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Hunter, author, outdoorsman and preparer of delicious wild game Steven Rinella is the host of Meat Eater, which airs on the Sportsman Channel. Out now: the first volume of his most recent book: The Complete Guide to Hunting, Butchering and Cooking Wild Game. This installment tackles big game — really big game. Elk, moose and buffalo big. Once you’ve tracked, hunted and butchered these titans, you’ll need to know what to do with hundreds of pounds of meat. Chicken it ain’t. Tackle that meat pile by making jerky that’s better than anything you…well, didn’t track, hunt, butcher or dehydrate.

It’d be interesting to know how many pounds of game meat get turned into jerky every year in the United States. It has to be an astounding number. After all, there’s nothing better than chewing on last year’s deer while you hunt for this year’s. While there’s certainly no shortage of great preblended jerky-making kits on the market, it is fun and rewarding to make your own. This is a favorite recipe of mine, developed by the folks at Weston Products. It has a much more complex flavor profile than any jerky blend you can find at a sporting goods store. When slicing the meat, take the time to do it right. If your slices are of uniform thickness, they’ll finish drying at the same time and you won’t have to hover over the dehydrator while you remove individual pieces as they get done.

A note on drying jerky in your oven: I like to use a dehydrator. It’s the most efficient way to control the heat and rate at which the jerky dries out. But if you don’t have one, you can use an oven set at very low heat — say about 170º. Crack the door of the oven, and let it go for several hours at least. (It usually takes somewhere between 4 and 7 hours.) Watch it carefully throughout the process — you want it to cook evenly and not get overdone.

Reprinted with permission from The Complete Guide to Hunting, Butchering and Cooking Wild Game