro Dehydrator to be finished off.
After drying for 2 hours at 160F, the heat was turned down to 145F and dried for an additional 1.5 hours. That's all it took to dry this deer jerky to my liking.
It turned out tasting great too! The flavors this jerky has will remind you of your favorite breakfast sausage. This does have a pretty good kick, so if you don't want a spicy jerky, I would cut the red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper in half. Enjoy!
For more in depth directions on how to dry your beef or deer jerky, visit my page Jerky Making Methods or click on the pictures below.
- 1 lb Venison (Beef can also be used)
- 2 teaspoon rubbed sage
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground thyme
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ cup cold water
- ¼ teaspoon Curing Salt (Prague Powder #1)
- Trim all visible fat from the venison and place in freezer for an hour or two to partially freeze.
- While the meat is in the freezer, combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl or ziplock bag and mix well.
- Remove the meat from the freezer and slice ¼" strips with the grain for a chewy jerky. Cut against the grain for less of a chew.
- Add sliced venison to the mixture in a ziplock bag or bowl and marinate for 8-24 hours in the refrigerator.
- After the meat has finished marinating, remove from refrigerator and strain excess marinade in a colander.
- Place jerky strips on a baking rack on top of an aluminum lined cookie sheet
- Place in a 300F pre-heated oven for 12 minutes.
- Remove from oven and dry with your favorite jerky making method. I used my Nesco Dehydrator and dried for 2 hours at 160F & 1.5 hours at 145F.
- The jerky is finished when it bends and cracks, but does not break in half.
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Marty Cressman says
What would be your recommendation to adapt this to ground meat? Thanks! Awesome site!
Thanks Marty! Keep everything the same except for cut the water to about 1/4 cup instead of a 1/2 cup. That should do it.
John Beitel says
Just made this last week , it was delicious .
Just wondering how you decide weather or not to use curing salt ?
Love the site , sure appreciate all the hard work and research you put in and share .
Thanks John! Curing salt can be used on any recipe. I use it on about half of my recipes to show people that you can use it or not. I talk a little more about it on my FAQ page.