Image of deer jerky in a ziploc bag - How to Make Deer Jerky in the Oven

How to Make Deer Jerky in the Oven

Want to know how to make deer jerky in the oven?

My husband went hunting with a couple of friends this year. All three were successful in bringing home meat for their families, which has been such a gift with the increased cost of food.

We are so grateful.

While at hunting camp, my husband and friends were able to debone and break down their deer, so they were ready for processing once home.

The venison was stored in our fridge for 7-8 days in Ziplock bags to allow it to age and tenderize. When venison is allowed to age, enzymes break down the muscle to increase the flavor and tenderness of the meat.

From there, my husband was able to freeze around 35 pounds of ground venison, but he also wanted to make deer jerky.

We do not have a food dehydrator, so we made the jerky in our kitchen oven.

This is the process our family used this hunting season to make deer jerky in the oven.

Image of venison
Image of venison before processing and trimming.

Processing and Trimming the Venison

We used between 12-13 pounds of venison for this deer jerky recipe. We trimmed off excess fat, silver skin, and other membranes before cutting the meat into jerky size pieces.

This process took 20 minutes, with both my husband and I trimming and cutting.

Image of venison being trimmed and processed.
Image of venison being trimmed and processed.

Marinade for Deer Jerky in the Oven

As a dietitian, I look for ways to reduce added sugar and sodium in our recipes.  For this recipe, we wanted a lot of flavor AND a lower sodium option. This marinade had half the sodium as many other jerky marinade options. The amounts and volumes listed below are for 12-13 pounds of venison.

Image of marinade for deer jerky.
Image of marinade for deer jerky.


  • 1.5 cups red wine
  • 0.75 cups teriyaki
  • 0.75 c brown sugar
  • 3 T whisky
  • 3 T salt (this was reduced from the recommended 6 T)
  • 1.5 tsp onion powder
  • 1.5 tsp garlic
  • 1.5 tsp ground black pepper


  1. Add all ingredients to a saucepan.
  2. Heat over medium heat until all ingredients are dissolved.
  3. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature.

Marinate Venison for 24 hours

After processing and trimming the venison, we split it into thirds, adding ~4 pounds to one-gallon Ziploc bags. Once the marinade had cooled to room temperature, we added 1/3 of the marinade to each Ziploc bag to ensure all the meat was covered.

The Ziploc bags were then sealed and placed into the fridge for at least 24 hours.

Image of venison marinating.
Image of venison marinating.

Making Deer Jerky in The Oven

We discussed our options for making deer jerky.

One option would be using the tools we had, and the other would be purchasing a food dehydrator.

My husband’s family had made jerky in the oven previously, so we went with this option for our first attempt.

Preheat Oven

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. This was the lowest setting on our oven.

Other recipes encouraged 145-165 degrees F for deer jerky. To help reduce the temperature, we cracked the oven door slightly.

Hang Deer Jerky with Toothpicks from Oven Rack

Cover the bottom of the oven with aluminum foil to catch any of the jerky/marinade drippings.

Pierce each piece of venison with a toothpick through its meatiest section, ensuring the toothpick stays put.

Rest each toothpick between the oven rack bars, so each jerky piece has adequate air flow.

Image of venison hanging from racks in oven.
Image of jerky hanging from racks in oven.
Image of venison hanging from oven rack.
Image of venison hanging from oven rack.

Use Foiled Baking Sheet with Cooling Rack

Another option for drying deer jerky is using a foiled baking sheet, where you would lay the venison out flat on the aluminum foil or use a cooling rack on top of the foiled baking sheet.

Image of dry jerky hanging from oven racks.
Image of dry jerky hanging from oven racks.

Safe Storage of Deer Jerky Made in The Oven

Once the deer jerky was dry, we removed the toothpicks from each piece and stored the jerky in several quart sized freezer Ziploc baggies.

Most of the jerky is now stored in our freezer. We pull out individual baggies when we are ready to eat more deer jerky.

The USDA suggests storing jerky made at home for no longer than 2 months on the shelf (1). They also state wild game can be stored in the freezer for 8-12 months, while cooked meat will have the best quality if consumed within 2-3 months (2).

Meat stored in the freezer for longer than the dates listed above is still safe to eat, but the quality and tenderness of the meat may be impacted.

Image of jerky in ziploc bag.

Final Thoughts on Our Process of Making Deer Jerky in The Oven

As I get older, I have a greater appreciation for how food is processed and made. While I grew up around hunters, I never had the opportunity to process a deer or make jerky.

Drying venison to make deer jerky in the oven was a very doable process, and it is delicious!

With any new recipe, there is a learning process and lessons gained. 

If I were to do this again, I would dry the venison on cooling racks set inside foiled baking sheets. This would allow for good airflow, and it would make the post drying process much easier (no pulling toothpicks from dried meat).

I hope this was helpful to you!

For more information about The Dietitian Resource, visit our site or check out the blog.  Thanks for visiting!


1. AskUSDA. U.S. Department of Agriculture. [Online] [Cited: November 29, 2022.],federal%20inspection%20(12%20months)..

2. Freezing and Food Safety. U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service. [Online] June 15, 2013. [Cited: November 29, 2022.]

3. Venison Jerky. Beyond the Chicken Coop. [Online] June 24, 2021. [Cited: November 30, 2022.]

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More About Rochelle

Rochelle Inwood MS, RDN, ACSM EP-C

Hello there! I’m Rochelle Inwood, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) and Exercise Physiologist (ACSM EP-C). With over 14 years of experience, I have sharpened my expertise through diverse roles, including weight management program co-coordinator, patient/employee gym supervisor, outpatient dietitian, program manager, dietetic internship preceptor, and more. I am passionate about learning, creating, teaching, and supporting personal growth and development.