Making jerky from ground meat
Illnesses from homemade jerky caused by E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella have raised questions about the safety of the traditional drying methods for making jerky from venison. Ground venison and beef are more of a concern than whole muscle meats. If improperly cooked, homemade jerky may contain bacteria that can result in life threatening illnesses.
New recommended procedure for drying ground deer, moose, elk or other meats:
- Keep meat refrigerated until ready to use. If frozen thaw in the refrigerator and NEVER at room temperature.
- Wash hands, cutting board and utensils with hot soapy water before and after handling the meat.
- Add favorite jerky seasoning and marinate in the refrigerator per package directions.
- Shape the ground meat into desired shape. Put on cookie sheet.
- Preheat oven temperature to 325F.
- Quickly heat the ground jerky meat to 160F, verify with a food thermometer.
- Begin dehydrating immediately after cooking.
- Oven drying – Prop oven door open 2–6 inches, Oven should be at 170F. Increase circulation by placing a fan near the oven door. Dry for 5–6 hours.
- Dehydrator – Dry 6–8 hours or until pieces reach desired doneness.
- Proper Processing of Wild Game and Fish (141 KB PDF) – Penn State
- Wild Side of the Menu No. 3 Preservation of Game Meats and Fish – North Dakota State University
- From Field to Table: a Pocket Guide to Care and Handling of Deer – North Dakota State University
Revised January 2011 by Roselyn Biermaier, Educator Emeritus, University of Minnesota Extension. Peer reviewed by Carolyn Thomas, University of Minnesota Food Safety Education Specialist.