Venison is growing in popularity, and chances are you have some in your freezer chest. Many people avoid cooking these types of meats because of the gamey flavor they produce.
Not only that but if the meat is cooked too fast or incorrectly, you’re left with tough meat no one wants to eat. This article will walk you through step by step how to make venison jerky on a Pit Boss pellet grill that everyone will love.
How to Make Venison Jerky On A Pit Boss Pellet Grill?
In order to make the perfect venison beef jerky, you’ll need to prepare the meat properly, by trimming as much fat as possible, brine the meat, choose the right pellets and cook at the right temperature until it reaches an internal temperature of 140°F.
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What Is Deer Meat?
Deer meat aka venison is meat that comes from any kind of deer. Venison is leaner than beef you buy from the supermarket. That’s why it’s harder for people to cook.
You can’t cook it the same way you do as supermarket purchased meat. Venison is extremely lean meat that can dry out easily when cooked incorrectly.
Tips for Making Venison Jerky
To grill the perfect venison jerky on the Pit Boss pellet grill, you need the following:
- Using aged deer meat
- Preparing the meat properly
- Proper tools
- The right cooking technique
- Brining the deer meat
- Instant read thermometer to check doneness
- The proper cooking temperature
- The right P-setting
This all sounds complicated, especially, if you’ve never cooked dear meat on the Pit Boss. Don’t worry, I’ll cover the steps in complete detail below.
By the time you finish reading this guide, you’ll feel more confident about smoking deer meat on the Pit Boss.
Can You Smoke Deer Meat?
Deer meat aka venison is tender, lean meat that is great for smoking. That said, it’s not as easy to cook as other cuts of meats such as beef briskets, pork butt, tri-tip and etc.
Trimming and Butchering Deer Meat
As soon as the deer is harvested, have a plan for getting it processed by removing the intestines and other inedible tissues.
Remove as much as the gristle, fat, sinew, and silver skin as possible. When processed properly, the less likely it will taste gamey when cooked.
This video will walk you through the process of butchering the deer at home if you’re into hunting and preparing your own foods.
If you’re trimming the meat yourself, ensure you use sharp knives and trip anything that is not muscle. This will ensure the meat will be as tender as possible.
Most people will purchase venison meat from their local butcher shop. Regardless of where you get it from, the preparation of the meat is the most important part.
Pro Tip: The secret to creating succulent, tender deer meat is to let it age before cooking it!
Preparing the Deer Meat for Smoking
You’ve likely had the meat in the freezer for a while, so you’ll want to make sure it’s thawed out before cooking. Venison can be cooked when frozen, but it can take up to 1.5 times longer than thawed meat.
Can You Brine Deer Meat?
You can brine deer meat, and it will help prevent the gamey flavor. It will also tenderize the meat by breaking down the proteins, as the salt soaks into the fibers that have a lower salt concentration.
Once the meat has been trimmed and prepared, you can find several brining recipes online this site has a great one.
However, a basic brine recipe such as the one below is great for beginners.
What You Need:
- 1 Gallon water
- 1 Tablespoon Rosemary
- 1/4 Cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 Cup Brown sugar
- 1/2 Cup Molasses
- 2 Tablespoons Black Pepper
- 1/2 Cup Soy sauce (Not Low Sodium)
- 3/4 Cups Kosher salt
Once you’ve mixed the ingredients, place both the meat and the brine in a Ziplock bag.
Ensure the brine is covering all the meat and place it in the refrigerator for no more than 24 hours.
What Spices Go Well With Deer Meat?
Like most meats, the meat goes great with several herbs and spices. It mostly comes down to your taste buds.
Here are a few of the herbs and spices that are ideal for venison.
- Black Pepper
When in doubt you can invest. in a venison jerky kit such as the Hi Mountain Jerky seasoning. It contains five flavors from Mandarin Teriyaki, Sweet & Spicy, etc.
- FLAVORS – Includes five authentic Wyoming recipe flavors: Mandarin Teriyaki, Pepperoni, Wseet & Spicy, Inferno, Pepper
- KIT INCLUDES – Five different seasoning packets, one cure packet, a shaker bottle for easy mixing, and detailed instructions.
- QUANTITY – Each of the 5 flavor packets will season 4 lbs of whole muscle meat, a total of 20 lbs.
- MEAT CHOICES – Beef, wild game, poultry, fish, or any meat of your choice.
- METHOD – Make Jerky in an oven, smoker, or dehydrator.
I’ve personally never tried any of the jerky kits, as I like experimenting with my cooks. However, you can’t go wrong and it can be a great way to season the meat if you’ve never cooked deer meat before.
Deer Meat Seasoning Recipe
This is a great dry rub that can be used on venison, regardless of how you’re cooking it.
- Venison (3 lb or more)
- 1 Tbs ground smoked cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 Tbs kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 1 Tbsp black ground pepper
- 1 Tbs ground coriander
Using a dry rub is a great way to tenderize the meat while adding a great flavor.
After marinating the meat, place it in a covered container or Ziplock bag and place it in the refrigerator overnight.
Preparing The Pit Boss for Cooking
Preparing the smoker is just as important as preparing the meat. After all, using the wrong settings can cause the meat to come out tough.
Before plugging in the grill, ensure the grill has been cleaned and the flame broiler is closed. The jerky needs to be cooked in an indirect heat setting, to prevent it from burning and cooking too fast.
Best Pellets To Use For Deer Jerky
Oak, hickory, and mesquite are great choices for smoking venison. Apple and cherry pellets also pair well with venison and will add a level of sweetness to the meat.
I always use the Pit Boss competition blend for most of the cooks, because they are the pellets I always have on hand.
- Two 40 lb resealable bag
- Perfect blend of Maple, Hickory and Apple hardwoods
- 100% all natural. No added flavors, binders or spray scents
- Burns hotter and longer. 100% North American sourced hardwoods
- Bundled with the "Wood Pallet Smoker and Grill Cookbook" to create the best tasting barbecue just like your favorite Pit Bosses do
What P-Setting Do I Use?
Unless you’re cooking the venison jerky in the cold, I recommend leaving it on the P4 factory settings. All the cooks I have done on the Pit Boss have been done by using the P4 setting without any issues.
What Temperature Do You Smoke Deer Meat At?
Set the temperature on the Pit Boss to the smoke setting 180° – 200° Fahrenheit. Monitor the grill so it doesn’t get too hot, otherwise, the jerky will cook too fast.
One of the downsides of the Pit Boss is it has a tendency to get too hot when cooking in the sun. If you’re having trouble keeping the temperature between 200° – 300°F, move the grill to the shade.
How Long Does It Take To Cook Deer Jerky On A Pellet Grill?
Expect it to take 1.5 hours per pound of venison. So, if you have 3 pounds of deer meat, it will take about 3 hours to cook. Cooking times will vary depending on the ambient weather, and the set cooking temperature.
Regardless of how long it takes to cook, the meat needs to cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 140°F.
How Do You Know When Venison Jerky Is Done?
You can use an internal thermometer to test the doneness. You know it’s done when it reaches an internal temperature of 140°F.
Another way to test the doneness is when the jerky bends but doesn’t break or tear in half when you bend it.
If it breaks, it’s likely overcooked and may be dry, and will be tough to eat.
Once. the meat is cooked to the proper internal temperature, remove it from the smoker and place it on a cooling rack. Letting it cool for 5-10 minutes helps prevent it from drying out.
Storing The Leftovers
Store any leftovers in an airtight container, storage bag or glass container. Opt for a container that is about the same size as the jerky, otherwise, oxygen will enter the container causing it to spoil faster.
If you don’t plan on eating the jerky immediately, you can seal it in a vacuum-sealed bag to help keep it fresher longer.
Homemade jerky can last 1-2 months when stored in an airtight container and kept in a dark pantry. When stored in the refrigerator, it will last about 1-2 weeks before losing its freshness.
Venison on the pellet grill makes great jerky when cooked properly. The most important part is to marinade it properly and cook it low and slow without overcooking it.
Don’t be afraid to try new things on the Pit Boss pellet grill. Smoking new foods can be a fun way to become a better griller.
So give it a try, pick up some deer jerky and after it has aged a bit, throw it on the smoker. Your taste buds and family will thank you for your hard work!