Master the Snack Game: Learn How to Eat Jerky in Easy Steps

  • By: Chester Brown
  • Time to read: 19 min.
Chester Brown
Introducing Chester Brown, the creative force behind Flying Jerky and the visionary author behind the exhilarating journey chronicled on Chester's passion for adventure and premium jerky has converged to create a unique platform that not only celebrates the thrill of exploration but also tantalizes taste buds with the finest jerky selections.

Jerky has a long and rich history dating back to ancient civilizations like the Egyptians and Incas. If you’re a fan of this delicious snack, then it’s time to learn how to eat jerky like a pro. Whether you prefer beef, turkey, or venison jerky, mastering the art of enjoying jerky will take your snacking experience to the next level. In this guide, we will take you through the steps of selecting the right meat, cutting or grinding it, choosing the drying method, and storing your jerky properly. Get ready to indulge in the savory and satisfying world of jerky!

Contents show

How to Eat Jerky Key Takeaways:

  • Start by selecting high-quality cuts of lean meat for the best jerky.
  • Cut the meat against the grain into thin strips for a tender texture.
  • Choose from oven drying, dehydrator drying, or smoking methods to dry your jerky.
  • Properly store your jerky in the refrigerator or freezer to maintain its freshness.
  • Follow food safety practices to prevent any risk of foodborne illness.

How to Eat Jerky: Selecting the Right Meat for Making Jerky

When it comes to making delicious jerky, selecting the right meat is key. To ensure the best results, it’s important to choose high-quality cuts that are lean and have little intermuscular fat. Popular choices include backstrap or hindquarter cuts from wild game such as deer, elk, or moose. These cuts are known for their tender texture and rich flavor.

Avoiding fatty cuts is essential as fat can spoil and take longer to dry. By opting for lean cuts, you’ll not only achieve a better texture in your jerky but also enhance its overall quality. Freshness is also crucial, so be sure to choose meat that is of the highest quality to ensure the best flavor.

Choosing High-Quality Cuts of Meat for Jerky

MeatRecommended Cuts
DeerBackstrap, hindquarter
ElkBackstrap, hindquarter
MooseBackstrap, hindquarter

In summary, selecting the right meat for making jerky is crucial to achieving the best results. By choosing lean cuts with little intermuscular fat, such as backstrap or hindquarter cuts from wild game, you’ll ensure a tender and flavorful jerky. Remember to prioritize freshness and quality to enhance the overall taste of your homemade jerky.

Cutting or Grinding the Meat

Once you have selected the right meat for making jerky, it’s time to prepare it by cutting or grinding. Properly cutting the meat is essential for achieving the desired texture and flavor of your jerky. Start by slicing the meat against the grain, which means cutting perpendicular to the muscle fibers. This technique will result in a softer and easier-to-chew jerky.

It is recommended to slice the meat into thin strips, about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. These thin strips will dry more evenly and quickly, ensuring that your jerky is both delicious and tender. If you don’t have large premium cuts of meat, you can also make ground-meat jerky. Simply remove the fat and silver skin from the meat and grind it through a meat grinder. Ground meat jerky can be piped with a jerky gun to create snack sticks.

By cutting the meat against the grain into thin strips or using ground meat, you’ll be able to enjoy a flavorful and satisfying jerky that is perfect for snacking on the go or as a protein-packed addition to your favorite recipes.

Drying Methods for Jerky

When it comes to making jerky, there are three main drying methods you can choose from: oven drying, dehydrator drying, and smoking. Each method offers its own unique benefits and can result in delicious, homemade jerky.

Oven Drying

Oven drying is the simplest method for making jerky. To dry your jerky in the oven, start by laying the jerky strips on a rack and placing them in the oven at its lowest setting. This method typically takes several hours, with occasional flipping of the jerky to ensure even drying. While it may require more attention and monitoring, oven drying can produce excellent results.

Dehydrator Drying

Dehydrator drying is a popular choice for making jerky. It involves using a low-heat vented electric oven with a fan to keep air flowing around the jerky strips. The dehydrator provides a controlled environment, ensuring consistent and even drying. Simply place the jerky strips on the dehydrator trays, set the temperature and timer according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and let the dehydrator do its job. This method is convenient and efficient, making it a preferred choice for many jerky enthusiasts.


