December 01, 2009
The Best Meat for Venison Jerky (and How to Slice It)
By Hank Shaw
A venison preparation tip from Hank Shaw, author of the award-winning food blog Hunter Angler Gardener Cook
Nearly every part of the deer can be made into jerky, but the best cuts are the eye round and rump roast from the hind legs. Any large roast from the hind leg will do. Why? Big cuts mean larger pieces of jerky, and these roasts have most of their muscle fibers running in the same direction. This is important.
To our mind, the best jerky is pliable yet chewy—and doesn’t make you gnaw on dried muscle fibers longer than your hand. That means cutting against the grain of the meat, in 1/8-inch-thich slices. Don’t cut too thin or the venison will dry out like a shingle on your roof. The best way to get this cut every time is to partially freeze the meat: A large roast will need 90 minutes to 2 hours in the chiller before cutting.