Who doesn’t love jerky? I mean, really. It is a staple in the duck blind, and duck or goose jerky is a perfect use for “off” ducks like spoonies, fishy divers or snow geese. Once the fat is removed, there’s no fishy flavor.
But there is jerky and there is jerky. Some people run their meat through the grinder and use a “jerky gun.” This is fine, but it is not traditional jerky, which is always whole cuts of meat. Thickness is up to you.
Really thick slices need long drying times and result in a very hard product. If you’ve ever heard of biltong in Africa, that’s what this is. I ate lots of biltong when I was in Zimbabwe and South Africa in the 1990s, and I’ve developed a taste for thick jerky. But you can cut yours thin if you’d like.
This recipe makes a jerky that is dry enough to store at room temperature — although the fridge is best for really long storage — but pliable enough to keep it meaty.
What follows are my flavorings: As long as you keep the ratio of meat to water to Worcestershire sauce to salt the same, you can vary the other flavors. You need enough salt to draw out moisture and help with preservation, and the Worcestershire sauce adds both extra salt and vinegar, which is also a good preservative.
I designed this recipe for a dehydrator, but if you don’t have one, set your oven to “warm” and put the meat on a wire rack set above a rimmed cookie sheet; the sheet catches any drippings. I also leave the oven door ajar for air circulation.
The porcini powder in this recipe is made by grinding dried porcini in a coffee grinder. You can buy dried porcini in most supermarkets.
As for the meat, this will work with any skinless duck or goose breast, or with venison, elk, antelope, goat, lamb or beef.
- 3 pounds skinless, de-fatted duck or goose breast
- 2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Instacure No. 1 (optional)
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 teaspoon porcini powder (optional)
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
Slice the duck breasts into roughly 1/4 inch thick strips. Mix remaining ingredients well in a large bowl. Put the meat into the marinade and massage it all around to coat evenly. Pour everything into a seal-able plastic bag or container and set in the fridge. Marinate for at least 24 and up to 72 hours -- the longer it is in the mix, the saltier the meat will get, but the more flavorful it will be. During the marinating process, massage the meat around in the bag to keep all the pieces in contact with the marinade.
Remove the duck from the bag and pat dry with paper towels. Either follow your dehydrator's instructions for making jerky (I dehydrate mine at 140°F), or lay the strips on a wire rack set over a cookie sheet. Set the rack in an oven set on Warm until the meat is dried out, but still pliable, about 6 to 8 hours. Store either in the fridge indefinitely, or at room temperature for up to 1 month.
If you are interested in another flavor of jerky, try my chipotle jerky with duck instead of venison.