Our Christmas Venison Jerky recipe is perfect for the festive period with its marinade of spices, orange and pine needles.That said, it still tastes just as delicious whatever the time of year.
Drying meat into delicious jerky is a preservation method that has been used for thousands of years for good reason. Not only does it taste fantastic, but it is also nutritionally dense, easy to transport and has a long shelf life. All my family love jerky, and it’s a great alternative to all the sugary snacks that the kids, in particular, are drawn to.
This year, my family and I have made the commitment to swap out as many shop bought snacks for home-made as we can. We aim to have more control over what we eat, reduce the packaging we use and to spend our money more wisely. Over Christmas, we were sent the perfect tool to make this happen.
Disclaimer: We are delighted to have the opportunity to collaborate with VonShef and try out their 5 Tier Dehydrator.
About the VonShef 5 Tier Dehydrator
The VonShef 5 Tier Food Dehydrator is designed to dehydrate and preserve a vast range of foods. These include meats, fish, fruit, herbs and vegetables. In fact, once you look into it, there’s actually very little that can’t be dehydrated. This dehydrator is perfect for drying fruit and vegetables to make healthy snacks, but the machine can also be used for so much more. Raw Crackers, Jerky and fruit leather, drying herbs for teas and bath products and dehydrating mixes to make soup bases and camping meals. You can even use it to make your own home-made dog chews.
I’ve found my new dehydrator super simple to use as it comes with an instruction manual that includes temperature and drying time guidelines to help you achieve your desired results. It works by using a flow-drying system that slowly extracts moisture and uses low heat levels to prevent bacterial growth, preserve food and retain nutrients and flavour. It is definitely easier to get consistent results using the dehydrator than drying food on or in the Aga as I did before and I can’t wait to try it out with my Nettle Crisps and Fruit Leather recipes.
Before my dehydrator even arrived, I knew that the first thing I was going to use it for was making Jerky. My Christmas Venison Jerky recipe combines my love of wild food and Christmas perfectly and if I do say myself really is extremely good.
What I used for my Fantastic Christmas Venison Jerky
• Approximately 1kg Venison
• 180mls Soy Sauce
• 35mls Red Wine Vinegar
• Juice of 2 Oranges
• 2 tablespoons Dark Brown Sugar
• 1 teaspoon Ground Ginger
• 1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
• 12 cloves
• 8 All Spice Berries
• 1 Teaspoon Mace
• 2 tablespoons Edible Pine Needles (Mine came from our Nordmann Fir Christmas Tree)
I have given exact measurements for my ingredients but should point out that I put in what took my fancy at the time for my jerky marinade. The soy sauce and vinegar do both play a part in the preservation and tenderisation of the meat and are traditional ingredients in a wet jerky marinade. But the other ingredients are very much down to taste and can be easily varied to suit what you have and what flavours that you like.
Traditionally Beef Silverside is the cut of choice for making Jerky. Lean meat is chosen as fat doesn’t preserve in the same way as the meat and will spoil much quicker. So trim any fat from the meat that you select. I used venison haunch for this recipe and cut all the fat from the meat before I sliced it.
How to Make Fantastic Christmas Venison Jerky
Trim all the fat from the venison and slice it into 2-3 mm strips. Lay them in a shallow bowl that is big enough to hold both them and the marinade
Grind the Cloves, Allspice, Mace and Pine Needles roughly in a spice grinder then combine them with the other ingredients to make the marinade. Give everything a good mix to dissolve the sugar.
Pour the marinade over the meat, cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
Once the 24 hours have passed, fish the meat out of the marinade and lay it out on a paper towel with more on top to absorb any excess moisture.
Lay the strips of venison out on the dehydrator trays making sure they don’t touch each other and that you have left plenty of gaps so that the air can circulate.
I dried my Christmas Venison Jerky at 70C. I turned all the pieces over after about 3 hours and left it to dry in total for about 6 hours.
And here is our dried Christmas Venison Jerky. It is surprisingly tender and tastes delicious. All the flavours come through when you eat it. – I couldn’t be more delighted with the finished product.
I can’t wait to try out some more recipes in my VonShef Dehydrator, and I will make sure I share the more interesting ones with you.