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Updated: Jun 12

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Spicy 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 the smokiness and mild heat of the chipotles in adobo and makes the perfect jerky in my opinion.

Spicy Venison Jerky Recipe


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 out of your jerky is to use a natural apple cider. Natural cider 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 drinking. You can usually find this at local farmers' markets or higher-end grocery stores.

spicy venison jerky recipe dehydrator


The next important part (which happens to be a personal preference) is to decide whether to slice your venison with or against the grain of the meat. Slicing with the grain will result in a chewy 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. 

Spicy Venison Jerky


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 because they are very accurate with the temperature settings.

You also don't have to constantly check on them for accuracy. I personally use the LEM Mighty Bite Dehydrator and it consistently produces delicious jerky time and time again.    

You can also dry the venison in your oven. You will want to dehydrate the meat in around a 170 to 180-degree oven while leaving the door slightly cracked. The best practice for this method is to place the meat on a wire rack fitted inside a baking sheet.

The wire rack promotes airflow around the jerky and any remaining moisture will drip onto the pan during the drying process. Just be sure that you monitor the temperature or the quality of your jerky will drastically decline. 

Using a pellet grill or smoker is also a good option if the equipment allows you to dial in and monitor the temperature. But to keep the flavors a little cleaner, I'd save this technique for a traditional smoked venison jerky recipe.

If you're worried about bacterial growth, using a little curing salt in the marinade will keep those fears at bay while giving the jerky an extended shelf life. It also helps give the meat a nice color and a little added twang flavor. Instacure number 1 is my recommended curing salt that I have been using for almost two decades.

Looking for other wild game recipes? These are some of my favorites:

Lastly, if you make this spicy deer jerky recipe, be sure to leave a rating and a comment below! Also, tag me on Instagram with some of your creations. I thoroughly enjoy hearing feedback and checking out the photos of recipes that you've made.



Prep Time: 30 Minutes

Drying Time: 4 to 6 hours

Author: Larry White


  • 3 pounds of venison, silver skin removed (top round, bottom round, sirloin or backstrap)

For the Jerky Marinade

  • 2 cups apple cider (best you can find)

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce

  • 1/4 cup chipotles in adobo

  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

  • 1/2 teaspoon minced ginger

  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped (green and white parts)

  • 5 garlic cloves (chopped)

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • Optional: 3/4 teaspoon curing salt (Instacure No. 1)


  1. In a non-reactive large bowl add all of the ingredients except the deer meat. Stir until well combined. At this point you can adjust the salt and sugar content to your liking.

  2. Using a very sharp knife or a meat slicer, cut the venison against the grain or with the grain into 1/8 to 1/4 inch slices.

  3. Add the sliced venison to the marinade and mix until the meat is thoroughly coated. Pour this mixture into a non-reactive container that is just big enough to hold everything. This ensures that the meat stays submerged. Alternately you can use a gallon freezer ziplock bag as long as the meat stays submerged in the marinade.

  4. Marinade the venison for 24 to 36 hours.

  5. Drain the meat and discard any excess marinade. Place the venison strips in a single layer on the dehydrator racks while ensuring they are not touching. You want as much air as possible to circulate all sides of the meat. If you are using your oven, place the meat onto metal wire racks that are inserted into cookie sheet pans.

  6. Set the dehydrator or oven between 145 and 155 degrees F. The drying time should be roughly between 4-6 hours. Check the meat by bending a few pieces. You'll know they are ready if they start to break apart while bent.  

  7. You can store the jerky inside of plastic zip-top bags or another airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 2 months. Bring to room temperature before eating.


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Meet Larry White

Chef Larry White

Hey folks, I'm Larry. The recipes you'll find here are inspired by my years as a chef, travels as a hunter, and being a father. I cook from these experiences, so my food ranges anywhere from fun and creative to traditional and to what somewhat family style comfort food.     

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