Smoking is another option for drying jerky and can add an extra layer of flavor to your meat. Smokers, such as pellet smokers, can be used to achieve a smoky flavor profile. The temperature settings on smokers can be adjusted to maintain the desired level of smoke and heat. Smoking jerky takes longer compared to other methods, but the end result is well worth the wait for those who enjoy a smoky taste.

Whether you choose to oven dry, use a dehydrator, or smoke your jerky, each method has its advantages. Experiment with different drying techniques to find the one that works best for you and produces the texture and flavor you desire.

Storing Your Jerky

Once the jerky is dried to the desired texture, it’s important to store it properly to maintain its freshness. After cooling the jerky, it should be kept in a secure container, but not airtight, to prevent the growth of mold. It’s recommended to space out the individual jerky pieces and avoid packing them together tightly.

If you expect it will take more than a week to consume all the jerky, it should be stored in the refrigerator. For longer storage, it can be frozen, where it can keep for months.

Proper Storage Guidelines

  1. Allow the jerky to cool completely before storing it.
  2. Place the jerky in a secure container, leaving some space between the pieces.
  3. Avoid packing the jerky tightly to prevent moisture buildup.
  4. If you plan to consume the jerky within a week, refrigeration is sufficient.
  5. For longer storage, freezing the jerky is recommended.
  6. When freezing, divide the jerky into portion-sized packages for convenience.
  7. Label each package with the date to keep track of its freshness.

Proper storage is essential for preserving the flavor and quality of your homemade jerky. By following these guidelines, you can enjoy your jerky for an extended period, ensuring a delicious snack whenever you crave it.

Storage MethodDuration
RefrigerationUp to 1 week
FreezingUp to several months

Food Safety and Hygiene Tips

When it comes to making jerky, ensuring food safety and maintaining proper hygiene is of utmost importance. By following these tips, you can prevent foodborne illnesses and enjoy your homemade jerky with peace of mind.

Wash Your Hands Thoroughly

Before handling any raw meat, it’s essential to wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds. This step helps remove any dirt, bacteria, or other contaminants from your hands, reducing the risk of cross-contamination.

Use Disposable Gloves

When handling raw meat, using disposable gloves can provide an extra layer of protection. Gloves help prevent direct contact between your hands and the meat, minimizing the spread of potential bacteria or pathogens.

Clean and Sanitize Surfaces

Make sure to clean and sanitize all surfaces that come into contact with raw meat, including cutting boards, countertops, and utensils. This reduces the risk of cross-contamination and helps maintain a hygienic cooking environment.

Freeze Wild Game

If you’re using wild game for jerky, freezing it for 30 days before preparation can help kill potential parasites. This step is especially important for ensuring the safety of your jerky and minimizing the risk of foodborne illnesses.

Thaw Properly

When thawing meat, it’s best to do so in the refrigerator or under cool, running water. Avoid leaving meat at room temperature, as it can promote bacterial growth. Thawing meat slowly and safely ensures that it stays fresh and safe to consume.

Dispose of Marinade

Any leftover marinade that comes into contact with raw meat should be discarded. Bacteria from the raw meat can contaminate the marinade, making it unsafe to consume. It’s best to prepare a fresh batch of marinade for flavoring your jerky.

Proper Storage and Handling

After drying your jerky to the desired texture, store it in a secure container in the refrigerator or freezer. Proper storage helps maintain the freshness of the jerky and prevents bacterial growth. Remember to keep the jerky spaced out and not tightly packed to ensure proper airflow.

Food Safety and Hygiene Tips for Making Jerky
Wash your hands thoroughly before handling raw meat.
Use disposable gloves to minimize cross-contamination.
Clean and sanitize surfaces that come into contact with raw meat.
Freeze wild game for 30 days to kill potential parasites.
Thaw meat properly in the refrigerator or under cool, running water.
Dispose of any marinade that comes into contact with raw meat.
Store jerky in a secure container in the refrigerator or freezer.

