If you hunt to supplement your protein diet, you have a lot of options when it comes to wild game. Besides making burger and stakes, you should look into other options to diversify your diet. Making wild game jerky is an ideal option for the hunters out there.
Wild game jerky is an ideal snack that can be carried in your survival bag. These treats are preferred by many hunters, trappers and campers. The best part is that you can make wild game jerky at home without using commercial jerky kits.
Most of the ingredients needed to prepare wild game jerky are already available in your pantry. If not, you can always do a fast shopping trip at your local supermarket.
Making wild game jerky from scratch is not complicated and it just requires patience. I’ve learned how to make wild game jerky from my father and I will share here my favorite recipes. Please be aware that some of these recipes require marinating. The cooking time also varies and it may take hours or even days to complete.
Wild Game Jerky Recipes
Waterfowl have historically been an important food source, and continue to be hunted as game to this day. There are many ways to prepare ducks and geese, but I found you can’t go wrong with wild game jerky. The following recipe was gathered from the internet and it’s now a common dish for me.
- 4 duck breasts
- ¾ cup soy sauce
- 1 ½ cup red wine
- ¾ cup teriyaki sauce
- 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
- 1 ½ teaspoon rosemary
- 2 tablespoons fresh ground peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
How to prepare:
Start by mixing all the marinade ingredients in a plastic bag (everything except the duck breasts). Fillet the duck breast meat. Make sure you remove as much fat and tendon as possible. Slice ¼ inch strips along the grain. Marinate the duck breast pieces overnight. The next day prepare the jerky using your favorite method.
Related reading: Ten Survival Hunting Essentials
When using a smoker, use the lowest heat setting possible for 5 to 7 hours.
If you are using a dehydrator, dehydrate the jerky for up to 10 hours.
When using an oven, coat the oven racks with cooking spray. Drape the meat strips on the oven racks. Open the oven door 2 inches to let air flow. Cook at 170° F for 5 to 7 hours. You can tell when the wild game jerky is done once the strips bend, but do not break.
Big game jerky
This wild game jerky recipe works with any type of red meat. I have tried it with whitetail deer, elk and moose. Other big-game animals can be used to make this type of jerky.
- 1 5pound roast
- 1 cup distilled white vinegar
- Barbeque or chipotle sauce to taste
- 1 cup salt
- Steak sauce to taste
- 1 quart water
- 1 tablespoon ground pepper
How to prepare:
Slice the meat into ¼ inch thick strips, slicing with the grain. Use a large pot to bring the water, vinegar, salt and pepper to a boil. Add the meat strips to the pot and allow simmering for 5 minutes. Remove the meat from the mixture and allow drying on a plate. Use a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. Place the strips on an oven rack and set the oven temperature at 200° F. Open the oven door 2 inches to let air flow.
Allow the meat to cook for about 90 minutes until is almost dry. Mix the steak sauce with the chipotle sauce to taste. Brush the mixture on both sides of the wild game jerky strips. Continue the cooking for another 30 minutes.
My father was a trapper. He used to bring home beavers and other animals. Making wild game jerky from beaver is the easiest way to prepare it that I know of. It’s a good way to use the animal you trapped and people say it’s similar to other type of jerky.
- 3 pounds of beaver meat
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
- 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1/3 cup steak sauce
- 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
How to prepare it:
Start by cutting the beaver meat into thin, fat-free strips. Place all the ingredients into a plastic bag. Shake well and place the bag in the refrigerator for three days. To make wild game jerky using this method requires for you to shake the bag daily.
After the three days, rinse the meat and place the strips on an oven rack. Dry the jerky strips at 200° F for 2 hours. Make sure you leave the oven door open 2 inches to let air flow. You can tell when the wild game jerky is done once the strips bend, but do not break.
Storing wild game jerky
Once you’ve cooked the desired amount of wild game jerky, you can store it for later use.
Remember: Store all food away from light and at a constant temperature, avoiding extremes of hot or cold. Garages or attics are not good places to store food, unless you live in a mild climate. Dry basements are better; always put food storage containers on shelves or on bricks or boards so that they aren’t stacked on bare concrete. Put a label or sticker on the buckets that lists the contents and the date they were made.
Really hard wild game jerky will keep for a long time, but should be stored in a dry place.
If you live in an area of high humidity or frequent rains, the jerky can be stored using a number of ways:
- Wrapping the jerky in waxed paper and dipping in wax. This is the easiest way, but may not be possible under primitive conditions.
- Wrapping in cheesecloth, and dipping in suet. This is the “classical” method used by early expeditions to the west, the old U.S. Calvary, and mountain men.
- Just dipping the jerky in melted suet. This is the least desirable method, but it works.
- Stuffing the jerky into cleaned, washed intestinal material from the meat source animal, then dip in suet. This method works well, but is more time consuming than the others.
So far, I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t love wild game jerky. Buying prepared jerky can be quite expensive. Since you are used to go hunting and you probably already have the ingredients you need in your pantry, why not make your own wild game jerky?
Wild game jerky is a great treat you can take with you in your survival bag. They provide nutritious snacks when you are traveling in the backcountry.
Useful resources to check out: