As hunters return home from their fall deer and elk hunts, there begins another challenge and that’s what to do with all that meat.

Hunters pride themselves on not letting any part of an animal go to waste. Having a freezer full of meat is always a good feeling heading into winter. Autumn is also a fun time to preserve meat the old fashion way and that’s by making jerky. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to make jerky in an oven.

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Using an oven

While it’s superior to use a smoker to impart those rich flavors into your meat or a dehydrator to really suck out the moisture, utilizing a smoker is not absolutely necessary. An oven will do the trick just as well. All you have to do is set your oven to its lowest setting possible. But first you’ll want to prepare the meat.


I’m not one to spoil a good thing, so while there are different flavors you could marinade your jerky, most of us are partial to the tried and true teriyaki sauce. Combine 1 cup Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/2 cup water, a table spoon of liquid smoke, then cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper each about a teaspoon.

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Meat cut

If you’re choosing what type of meat to make into jerky from the grocery store, you might go with a flank steak or top round. But the truth is anything cut thin will work. When it’s your game meat, you can choose from any cut. Likely not something you especially want to use elsewhere so usually the flank is a good choice. You’ll want to let it marinate overnight or for around four to six hours.

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Roasting rack

The idea behind the rack is that you want to create some air circulation between the meat. You can purchase racks specifically designed for making jerky, but the easiest way is to use a cooling rack on an oven sheet. That way the meat is elevated and can cook evenly. You could likewise simply lay the meat directly on the oven rack and position an oven sheet below it to catch any drips. You’ll want to pat the slices down to remove any excess liquid before placing them in the oven.

Cook time

Cooking time depends on how thick the slices of meat are, but it tends to take around four to six hours to reach the desired texture. One thing’s for certain, once you learn how to make jerky at home, there’s no going back to expensive store bought brands.

Photo credit: Wikimedia