Preparing Venison for Jerky

If you’re using venison for making jerky, it’s important to properly prepare the meat to ensure the best flavor and texture. Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Cool the meat quickly: After field dressing, it’s essential to cool the venison as soon as possible. This helps preserve its freshness and prevent the growth of bacteria.
  2. Trim the fat: Before cutting the meat into slices for jerky, make sure to trim all visible fat and silver skin. Fat can affect the flavor and texture of the jerky, so removing it is crucial.
  3. Freeze for parasite control: To eliminate potential parasites, it’s recommended to freeze the venison for at least 30 days. This process helps ensure the safety of the jerky.
  4. Thawing methods: When thawing the meat, it’s best to do it in the refrigerator or under cool, running water. Avoid thawing at room temperature to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.
  5. Chilled meat for easier slicing: For easier slicing, slightly freezing the meat before cutting can be helpful. Place it back in the freezer for a short time to firm it up.
  6. Trimming fat improves flavor: Trimming any remaining fat from the sliced meat not only enhances the taste of your jerky, but it also helps in preserving the texture and reducing the risk of spoilage.

Preparing Venison for Jerky

Key Steps:

Cool the meat quicklyAfter field dressing, cool the venison promptly to preserve freshness.
Trim the fatRemove all visible fat and silver skin from the meat.
Freeze for parasite controlFreeze the venison for 30 days to eliminate potential parasites.
Thawing methodsThaw the meat in the refrigerator or under cool, running water.
Chilled meat for easier slicingPlace the slightly frozen meat back in the freezer before slicing.
Trimming fat improves flavorRemove any remaining fat from the sliced meat to enhance taste and preserve texture.

By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to preparing venison for delicious homemade jerky. Remember to maintain proper food safety practices throughout the process to ensure the highest quality and enjoyment of your venison jerky.

Recipe: “The Queen Mother of All Jerkies”

If you’re looking for a delicious and flavorful venison jerky recipe, “The Queen Mother of All Jerkies” is sure to impress. This recipe combines the perfect balance of savory and sweet flavors, resulting in a mouthwatering snack that’s hard to resist. Here’s how to make it:

Marinade Ingredients:

  • 1 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons red chile flakes
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 4 cloves minced garlic

Drying Instructions:

  1. Slice your venison into thin strips, about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together all the marinade ingredients.
  3. Place the venison strips in a resealable plastic bag and pour the marinade over them.
  4. Seal the bag and refrigerate for 24 hours, allowing the flavors to penetrate the meat.
  5. After marinating, remove the venison strips from the bag and pat them dry with paper towels.
  6. Preheat your dehydrator or oven to the lowest temperature setting.
  7. Arrange the venison strips on drying racks, ensuring they are not touching each other.
  8. Dry the jerky in the dehydrator or oven for 4-5 hours, or until it reaches your desired level of dryness and firmness.
  9. Check the jerky periodically and rotate the racks if necessary for even drying.
  10. Once fully dried, remove the jerky from the dehydrator or oven and let it cool completely.
  11. Store the jerky in an airtight container or resealable bags for long-lasting freshness.

Enjoy “The Queen Mother of All Jerkies” as a delicious, protein-packed snack or share it with friends and family for a flavorful treat. This recipe is sure to impress with its tempting aroma and mouthwatering taste. So, grab your ingredients and start making your own homemade venison jerky today!

Essential Tools and Equipment for Making Jerky

When it comes to making jerky, having the right tools and equipment can greatly enhance your jerky-making process. Here are some essential items that every jerky enthusiast should have in their kitchen:

  • A Meat Slicer: A high-quality meat slicer can make the process of cutting thin, uniform slices of meat much easier. It ensures consistent thickness and helps achieve the desired texture for your jerky.
  • A Grinder: If you prefer making ground-meat jerky, a grinder is a must-have tool. It allows you to grind lean cuts of meat to the desired consistency and create delicious snack sticks.
  • A Dehydrator: A dehydrator is a popular choice for drying jerky. It provides a controlled environment with proper airflow, ensuring even and efficient drying. Look for a dehydrator with adjustable temperature settings for optimal results.
  • Sharp Knives: Having a set of sharp knives is essential for trimming and slicing the meat. A sharp knife ensures clean, precise cuts and makes the overall process more efficient.
  • Vacuum Sealers: Vacuum sealers are great for preserving the freshness and flavor of your jerky. They remove air from the packaging, extending the shelf life and preventing moisture from affecting the texture of the jerky.
  • Racks: If you’re using an oven or dehydrator for drying, racks are essential for proper airflow and even drying. They allow the hot air to circulate around the jerky, ensuring consistent results.

