How to Make Elk Jerky

How to Make Elk Jerky: Step-by-Step Guide

Want to learn how to make elk jerky? You’re not alone - and you’ve come to the right place.

The lure of the wild, the satisfaction of mastering a centuries-old craft, and the anticipation of a flavor-rich snack that's packed with protein has led many to try and make their own elk jerky.

But, this is no easy feat. There’s a lot that goes into this process - from choosing the right elk cuts to make your jerky from to mastering the dehydration stage. Of course, you need to follow the right elk jerky recipe too.

The good news? All of this becomes a lot less daunting and stressful when you follow the guidance of a brand that’s been making elk jerky for over a century. At Mahogany Smoked Meats, you’ll find the best selection of elk jerky for sale online. 

In this conversation today, we’re going to let you in on the secrets that make our creations so tantalizingly tasty, so melt-in-your-mouth delicious. And, if you find yourself craving the taste but questioning the effort, you can always head over to our online storefront and bypass the DIY phase and get right to enjoying the finest elk jerky available online.

First things first - let’s take a look at some of the challenges you need to be aware of if you’re going to learn how to make good elk jerky.

Is Making Elk Jerky Worth the Time and Hassle?

Elk jerky is truly a treat. Bursting with lean protein, it's a uniquely satisfying snack that fills you up and keeps you going. Whether you're hiking through the wilderness or settling in for a movie night, it's the perfect partner for your adventurous spirit. But making it at home? That's a whole other story.

When you invest your own time and effort in the process, the reward is that much sweeter. The satisfaction of knowing you brought that delicious jerky treat to life is unlike anything else. This sense of purpose is driving more and more individuals to make their own jerky DIY - from how to make turkey jerky to how to make elk jerky.

But, despite all the fun and fulfillment that comes from making your own jerky, we want to warn you. You see, creating elk jerky from scratch isn't just a simple task. It requires sourcing quality elk meat, which isn't readily available at most supermarkets. 

Then, you're faced with the task of trimming, marinating, dehydrating, and meticulously monitoring your precious pieces of meat, hoping that you’ve hit the right balance of flavor and texture. And let's not forget the necessary cleaning process post-preparation that awaits you.

That's a lot of time, a lot of effort, and a lot of uncertainty. The rewards? Absolutely mouth-watering, if all goes well. But what if there was a way to skip all the hard parts and still enjoy the best elk jerky you've ever tasted?

We at Mahogany Smoked Meats believe that everyone should have access to high-quality, delicious elk jerky without needing to go through the rigorous process of making it at home. So, while we're going to walk you through each step of the homemade elk jerky process, remember: There's a world of flavor waiting for you, just a click away, that can save you a whole lot of time and effort.

But if you're still determined to learn the art of elk jerky making, let’s get started. Here’s how to make good elk jerky at home…

How to Make Elk Jerky: Step-by-Step Guide to Making Elk Jerky at Home

The process of making elk jerky at home is a labor of love, requiring a good understanding of the meat and the process. Let's dive right in with a pivotal first question: what elk cuts should you make jerky with?

What Elk Cuts Should You Make Jerky With?

As with the best cut for beef jerky, the best cuts of meat for elk jerky are lean cuts. The top round or bottom round cuts are ideal because they have little to no fat, which can cause your jerky to spoil faster. Elk is already leaner than beef, which makes it an excellent choice for jerky. 

When you're selecting your cut, ensure it is fresh and of high quality for the best results. Obviously, our advice is to get as close to the source as possible - with the best-case scenario being the possibility of using elk you hunted yourself. Now, that’s obviously not a luxury everyone has.

So, start at your local butcher. There, you’ll typically find better quality and better deals than the supermarket - which may not even have the type of elk meat you need. However you go about sourcing your elk meat, you’ll also need to source the ingredients for your marinade - which is where the real flavor comes from.

Making Elk Jerky Marinade: A Sample Elk Jerky Recipe You Can Follow

The marinade is where a lot of the flavor in your elk jerky will come from, and it's important to let the meat soak up these flavors for a good amount of time (at least six hours, but preferably overnight). 

We know you may have come here hoping to gain insights into our secret, age-old elk jerky recipe. Well, sorry to disappoint you - but we’re keeping that one a secret. However, here's a simple marinade elk jerky recipe to get you started:

  • 1/2 cup of soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes for some heat

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, adjusting to taste if desired. Remember, the strength of the marinade will lessen once the jerky is dried, so don't be afraid of bold flavors. And, don’t be afraid to experiment with your own recipe, either. Play around and see where your creativity takes you - you may just discover the next greatest elk jerky recipe!

Prepping the Elk Meat 

Before marinating, you'll need to prepare your meat. Trim off any visible fat from your elk cut. Then, slice your elk meat into thin strips, approximately 1/4-inch thick. The thinner the slices, the shorter the drying time. 

For easier slicing, partially freeze your meat for about 1-2 hours. After slicing, place the meat in a resealable bag, pour your marinade over it, seal the bag, and place it in the refrigerator. Let it soak up the flavors for at least 6 hours, although overnight is best.

