Sure, you can have some of your wild game turned into jerky at the processor, but then you don’t get to choose whatever spices you want to go on it!

Talky, talky talky. Show me the recipe!

This is kind of a smorgasbord recipe inspired by Lao dried beef (which is often deep fried before serving with a spicy sauce, like Siracha) and the typical Southeast Asian flavors which, ironically, are not usually used on their dried beef/jerky dish. I cannot stress it enough when I say this is the Best. Jerky. Ever.

If you are making a boat load of the stuff and drying for the purposes of preservation, it wouldn’t hurt to sprinkle a little “pink salt” (a curing salt) into the mixture, however, as long as you’ll scarf it down within about a month this is not necessary. Just refrigerate or freeze it in an airtight container.

Lemongrass, shallot, galangal and kaffir lime are the standard ingredients and flavors in many of the dishes from Laos.

Lemongrass, shallot, galangal and kaffir lime are the standard ingredients and flavors in many of the dishes from Southeast Asia.

For the most part the amounts in the recipe are just a suggestion; just make sure there is enough liquid to marinate the amount of meat you want to jerky. Also, for this recipe I use the oven but if you have a food dehydrator, by all means go ahead.

A note on the ingredients: I know they sound weird, but you should be able to at least find them jarred in the Asian section of your grocery store or minced in little tubes in the produce aisle. You can substitute lime zest for the kaffir leaves and regular ginger for the galangal if you must, but it won’t have the distinctive Southeast Asian flavor. I also used one serrano pepper and it wasn’t hot at all, so if you like a spicy jerky add more. Do not use coconut milk instead of coconut water because the fat will go rancid fairly quickly, especially if you do not refrigerate it.

Southeast Asian venison jerky

Serves 8
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 4 hours, 30 minutes
Total time 4 hours, 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2lb venison (cut into 1/8-1/4)
  • 1/2 cup coconut water
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2-3 Kaffir lime leaves (about 1 tablespoon if using jarred)
  • 1 lemongrass stick (about 1 tablespoon if using jarred)
  • 1 tablespoon glangal (minced)
  • 1 shallot (minced)
  • 5 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1-3 thai bird, serrano or jalapeno pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Directions

Step 1
Combine all the ingredients and marinate over night or for at least 2 hours.
Step 2
Preheat the oven to its lowest setting (170-200 F). Line a few cookie sheets with aluminum foil and place the strips of marinated meat on it so they are not touching and put them in the oven. After about 90 minutes, check the jerky to see how it's coming. You can shuffle the pans around in case of any hot spots in your oven or carefully pour off any liquid from the meat or marinade that has accumulated. After another 90 minutes, flip the jerky pieces.
Step 3
The jerky is finished when the pieces are all dry and there is little to no give when you squeeze them. This takes about another 60-90 minutes, depending on the thickness of the meat.
Non-game substitution: You can use this with just about any thinly sliced meat that’s also very lean. As I said before, you don’t want a lot of fat in there because it will go rancid fairly quickly.
Vegetarian substitution: You can definitely make tofu jerky with this marinade, though this is something I have not tried so I can’t exactly vouch for it. Tofu jerky will probably also take longer to dry out in the oven, about 8 hours (at least according to other online recipes I’ve found).

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