Having these essential tools and equipment will not only make your jerky-making process easier but also help you achieve delicious, high-quality jerky every time. Invest in these items and elevate your jerky game!

Meat SlicerA tool used to slice meat into thin, uniform strips for jerky. Provides consistent thickness and texture.
GrinderAn appliance used to grind lean cuts of meat for making ground-meat jerky. Allows for customized texture and flavor.
DehydratorAn electric appliance with adjustable temperature settings for drying jerky. Provides controlled environment and even airflow.
Sharp KnivesA set of sharp knives for trimming and slicing the meat. Ensures clean, precise cuts and efficient preparation.
Vacuum SealersAppliances used to remove air from jerky packaging, preserving freshness and extending shelf life.
RacksUsed for proper airflow and even drying when using an oven or dehydrator. Ensures consistent results.

“Investing in quality tools and equipment is a game-changer when it comes to making jerky. Whether you’re slicing your own meat or grinding it for a unique texture, having the right tools makes the whole process easier and more enjoyable. From meat slicers to dehydrators, these tools allow you to take control of your jerky-making and produce amazing results that will impress your friends and family.”

– Jerky Enthusiast

Popular Jerky-Making Products

When it comes to making jerky at home, having the right tools and equipment can greatly enhance the process. Here are some popular jerky-making products that come highly recommended:

  1. The Traeger Pro 575 Pellet Grill: This grill is perfect for smoking jerky, offering a “low smoke” setting and the convenience of WiFi control. It allows you to achieve that delicious smoky flavor with ease.
  2. The Stanboil 17-inch Universal Stainless Steel Smoke Shelf: If you’re looking to smoke large quantities of jerky, this rack system is a useful addition to your setup. It provides ample space for arranging and smoking multiple batches of jerky at once.
  3. The Weston Pro-320 10-inch Meat Slicer: When it comes to slicing jerky meat, precision is key. This meat slicer ensures consistent and uniform slices, resulting in a professional-looking end product.
  4. The Excalibur 3926TB 9-Tray Electric Food Dehydrator: A reliable dehydrator is a must-have for drying jerky. This 9-tray electric dehydrator offers ample space and consistent temperature control, allowing you to dry large batches of jerky efficiently.

These products have received rave reviews from jerky enthusiasts and are known for their durability and performance. Investing in quality jerky-making tools can make the process easier and more enjoyable, helping you create delicious homemade jerky that rivals store-bought varieties.

Expert Recommendation: Weston Pro-320 10-inch Meat Slicer

“The Weston Pro-320 10-inch Meat Slicer is an excellent tool for slicing jerky meat with precision. Its sturdy construction and adjustable thickness settings ensure consistent and uniform slices, resulting in top-quality jerky.” –

Product NameFeaturesRating
Traeger Pro 575 Pellet GrillLow smoke setting, WiFi control4.8/5
Stanboil 17-inch Universal Stainless Steel Smoke ShelfAmple space for smoking large quantities of jerky4.5/5
Weston Pro-320 10-inch Meat SlicerPrecision slicing, adjustable thickness settings4.9/5
Excalibur 3926TB 9-Tray Electric Food DehydratorLarge capacity, consistent temperature control4.7/5

These recommended brands and products can help elevate your jerky-making game, ensuring that you have the necessary tools to create delicious and professional-quality jerky at home.

Tips for Enjoying and Serving Jerky

Jerky is a versatile snack that can be enjoyed in various ways and paired with different flavors for a unique snacking experience. Here are some tips to enhance your enjoyment of jerky and explore exciting serving suggestions:

1. Experiment with Different Flavors

Don’t be afraid to try different flavors and seasonings when enjoying jerky. Whether you prefer bold spices, tangy marinades, or smoky flavors, there’s a wide range of options to suit your taste buds. Consider trying jerkies with different spice levels, such as mild, medium, or extra spicy, to find your perfect heat level.