The Dehydration Process: How to Make Elk Jerky in the Oven, Smoker, or Dehydrator

Just as there are different ways to skin a cat, there are a few approaches you can take to dehydrating your elk meat and transforming it into delicious, melt-in-your-mouth jerky:

  • How to Make Elk Jerky in the Oven: Set your oven to its lowest temperature, generally around 170°F (77°C). Place a drip tray underneath to catch any drippings. Arrange the marinated meat strips on a wire rack and put them in the oven. Prop the oven door open slightly to allow moisture to escape. It'll take around 4-6 hours for the jerky to fully dehydrate.
  • How to Make Elk Jerky in a Smoker: If you want a deep, smoky flavor, use a smoker. The process is similar to using an oven, but you'll use indirect heat and wood chips for flavor. The temperature should be around 165°F (74°C), and the jerky will take about 4-6 hours to finish.
  • How to Make Elk Jerky in a Stove Dehydrator: If you're really serious about your jerky and plan on making it often, a dehydrator is a great investment. Lay the strips out on the dehydrator trays, set the temperature to around 160°F (71°C), and let it run for about 4-5 hours.

Whichever approach you choose, one thing is certain: you must remain vigilant in watching your jerky and pull it at the perfect time. 

This fine line can be the difference between undercooked meat that’s mushy and unsafe to eat or overcooked meat that hurts to eat and leaves much to be desired in terms of taste. So, with that being said, how long should you leave your elk jerky in the dehydrating process - and more specifically, how can you tell when it’s done?

How to Tell When Your Elk Jerky is Done

The overall drying time for your elk jerky will depend on the method of dehydration you've chosen and the thickness of your meat slices. 

In general, you can expect the drying process to take anywhere between 4 to 6 hours in an oven or smoker, and around 4-5 hours in a dehydrator. However, these are just estimates, and you should keep a close eye on your jerky, especially towards the end of the drying period.

After about 4 hours, begin checking your jerky for doneness. The color of the jerky can give you some indication. It should be dark and look almost leathery, but not brittle. When you touch the jerky, it should feel dry to the touch, but still be pliable. It should bend and flex without breaking, but it should not be soft or mushy.

You can also do a taste test. Take a small piece of jerky and let it cool to room temperature. Once cool, the jerky should be chewy and tough but not too hard to bite through. Remember, jerky will harden slightly as it cools, so don't worry if it feels slightly underdone when it's still hot.

Another great way to tell if your jerky is done is the break test. Take a piece of jerky and bend it sharply. If it bends and cracks but doesn't break in two, it's likely done. If you see white fibers when you bend the jerky, that's a sign it's done. The fibers are the strands of protein that have contracted and squeezed out the moisture.

Ultimately, like many cooking processes, making perfect elk jerky might take some trial and error. Don't be disheartened if your first batch isn't perfect. With a bit of practice, you'll soon be able to tell when your jerky is just right. But what comes now that you’ve finished making elk jerky?

What Now? Storage & Best-By Dates

Congratulations - the hard work is over! But, the journey is far from finished. The last thing you want is to see all your hard work go to waste as your jerky spoils. So, let’s talk about jerky storage and best-by dates.

Once your jerky is done, it needs to be stored properly to maintain freshness and avoid spoilage. After letting it cool, store your elk jerky in airtight containers. Ziplock bags or vacuum-sealed bags work great. 

A big question is how long does jerky last? If you store your jerky at room temperature in an airtight container, it can last up to 1-2 weeks. For longer storage, you can refrigerate it (up to 6 weeks) or freeze it (up to 6 months). Learn how to tell if jerky has gone bad to save yourself the nightmare of foodborne illness.

Save Yourself a Ton of Time and Headaches: Get Quality Elk Jerky Online at Mahogany Smoked Meats!

If the above process seems a bit daunting - and let's face it, even for the seasoned kitchen warrior, it can be - then we’ve got good news. You can still get your elk jerky fix with none of the time, hassle, or headaches. At Mahogany Smoked Meats, we've taken the art and science of making elk jerky to gourmet heights.

We’ve earned a reputation for the best jerky online - and once you get that first taste, you’ll understand why. Our elk jerky is crafted from the finest cuts of elk, marinated in mouthwatering spices, and slowly smoked over mahogany fires. This painstaking process results in a jerky that is unparalleled in taste and quality, not to mention healthier and leaner than most. 

Plus, there's no need to worry about getting the dehydration process just right or figuring out how to store your homemade jerky properly. With us, you can dive straight into savoring the complex flavors of professionally made elk jerky.

With just a few clicks, you can have our succulent, protein-packed elk jerky delivered straight to your door. No mess, no fuss, just pure, unadulterated jerky enjoyment. And, we don’t just have elk jerky - you can try our buffalo jerky, wild boar jerky, fish jerky, beef jerky, or turkey jerky. The only question is, which cut will you try first?

Final Thoughts on How to Make Good Elk Jerky

Making elk jerky at home can indeed be an interesting and rewarding adventure. It allows you to experiment with flavors, textures, and spices. However, it's a process that demands time, patience, and a fair amount of trial and error. If you're up for the challenge, go forth and conquer the world of homemade elk jerky with the knowledge we've shared.

But, if your guide on how to make elk jerky left you craving this delectable treat but didn’t quite motivate you to actually undertake this project, then there’s just one thing left to do. Buy jerky online today at Mahogany Smoked Meats and treat your taste buds to your new favorite healthy snack!