Venison jerky may not be one of the first things you think of when it comes to seasonal foods, but I'm here to change that with this fall inspired recipe. The naturally sweet apple cider pairs nicely with smokiness and mild heat of the chipotles in adobo.
What are chipotles in adobo? They are simply smoked jalapenos that are packed into a rich seasoned tomato based sauce. You can find them at any Mexican grocery, most chain grocery stores and online.
The key to getting the best flavor is to use a natural apple cider that isn't flavored with a bunch of preservatives or additives. This will give you maximum crisp apple flavors whether the cider is for cooking or for drinking. You can usually find the good stuff at local farmers markets or higher end grocery stores.
The next important part (which is personal preference) is to decide whether to slice your venison with or against the grain. Slicing with the grain will result in a chewier jerky with longer stands that is a little tough to pull apart. Slicing against the grain will give you something that is much easier to pull apart with your teeth and that will break down faster when chewing.
As far as drying your meat you have a few basic options. You want to have your temperature set somewhere between 145 to 155 degrees F, so your equipment is important. I prefer to use a dehydrator due to the fact that they are very accurate with the temperatures and you don't have to constantly check on it if you are using a quality brand. I personally use the LEM Mighty Bite Dehydrator and it consistently produces delicious jerky time and time again.
You can also use your oven set on the lowest temperature while leaving the door cracked. Just be sure that you monitor the temperature or the quality of your jerky will drastically decline. Using a smoker is also a good option if you are able to dial in and monitor the temperature. But to keep the flavors a little cleaner, I'd save the smoker technique for a different jerky recipe.
Now if you're at all worried about food safety or if you have a local "meat police" around (as Emeril Lagasse used to say), using a little curing salt in the marinade will keep those fears at bay. It also helps give the meat a nice color and a little added twang flavor.
Larry White (@wildgamegourmet) is a hunter, avid outdoorsman and former restaurant chef whose life revolves around food and being in wild places. He grew up in the foothills of North Carolina spending his childhood hunting, fishing and walking the woods as much as possible. He was also lucky enough to grow-up beside of his grandma who was a phenomenal cook and the person that ultimately inspired Larry to become a chef.