2. Serve Jerky as a Standalone Snack

Jerky is a delicious standalone snack that can be enjoyed on its own. Its savory and chewy texture makes it a satisfying option for satisfying your snack cravings. Pack a bag of jerky in your backpack, purse, or desk drawer for a convenient and protein-packed snack anytime, anywhere.

3. Incorporate Jerky Into Recipes

Get creative and incorporate jerky into your favorite recipes to add a flavorful twist. Chop up jerky and sprinkle it over salads for an added protein boost and crunchy texture. You can also use jerky as a topping for pizzas, loaded baked potatoes, or even as a garnish for soups and stews.

4. Pair Jerky with Complementary Flavors

To elevate your jerky snacking experience, consider pairing it with complementary flavors. Jerky goes well with cheese, nuts, and dried fruits, creating a balance of savory, salty, and sweet flavors. Experiment with different combinations to find your favorite flavor pairings.

By following these tips, you can take your enjoyment of jerky to the next level. Whether you’re snacking on it straight from the bag or incorporating it into your favorite dishes, jerky is a versatile and delicious treat that offers a satisfying burst of flavor and protein.

Jerky Etiquette and Chewing Tips

When it comes to enjoying jerky, there are some important etiquette and chewing tips to keep in mind. Whether you’re snacking on jerky in public or sharing it with others, being mindful of your chewing habits can make the experience more pleasant for everyone.

Jerky Etiquette

  • Chew quietly: Avoid making excessive noise while chewing jerky, especially in public or shared spaces. Take small, deliberate bites and chew slowly to minimize any noise.
  • Be considerate: If you are in a shared setting, such as an office or a public place, be mindful of others. Avoid eating jerky in close proximity to people who may be sensitive to strong smells.
  • Dispose of packaging properly: After enjoying your jerky, make sure to dispose of the packaging in an appropriate manner, such as a trash bin. Avoid leaving empty jerky bags or wrappers in public areas.

Proper Chewing Techniques

Proper chewing techniques can enhance your jerky-eating experience. Here are some tips for chewing jerky:

  • Take small bites: Cut your jerky into smaller pieces or tear it apart with your teeth to make it easier to chew.
  • Chew thoroughly: Thoroughly chewing each bite of jerky allows you to fully savor the flavors and textures. It also helps with digestion.
  • Avoid swallowing large chunks: Chewing jerky properly reduces the risk of choking. Take your time and break down each bite before swallowing.

By following these etiquette and chewing tips, you can enjoy your jerky in a considerate and enjoyable manner. Remember to savor each bite and appreciate the unique flavors of this delicious snack!

Please note: Individual preference for jerky chewing may vary. These tips are intended as general guidelines for a pleasant eating experience.

Etiquette TipsChewing Techniques
  • Chew quietly
  • Be considerate
  • Dispose of packaging properly
  • Take small bites
  • Chew thoroughly
  • Avoid swallowing large chunks

Jerky as a Snack Idea

Looking for a tasty and nutritious snack? Look no further than jerky. This dried and seasoned meat snack is not only delicious but also a perfect choice for those on the go. With its high protein content and long shelf life, jerky is an ideal portable snack that can provide you with the energy you need throughout the day.

Whether you’re hiking, camping, or simply need a quick pick-me-up between meals, jerky is a convenient option. It doesn’t require refrigeration, making it easy to pack and carry wherever you go. Plus, it comes in a variety of flavors and meats, so you can choose the one that suits your taste preferences.

Jerky is a versatile snack that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and dietary preferences. It’s a great source of portable protein, which is essential for building and repairing muscle tissue. So, next time you’re in need of a snack, grab a pack of jerky and enjoy the tasty goodness wherever you are.

Benefits of Jerky as a SnackWhy Choose Jerky?
High in proteinConvenient and portable
Long shelf lifeComes in a variety of flavors
Doesn’t require refrigerationSuitable for people of all ages

So, whether you’re heading out on an adventure or simply need a quick and satisfying snack, jerky is the perfect choice. Its delicious flavor, high protein content, and portability make it a go-to option for snacking on the go. So, stock up on your favorite jerky flavors and keep enjoying this tasty and nutritious snack.


