Native Americans had Pemmican, Ancient Romans had Coppiette, people in various regions of Africa produced Quant’a, Kilishi, and Biltong. All these recipes are a bit different, but the core process is the same: Take a quality cut of meat, spice it, then dry it by sun, smoke, or time. Jerky is universal, and it’s as good a snack today, as it was for cavemen and pharaohs. The following recipes are easy to replicate with a pellet smoker or food dehydrator, turning last year’s deer into the perfect on-the-go snack.

1. Ginger & Garlic Smoked Venison Jerky

This whole-meat jerky recipe comes from Chef Jeremiah Doughty, of I made it on our pellet smoker grill at home and it’s absolutely delicious. It’s a bold, powerful, grown-up jerky for people who like big flavors.


  • 1-pound venison sliced thinly, 1/8 inch
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 tsp. cracked pepper
  • 1 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • ¼ tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder


  1. Mix all the seasoning in a glass bowl or blender.
  2. Add sliced meat and make sure it is covered completely.
  3. Marinate for 4 to 24 hours.
  4. Set the smoker to 180 degrees (the “low smoke” and “keep warm” settings work, too).
  5. Remove meat from marinade, and place directly on the grill grate.
  6. After one hour, flip the jerky.
  7. Watch it until the jerky is dried yet still soft—around 2 to 4 hours.
  8. Remove from smoker, place immediately in a Ziploc bag, and place in the fridge. This step will make a soft “Store Bought” style jerky. It helps the meat stay tender and moist. If you want a dried hard jerky, you can skip this.
  9. Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Read Next: The Ultimate Guide to Making Wild Game Jerky

2. Shea’s Simple Snack Sticks

My wife and I came up with this while trying to develop a case-less Slim Jim recipe for our food dehydrator. Mild, but flavorful, it’s quickly become our kids’ favorite snack. Make it in lamb casings with a sausage press and cure in a smoker, and it tastes even better.


  • 3 pounds of wild game meat
  • 1-pound pork steak, or any fatty cut of pork
  • 4 tbsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. #1 curing salt
  • 2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp. granulated garlic
  • 4 tbsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 3 tsp. sugar
  • ½ cup of ice water


  1. Cut the meat into 1-inch cubes.
  2. Add all the seasonings to the cut meat and mix.
  3. Run the seasoned meat through a meat grinder using a 4mm or ⅛-inch grinder plate—or whatever is the finest setting on your grinder.
  4. Run the ground meat through the grinder a second time.
  5. Add the ½ cup of ice water and knead vigorously until mixture is the consistency of bread dough.
  6. Bag in a Ziploc and let sit in the fridge for 4 to 24 hours.
  7. Remove meat from the fridge, and load it into a jerky cannon with a thin circular tip. A piping bag works, too. Make “Slim Jims” with the gun or bag, lining them up on a dehydrator tray.
  8. Dehydrate at 145-degrees for 3 to 4 hours. You’ll know they’re done when they snap in the hand rather than crumble.
  9. Finish in an oven for a few minutes at 160-degrees.
  10. Bag in a Ziplock and run under cold water immediately to stop the cooking.
  11. Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Read Next: Best Dehydrators for Jerky