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Sweet & Smoky Venison Jerky Recipe

Sweet, smoky and spicy — this is my favorite combination for jerky, and you'll find all these flavors in this venison recipe.

Sweet & Smoky Venison Jerky Recipe
Sweet & Smoky Venison Jerky Recipe (Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley photo)
Print Recipe

I bet you’ll have a hard time keeping yourself from eating this entire venison jerky recipe in one sitting. In fact, I suggest doubling the recipe. Then, if you can control yourself, store the venison jerky in plastic zip-top bags in the refrigerator; they will keep for 1 to 2 months this way. For even longer storage, vacuum seal jerky and freeze.

Prep time: 25 hours

Dehydration time: 3 to 4 hours


    • 1 pound venison roast
    • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
    • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
    • 3 teaspoons liquid smoke
    • ½ teaspoon black pepper
    • 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
    • ½ cup cold water
    • ½ teaspoon ground sumac, optional
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • ¼ teaspoon Prague powder/instacure #1 pink curing salt


1. Remove all silver skin and visible fat off venison roast. Pat dry with paper towels and set in the freezer for 1 hour to firm up. Meanwhile in a small bowl, mix together all ingredients except the venison. (Compared to other recipes, this jerky is lower in sodium. If you like a saltier jerky, add pickling salt.)

2. Once meat is firm, cut thinly (about ¼-inch thick) against the grain. Place meat inside a plastic zip-top bag and pour marinade over meat. Massage the bag to distribute the marinade and refrigerate for at least 24 hours.

3. Remove meat from the marinade, shaking off excess moisture, and then lay the meat onto the drying racks of your dehydrator. Make sure the pieces are not overcrowded, not touching each other, for good airflow. Set your dehydrator to 160 degrees. The jerky is done when you can bend it and see stringy, white cracks. My jerky finished drying in about 3 hours. I like my jerky with a bit of a soft chew, but if you like really dry, brittle jerky, let it go longer in the dehydrator.

Tip: I occasionally rotated the racks for even drying. You can also double this recipe, but drying times will vary depending on the make and model of your dehydrator and how many racks you stack together. To be on the safe side, I dry my jerky in smaller batches. Check the jerky after 20 and 30 minutes to make sure your jerky doesn’t get too dry.

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