Congratulations on mastering the art of making jerky! Throughout this guide, you have learned the essential steps to create delicious and flavorful jerky right at home. It all starts with selecting the right meat, opting for lean cuts and trimming away any excess fat. Cutting the meat into thin strips and choosing the appropriate drying method, whether it’s oven drying, dehydrator drying, or smoking, is key to achieving the desired texture.

Remember to store your jerky properly to maintain its freshness. Whether you opt for refrigeration or freezing, keeping it in a secure container with adequate spacing between pieces will help prevent spoilage. And don’t forget about food safety and hygiene! Following proper practices, such as washing hands, using disposable gloves, and cleaning surfaces, ensures that your jerky is safe to eat.

Now that you have mastered the jerky-making process, the possibilities are endless. Experiment with different flavors, seasonings, and even pairing your jerky with other snacks for a truly unique and enjoyable snacking experience. Whether you’re hitting the trails, heading on a road trip, or simply looking for a protein-packed snack, homemade jerky is sure to satisfy your cravings.

In conclusion, mastering the art of “How to Eat Jerky” is a delightful journey into culinary exploration. To ensure a safe and enjoyable experience, refer to official resources like the FDA guidelines on food safety. For a premium selection of jerky, visit Flying Jerky and discover a world where flavor and adventure collide. Happy snacking!


What is the history of jerky?

Jerky has a long history, dating back to ancient civilizations like the Egyptians and Incas. The word “jerky” is believed to come from the Incan word “Ch’arki,” meaning “dried meat.”

What kind of meat should I use for jerky?

Lean cuts from wild game with little intermuscular fat, such as backstrap or hindquarter cuts of deer, elk, or moose, work best for making jerky.

How should I cut the meat for jerky?

Cut the meat against the grain into thin strips, about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. This will result in a tender jerky.

What are the different drying methods for making jerky?

There are three main drying methods for making jerky: oven drying, dehydrator drying, and smoking.

How should I store my jerky?

Once the jerky is dried to the desired texture, it should be stored in a secure container in the refrigerator or freezer to maintain its freshness.

What food safety and hygiene practices should I follow when making jerky?

Follow food safety and hygiene practices such as washing hands thoroughly, wearing disposable gloves, and cleaning and sanitizing food contact surfaces.

How should I prepare venison for jerky?

Trim all fat and silver skin from the meat before cutting into slices for jerky. Freezing the meat for 30 days can help kill potential parasites.

Can you provide a recipe for venison jerky?

Here’s a delicious recipe for venison jerky known as “The Queen Mother of All Jerkies.” The recipe includes a marinade with reduced sodium soy sauce, pineapple juice, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, honey, red chile flakes, black pepper, onion powder, ground ginger, and minced garlic.

What tools and equipment do I need for making jerky?

Some essential tools include a meat slicer, grinder, dehydrator, sharp knives, vacuum sealers, and racks for drying the meat.

Are there any popular jerky-making products available?

Yes, some popular jerky-making products include the Traeger Pro 575 Pellet Grill, Stanboil 17-inch Universal Stainless Steel Smoke Shelf, Weston Pro-320 10-inch Meat Slicer, and Excalibur 3926TB 9-Tray Electric Food Dehydrator.

How can I enjoy and serve jerky?

Jerky can be enjoyed as a standalone snack or incorporated into recipes like salads or sandwiches. It can also be paired with complementary flavors like cheese, nuts, or dried fruits for a flavorful combination.

Are there any etiquette and chewing tips for eating jerky?

When enjoying jerky in public or shared spaces, be mindful of others and avoid making excessive noise while chewing. Chew slowly and thoroughly to fully savor the flavors and textures.

Is jerky a good snack idea?

Yes, jerky is a convenient source of portable protein and can be a great option for on-the-go snacking or as a quick and nutritious energy boost.

Can you summarize the jerky-making process?

By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can become a pro at making jerky. From selecting the right meat to proper drying methods and storage, each step is crucial in ensuring the best flavor, texture, and food safety.