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Rosemary Pear Deer Jerky

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There is something about having fresh fruit as an ingredient in jerky that just makes it taste SOOOO good. I like the pear because it’s not too overpowering. They input a great flavor without overpowering the overall taste of the jerky.

Rosemary and a pear with deer jerky on white background

Slicing The Meat

I have been defrosting the last of the venison in my freezer from last hunting season. This is one of the last four jerky recipes I was able to make with whats left of my venison supply.

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!


Making The Marinade

This rosemary and pear are the center of this recipe. They are the real flavor and give this venison jerky the nice smooth taste that it has.

Start with a fresh pear from your grocery store or farmers market. Slice the pear into smaller pieces and bust out your blender. Whenever using fresh ingredients such as a pear, blending 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.

sliced rosemary on cutting board with blender next to it with liquid ingredients

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 ziplock 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. 

deer jerky straining of marinade 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. 

Venison 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.

Venison jerky on dehydrator trays

After patting the strips dry, place the jerky strips into a dehydrator, oven, or smoker. I used my Nesco 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 bending showing white fibers with pear 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.

Venison jerky with pear and rosemary

It took about 4 hours at 165°F to be done just right. The jerky turned out tasting pretty good! It had a mild pear flavor and not much spice from the red pepper. This is definitely a mild jerky, so if you are looking for more of a kick you can make some adjustments. Increasing the red pepper will give it more spice and increasing the sugar will make it a little more sweet.

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
  • Increase red pepper for spicier jerky
  • 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.

Rosemary and a pear with deer jerky on white background

Rosemary Pear Deer Jerky

Fresh ingredients really give this jerky a great flavor that will have you wishing you made a bigger batch.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 5 hours
Course: Beef Jerky, deer jerky, venison jerky
Cuisine: American
Keyword: beef jerky, Deer Jerky, Jerky, Venison Jerky
Type: Game Jerky
Servings: 5
Calories: 186kcal
Author: Will


Lean Meat


  • 1 pear
  • 3 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup apple juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp rosemary dried or fresh
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp curing salt optional


  • Trim all visible fat from the venison or beef and place in freezer for an hour or two to partially freeze.
  • 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. 
  • 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.
  • Add sliced venison or beef to the mixture in the ziplock bag or bowl and marinate for 6-24 hours in the refrigerator.
  • After the meat has finished marinating, remove from refrigerator and strain excess marinade in a colander and pat dry with paper towels.
  • Dry with your favorite jerky making method. I used my Nesco Dehydrator and dried for 4 hours at 165F.
  • 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.


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
  • Partially freeze meat before slicing for even strips


Calories: 186kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 77mg | Sodium: 967mg | Potassium: 441mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 59IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 4mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Rosemary Pear Deer Jerky