After the Hunt ~ DIY Elk Jerky Recipe

I am part of a hunting family.

Cabella's Wall Tent
Often our home away from home. Our wall tent set up in the back woods of Alberta.


There I said it. It is one of those things difficult to “just put out there” in a public forum sometimes. It is a risk, yet it is authentically a part of me.  It is not something I particularly enjoy arguing about and occasionally I find myself defending our choices; which is kind of funny really as quite often those picking it apart are the same “those” that merrily throw their meat into a grocery cart without much thought about it other than which barbecue sauce to slather it in. So yes, we are hunters, and I am proud of my family and our way of life. We take great care and consideration in the process, and we try to find ways to use as much of the animal as possible. Hence the elk hide my son is drying in my garage. I jumped on the veggie train back in university once, but quickly fell off as it wasn’t for me. I really would need to like more vegetables to survive! And, growing up in Labrador I enjoyed my fair share of Caribou over the years. The George River Caribou Herd would find itself just outside of my home town during the migration.

Camp Location
From the Water Valley Area looking west at the Canadian Rockies

AND……here goes…..I am absolutely madly in love with animals and wildlife. I will never pass by the chance to watch (from afar) a momma grizzly bear show her young cub how to flip rocks hunting for grubs. The face to face cougar encounter I had back in 2001 will remain vividly lodged into my brain forever I am sure. It was scary and majestic in one breath and the sense of being given a second chance at life was very evident as I was the hunted that day. My heart sings when I see horses running in the foothills and when my two old Newfie Lab dogs greet me by my bed every morning, my heart melts. I cuddle lambs and pigs every chance I get and watching a newborn calf be born and the protectiveness of Miss Momma Cow is pure bliss. Everyone in my family is like this and if we could have a barnyard of rescues……….it would be a dream come true.

The appreciation of animals and the circle of life is complicated for some to understand. Nonetheless I find myself in a position where I prefer to eat wild game meat than to shop for it at a grocery store. I really like to know where and how my food was processed.  In any case to each their own. I am not going to try and sway anyone into eating meat or going out and attempting to hunt it either! I know it is not realistic for many. I admit, I fall into the quick grab and go and am still learning where and how to source other options direct from places that agree with my standards of animal treatment. What  I do know is how we handle the food we get on our own and am very grateful for the meals I can create for my family. It is an outdoor family adventure of camping, cooking, creating, discovering, cooperation and spirituality.

Off to Camp!
More than just a hunt – It is about the journey too.

DIY Elk Jerky {or beef!}

Evynne had her sleepover | ski date! Lucky duck!

Monday or yesterday, was a snowy day here in the Foothills of Alberta. Of course we were all jonesing to go ski the fresh stuff! Responsibilities were in play today, but at least one person in our family was able to take advantage of the new blanket of snow with friends at Sunshine Village! Snow abound, it was also the  perfect day to make some of the elk jerky we had been planning from an elk hunt we split with a friend back in February. We are leaving for Lake O’Hara on Sunday and homemade jerky is a perfectly lightweight, protein packed item that goes the distance.

We butcher and grind all our own meat so we purposely put aside certain cuts for different cooking options. Stew meat, steaks, ground meat for burgers and lasagna, scraps for sausages, and cuts for jerky are all packed accordingly in our freezer.


1/2 Cup Canola or Sunflower Oil
1/2 Cup Soy Sauce
1/2 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
1 Tblsp Ground Ginger
1 Tblsp Chopped Garlic
Approx. 2-3 lb Roast / meat cut

We used a section of thawed hind quarter from the elk.

Flank cut steak works for this as well if you prefer to not hunt your meat!

The Completed Elk Jerky
  • Using a clean towel / paper towel, pat your thawed out meat to absorb as much liquid as possible. Wrap meat in plastic wrap and place back in the freezer for approximately 1-2 hours or just frozen enough to make cutting it an easier task.
  • Remove meat from freezer and remove as much fat from it as possible, if any.
    Slice meat into 1/4 inch thick slices. We got about 20 slices from our hind quarter.
  • Combine all the ingredients including sliced meat in a large plastic container or plastic bag and allow to marinade 24 hours or over night for best results.
  • After sufficient marinading, remove sliced meat and pat dry with clean towel or paper towel.

  • Place tinfoil or a large cookie sheet on the most lower shelf of your oven (or the bottom of your oven) this makes clean up easier!
  • Spray your oven racks with a non stick spray. (remove them from oven to do this)
  • Turn oven on and set the temperature at 150 F or as low as your oven will go. Our oven only goes as low as 200F so we adjusted accordingly.
  • Lay your sliced meat directly on the racks (horizontal to the vertical).
  • Prop the oven door open slightly to allow air flow (we use a wooden spoon).
  • Allow to cook for 2 hours, then flip the slices over at least once within the middle of your cooking cycle.
  • The cooking process can vary anywhere from 3 to 6 hours just depending on your oven temperature and the thickness of the slices.

  • Once cooked, allow to cool fully. Let the jerky slices air dry for about 4 hours or overnight as we are about to do!
  • Package in airtight containers or baggies. Can be frozen if longer storage is required. Short term storage is fine in a cool, dark cupboard.


0 Responses

  1. Brenda Varnam

    Hmmmmm… I wonder if I can adapt this to beef? I am not able to hunt (due mostly to the fact that I did not grow up in a hunting family and so have never been taught to shoot straight) but I try to source the meat in my freezer from farmers I know or butchers with great reputations. However… the processing of meat into jerky is going to be my next challenge… any suggestions for beef?

    • alannahgamblinjensen

      Hey Soul Sista! How are you!? Yes – this recipe can be adapted to beef – flank steak cut is suggested in the post with the ingredients and that’s what we would use! I have no doubt you will master this quickly – perhaps you can share your cheese recipe with us!! Let me know if any questions!

  2. Jolene

    Awesome blog! Love your story.

    • alannahgamblinjensen

      Thank you so much Jolene! Appreciate the feedback!

  3. brentontravis

    Eloquent writing! Keep it up! And I’m for sure trying this recipe on some venison jerkey!

    • alannahgamblinjensen

      Thank you! Please let me know when you do and if you enjoy it as much as we do!

      • brentontravis

        I will! I still have some meat left from the deer I harvested last fall! 🙂