5poundsvenison, sliced against the grain 1/4 inch thick
1/2cuplime or lemon juice(see below)
2tablespoonscayenne or other chile powder
2tablespoongarlic powder,or 8 garlic cloves, minced and mashed
Mix all the spices together in a bowl. If you are not using the citric acid powder (Fruit Fresh), wet the slices of the venison with the lime juice. Coat the venison with the spice mix well, pressing and massaging it into the meat. Put all this in a covered container in the fridge for a day, and up to 2 days. More than that and things might get too salty.
Get your smoker going at about 165°F and no hotter than 200°F. Wood choice is up to you, but I like mesquite. Remove the meat from the container and shake off any excess spices; you do want some on there, though. Lay the meat out in the smoker so they are not touching. Smoke until leathery, so not juicy and not brittle. Start checking on the meat at 2 hours, then every 20 minutes past that.
Once the jerky is to your liking, let this cool to room temperature before you put in the fridge.
Once made, your jerky will keep for a few weeks at room temperature, and forever in the freezer.
Keys to Success
Definitely pay attention to your meat when slicing. No sinew or silverskin! For those of you who get a lot of deer in a year, backstrap is great for this. I mostly use roasts from the hind leg.
Keep the salt to meat ratio as it is in this recipe, but the other spices you can play with. Some variations could be to add allspice or coriander, cinnamon, or hell, just use Tajin from a Mexican market.
You can also soak your meat in soy sauce plus 1/2 cup of sugar, let it sit no longer than 8 hours, then smoke it. Soy is very salty, so you don't want to oversoak it.
Definitely try a batch with just the salt and black pepper once. It really shows off the quality of your venison.