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posted November 15, 2023

Homemade Venison Jerky

If you want jerky with sweet, savory, meaty goodness in every tender bite, look no further than my Venison Jerky. My marinade has all the spicy, peppery kick jerky is known for, and the venison adds a wild taste you’re going to love.

Jerky strips wrapped in butcher paper next to knives.

Homemade Venison Jerky

There’s nothing quite like biting into a soft, chewy slice of jerky you made yourself at home. Not only do you get to control how done you like your jerky, you have complete control of the flavor profile. I’m going to walk you through everything thing you need to know, from slicing to storing, to turn out moist, tender jerky every time.

How Long it Takes to Smoke Jerky

Whether you’re treating your jerky on a smoker on in your kitchen oven, how thick you cut your venison will make a big difference. You’re going to be running your meat at 170 degrees F for 2-3 hours, assuming you cut it evenly. If you cut it too thick it can 1-2 hours drying time. If you cut it too thin, you’re going to end up with a dry jerky.

What you want is evenly cut and dried pieces of tender venison. You’re looking for them to be firm without being brittle, and bendable without being squishy. You want to keep an eye on your jerky frequently after the first hour. Rearrange it as needed will help ensure you have that same moisture in every bite of this delicious venison jerky.

Strips on venison jerky drying on smoker grates.

How to Marinate Venison for Jerky

Marinating your venison is the most important step in the flavor process. This is where you’re going to let all the sweet, savory, peppery goodness from these seasonings and spices soak into the meat. The first step is to gently massage the venison once it’s soaking in the marinade to really get the flavor in and activate the spices.

  • soy sauce
  • dark brown sugar
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • ground black pepper
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • ground coriander
  • (optional) red pepper flakes

Once you’ve given your venison a good rubdown, you want to let it continue to take in all the seasonings of your marinade in your refrigerator. You will need to plan at least 8-12 for this step. I like to give my venison a full 24 hours to take in the marinade in the refrigerator, if possible.

Soy sauce, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, ground coriander, and red pepper flakes in glass bowls on black cutting board.

How to Store Venison Jerky

One of the secrets to turning out moist, tender venison jerky every time is how I let it cool down. You’re going to end up storing your jerky in a zip top bag, which is super convenient, because that’s where you’re going to let it cool, anyway.

While the jerky is still warm, you want to move them to your zip top bags to finish cooling. The key is to not to seal the bag completely. The jerky is going to steam and help keep it moist. Once you can see the steaming has stopped, seal ‘em up and refrigerate.

How Long Does Homemade Jerky Last?

Kept in a sealed zip top bag in your refrigerator, your venison jerky is going to remain fresh and flavorful for a full 2 weeks. After that it’s going to lose a lot of its kick, but the odds are low this savory snack won’t be around long enough for anyone to know.

Marinated venison slices being dried on paper towels on baking sheet.

How to Make Venison Jerky

One of the best parts about this recipe is the fridge and smoker do most of the hard work for you. It’s just a few easy steps for you that will take you personally just a few minutes.

  1. Marinate the venison. Slice your venison against the grain in thin, even pieces, and then transfer them to a gallon sized zip top bag. Pour in all the ingredients for your marinade. Make sure you massage the marinade into the meat well before moving to your fridge to soak in the all the spices and bring out the natural, wild flavor of the venison.
  2. Preheat your oven or smoker. Preheat your smoker (or oven) to approximately 170 degrees F. You’re definitely going to be doing this more by the finish or your jerky than an exact time or temperature, but this is a good range to work in.
  3. Smoke the marinated meat. Once you’ve got your smoker heating, you want to get your venison ready to go on. Remove it from the marinade and lay it on paper towels to remove any excess juice. You want to dry them thoroughly before moving them to your smoker. After that you just want to keep an eye that they’re cooking evenly and rearrange as needed.
  4. Steam, store, and enjoy. Once your jerky is ready to cool down, you want to give it 2-3 minutes to cool before moving it to a gallon zip top bag while still warm. Leave the bag open slightly for that steaming process to help lock in that desired moisture. That’s it. It’s ready to store and snack on.

Venison jerky strips wrapped in peach butcher paper in front of knives on cutting board.

More Jerky Recipes

Now that you’ve experienced tender, peppery venison jerky, here are some more of my favorite jerky recipes:

Venison Jerky Recipe

Once you finish drying and enjoying your venison jerky, be sure to rate it 5 stars and leave me a comment letting me know how great it turned out. Also, don’t miss out on all the latest recipes and news by following me on YouTubeInstagram, and Facebook. Because Hey Grill Hey is here to help you become a backyard BBQ hero.

Venison jerky strips wrapped in peach butcher paper in front of knives on cutting board.

Homemade Venison Jerky

Susie Bulloch
Get the sweet, savory goodness you love in traditional jerky with a unique, wild twist in every tender bite of my homemade Venison Jerky.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time : 10 mins
Cook Time : 3 hrs
Marindating Time : 12 hrs
Total Time : 3 hrs 10 mins
Servings : 4 people
Calories : 420kcal


  • 2 pounds venison (sliced thin against grain)


  • 2/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper (freshly ground)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)


  • Marinate the venison. Slice venison thin and transfer to a gallon sized zip top bag. Add all marinade ingredients. Seal bags and massage meat gently, then place in refrigerator for 8-12 hours.
    2 pounds venison, 2/3 cup soy sauce, 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 2 teaspoons black pepper, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, 2 teaspoons onion powder, 1 teaspoon ground coriander, 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Preheat your oven or smoker. Preheat your smoker or oven to approximately 170 degrees F. Follow any preheating or preparation instructions if using a dehydrator.
  • Smoke the marinated meat. Remove venison from the marinade and dry thoroughly with with paper towels. Place directly on grill grates 2-3 hours. Check often and arrange as needed for even cook.
  • Steam, store, and enjoy. Place the finished jerky in a gallon zip top bag while it is still warm, and leave partially unsealed. Once steaming stops, seal bags and refrigerate.


Calories: 420kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 57g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 193mg | Sodium: 2404mg | Potassium: 965mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 160IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 10mg
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