Wild Recipes

Garlic and Soy Venison Jerky

Let’s face it. If you stockpile venison scraps for stew, burger and sausage, you likely have some random holdings suitable for jerky. It may be simpler to grind those scraps, but this easy homemade jerky recipe will motivate you to find more value in the scraps or devote more of your deer to a jerky stash. When it comes to venison, anything including pepper, garlic, Worcestershire and soy can produce magic, and this recipe is no different. A slight salty kick from the soy, tang from the pepper and Worcestershire, and a lingering sweetness from the softened, marinated venison ensures a fresh batch won’t last long. Perfect for a family snack or to toss into your day pack for a hike or hunt, look no further for an ideal, portable protein punch than your freezer and refrigerator doors.

Serving size: 8 – 12 30 minutes to 1 hour prep

Time to make: 8 to 12 hours drying time

Special Equipment: Dehydrator

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2 lbs clean, stripped venison (maximum ¼-inch thick strips)


8 cloves minced or shredded garlic

4 Tbsp brown sugar (add another for a sweeter finish)

½ Cup Worcestershire sauce

1 Cup soy sauce

Optional Ingredients

1 Tsp to 1 Tbsp cayenne or hot paprika for some color and heat 

Substitute ¼ Cup of soy for ¼ Cup red wine vinegar (may want to add 1 Tbsp kosher salt as well)


  1. Clean all fat and excess connective tissue from venison scraps. This may take up to an hour depending on the status of the scraps or cuts used.
  2. Cut maximum ¼-inch strips against or quartering across the grain of the meat.
  3. Mix all marinade ingredients in a large bowl or plastic bag.
  4. Submerge the venison and marinate for 12 to 24 hours, depending upon how soft and heavily flavored you prefer your jerky. I recommend 18 hours, mixing thoroughly once or twice over that time.
  5. Drain marinade from venison and squeeze out any excess juice.
  6. If using a professional dehydrator, set to 155* degrees Fahrenheit (68.3 degrees Celsius).
  7. Dehydrate for 8 to 12 hours (depending on thickness), remove and enjoy.
  8. Store long-term in the refrigerator or freezer.

*The USDA recommends heating red meat to 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71.1 degrees Celsius) to kill all bacteria prior to dehydrating. Heating prior to dehydration is recommended as bacteria may become more heat resistant during dehydration.

Brad Trumbo

Senior Staff Writer at Harvesting Nature Brad is an author and outdoor columnist who lives in southeast Washington State with his wife Ali and a pack of Llewellin setters on a small homestead. He serves the public as a fish and wildlife biologist and active Pheasants Forever life member. He pens conservation news for Harvesting Nature and authored the upland hunting book, Wingshooting the Palouse, which is available from Ingram Content Group and Amazon. You can find Brad on Instagram @tailfeathers_upland and @palouse_upland_media.

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