Did you know that you can make venison jerky from ground meat? Well, you can, and it’s delicious! Choose to make your jerky with ground meat for an even quicker and easier process than slicing meat and marinating. And you don't need any additional tools or equipment, although having a jerky gun can make things much more manageable.  

Why Use Ground Meat Instead of Slices?

Ground venison jerky is more tender and easier to chew than the slices of whole muscle traditionally used for jerky. It has the same deep, rich flavor but adds a little more texture and softness. So if you love jerky, but you find it a bit too tough at times, consider using ground meat for your homemade jerky. 

How to Make Ground Venison Jerky

Below are two quick and easy recipes for ground venison jerky, made with and without a jerky gun. In both cases, you’ll need a package of lean ground meat and a few of your favorite seasonings. You can use a seasoning packet or try a combination of the following:

  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Black pepper

If you’re up for some experimentation, consider brown sugar, red wine, teriyaki, or whisky. Try any or all of these together.  

Recipe for Ground Venison Jerky - with a jerky gun

A jerky gun is similar to a caulking gun. You’ll load the ground meat into the barrel and squeeze out the meat in rows. You should be able to find a jerky gun to accommodate your budget. 

  1. Season your ground meat and refrigerate it for 3 to 24 hours. Please note: When you season the meat, use as little liquid as possible. If you only use dry seasonings, add a small amount of cold water to combine the seasonings with the meat.
  2. Take the refrigerated meat and begin filling the barrel of the jerky gun.  
  3. Ensure there are no air pockets by filling with a bit of meat at a time. 
  4. Shoot your meat out in strips to the lengths you desire onto your dehydrator trays or baking sheets if you’re using your oven.
  5. Dry strips out at 160 degrees F for 3 to 8 hours. 
  6. Don’t over-dry them. The strips are ready when they’re soft to touch but don’t break in half when they’re bent. 

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Recipe for Ground Venison Jerky - without a jerky gun

While a jerky gun makes the process a lot easier, you can still do this without one. 

  1. Season your ground meat and refrigerator for 3 to 24 hours so the meat can bind together.
  2. Note: When you season the meat, use as little liquid as possible. You can use a small amount of cold water to help combine the seasonings and the meat.
  3. Take the refrigerated meat and spread it out on a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Use a rolling pin to make it a consistent depth of ¼ inch thick
  4. Use a pizza cutter or a butter knife to slice the meat into uniform slices. Don’t stress about cutting all the way through; once it becomes jerky, you can easily break them apart. 
  5. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F
  6. Bake the meat for 10 minutes with the oven door closed.
  7. Reduce the heat to 170 degrees F or whatever your oven’s lowest setting is for 2 hours with the oven door propped partly open. 
  8. After 2 hours, flip the meat over and pat it dry with paper towel. 
  9. Continue to do this until the jerky is done. 
  10. It’s done when the meat is soft to touch and doesn’t break in half when you bend it.

Pemmican-Style Ground Venison Jerky Recipe

Pemmican is a type of jerky that probably originated with the Native Americans. Unlike many of the foods we eat today, Pemmican-style jerky contains no inflammatory ingredients. It is primarily meat and tallow, and it can be consumed on almost any diet - keto, paleo, or carnivore. It’s nutritionally dense, filling, portable, and tastes great


1 ¾ lb Venison

¼ lb bacon

1 cup dried berries

1 Tbsp salt

½ tsp Instacure No. 1

2 tsp black pepper

½ tsp ground mace or nutmeg

1 Tbsp onion powder

1 Tbsp paprika

2 - 3 Tbsp sugar

¼ cup water


  1. Grind the venison, bacon, and dried berries. If your meat is already ground, chop the dried berries finely and add them to the meat. 
  2. Put the meat and berries in a large bowl and add the other ingredients. Mix with your hands until it’s well-combined. 
  3. Put the mixture in a sealed, air-tight container and refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours.
  4. Take the refrigerated mixture and separate it into two or three portions if you’re using a jerky gun.
  5. Fill the barrel and squeeze out strips of meat for your jerky.
  6. Dehydrate at 150 degrees F until the strips are dry and chewy.
  7. If you’re using an oven, set it on warm with the door propped open a little.
  8. Leave it in the oven until the strips are dry, soft, and chewy.  

Pemmican can last for a few weeks in the refrigerator and a little longer in the freezer. 

Note: While strips are a handy size and shape for portability and snacking, pemmican can be made into any convenient shape. 

The Last Word on Ground Venison Jerky

Jerky is a great snack. It’s portable, lasts a long time, and is full of nutrition. Whether or not you have a dehydrator and jerky gun, making homemade jerky can be fun and easy to do. Remember that you’re dealing with processed meat that is susceptible to bacteria, so take measures to ensure your jerky is safe to eat. 

  • Use gloves when you’re mixing the meat by hand.
  • Always use curing salt when making ground meat jerky.
  • Preheat the strips to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F before the drying process begins to kill off any bacteria. 

Enjoy your jerky and experiment with the recipes to discover your favorites. 

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