Brown Sugar and Molasses Jerky

We have been making our own jerky for too many years to count. In the beginning, it was all about economics, because jerky was too expensive to buy over the counter. Since venison was plentiful enough at the time, I began experimenting with various flavor combinations until I came up with an acceptable alternative to store bought.

1 lb venison bottom round (454 g)
1 1/2 tsp pickling salt (9.75 g)
1/4 tsp pink curing salt #1 (1.4 g)
1/4 tsp liquid smoke (1.25 ml)
1/2 tsp mace (1.3 g)
1/2 tsp onion powder (1.8 g) )
1/2 tsp garlic powder (1.55 g)
1 tsp white pepper (2.7 g)
1 1/2 tbsp molasses (32 g)
1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar, packed (22 g)
1/2 cup ice cold water (118 ml)

1. Cut away all visible fat and connective tissue from the venison, chill to 31°F (-0.55°C) then slice into 1/4” (0.64 cm) thick strips.
2. Cut across the grain for a tender bite or with the grain for a chewy bite.
3. Combine remaining ingredients in a non-reactive container, mix well, add meat strips, cover, and refrigerate overnight to cure.
4. Arrange cured meat strips on oiled racks in a single layer, leave enough space between the pieces to allow sufficient air flow.
5. Dry meat strips at 145°F (63°C) in usual manner until meat is dried to about 40-50% of its original weight (green weight).
6. Depending on meat thickness and the drying method , whole muscle jerky can take 6-12 hours to dry.*
7. Properly dried jerky should keep up to 2 weeks in a sealed container or you can vacuum seal and freeze up to 3 months.

*To test for doneness, remove one piece of jerky from drying device and allow it to cool slightly. Bend the test piece into the shape of a horseshoe. If it cracks but doesn’t break, it’s considered dry enough and ready to eat.

Because there is a possibility of microorganism contamination, do not reuse the marinade once the meat has been removed. Safety first––throw it away.