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Categorized | Outdoors

What to do with plenty of venison

By J. Wayne Fears

At 3 a.m., I looked at my hunting buddy John and said, “We’ve got a problem. A major problem.” In my home state of Alabama, you can harvest more deer than you can eat. At one time, Alabama was so overpopulated that hunters could take could take two deer a day from October 15 to January 31, and in some areas, hunters could take even more. During that time, I was managing a property that had a severe overpopulation of white-tailed deer on it. The body weights were declining, as well as the bucks’ antler development. We knew unless we took off a large number of unantlered deer, the deer had the potential to be susceptible to parasites, disease and starvation. We got permission from the state’s Wildlife Section to harvest a certain number of does after the season. In one afternoon, John and I took 37 does, which was a lot of fun until we started cleaning those deer. We started cleaning and butchering deer at dark. As the sun started to rise, we had all the deer at least quartered, and some of them we had boned-out. We had a tremendous amount of venison, but very-little freezer space.

One of the ways to solve this problem is to reduce the size and the weight of the meat by making it into jerky. However, if you only have one recipe for jerky, two families will have a difficult time eating 37 deer in one year. If you season that meat in a variety of ways, you can eat jerky almost every meal in some form or fashion. Jerky makes a great substitute for beef, it’s leaner, contains no hormones and is all natural. Therefore, part of the solution as to what to do with the meat from 37 deer was to make jerky. This week, we’re going to give you a wide variety of jerky recipes – two free jerky recipes per day. To learn how to use these recipes in the quickest, easiest, cheapest and most-fun way, be sure to purchase a copy of my book, “How to Make Jerky and Pemmican.” Jerky is an excellent snack food, trail food and can be used as the meat for main dishes.

Jerky in a Jiffy

When early cavemen and Native Americans made jerky, the process often required several days. Thanks to the microwave and new technology, you can make a good batch of jerky in minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2-pound trimmed venison
  • 1/4-teaspoon salt
  • 1/3-teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon MSG (Accent seasoning)
  • 1/4-teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4-cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4-cup soy sauce
  • 1/4-cup water
  • 6 drops Liquid Smoke

Preparation:

Cut meat into 1/8-inch-thick strips (this is easier if the meat is slightly frozen). Combine the ingredients, and marinate meat in refrigerator overnight. Place the meat strips in a microwave roasting rack. Set the microwave on high, and cook the meat for 4 minutes. After 4 minutes, cook the jerky in 30-second increments, checking often, until the jerky is dark brown and leathery.

Rainy-Day Jerky

This type of jerky takes a little longer, but it’s a great rainy or snowy day project in which the entire family can get involved.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds round steak or venison, 1-inch thick
  • 1/2-cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons parsley flakes
  • 1/4-teaspoon garlic powder (optional)

Note: Chili powder, barbecue salt, paprika, horseradish, onion salt or flakes or other spices of your own also may be used in the marinade.

Preparation:

Slice steak into 1/2-inch-wide strips, and place in a single layer in a pan or baking dish. Mix other ingredients, and pour over meat. Marinate in refrigerator overnight. Remove, and place meat carefully on cookie sheet. Dry in 175-degree oven for one hour, and then reduce temperature to 150 degrees. Continue baking strips in the oven until dry, but pliable, 1 to 3 hours. Cool jerky, and store in tightly-sealed containers.

In my book, “How to Make Jerky and Pemmican,” I give you some easy, step-by-step procedures for making jerky and pemmican. Using the guidelines found in this book, you can make a wide variety of jerky for many-different occasions. Making jerky is fun for the entire family, especially on rainy days when the children are at home and looking for an activity or project. To order “How to Make Jerky and Pemmican,” visit www.jwaynefearsbrand.com.

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