Well, I’ll finally stop talking about hunting, at least for this season.
In two past columns, I’ve reviewed the sweet event Wyoming Women’s Foundation brings to Ucross each year in the Wyoming Women’s Antelope Hunt. The harvests were plenty, as were educational activities on how to fly-fish, process and cook their game and archery, among the camaraderie fostered through the multi-state representation.
The second column followed up with an attempt at planning a typical deer hunt, including packing patience.
Although I forgot patience about 50% of the time this season, a successful hunt finally led to a freezer with deer meat inside. I was fortunate enough to complete the process from start to finish this year: purchase my own gun and ammo; sight in purchased gun at the range and practice sneaking up on a deer after running stairs and up hills at the gun range; plan, prep and pack for a hunt in the Clearmont area; “glass,” or scope out bucks with binoculars in the truck; kill, gut, quarter and pack out the harvested game; and finally process the meat to freeze and make a family favorite, Grandpa Baublits’ jerky.
My grandfather always made jerky out of harvested game growing up, and he swears by a certain recipe. I found out just last week that his famous recipe was a Wyoming-made product — Hi Mountain Seasonings.
The directions are precise and warn you to be exact when measuring. My grandpa’s voice kept knocking in the back of my head, ‘It’s extremely specific, you have to be precise.’
For anyone who knows my baking regimen, precision is the last thing I’d claim as a strength. In spite of my lack of precision — and a kitchen scale purchase later — my husband and I managed to make what I believe might rival my grandpa’s jerky.
For those fortunate enough to be at the processing and creating part of the hunting process, I wanted to share the crazy simple directions for making deer jerky. I’d share the summer sausage recipe, too, but the jury’s still out on how that turned out.
Hi Mountain Pepper Blend Jerky
Note: The jerky kits include cure, seasoning and a handy shaker. I highly recommend a jerky gun, too, to help create the perfect strip or stick of jerky. Grandpa Baublits suggests it, too.
• 1 lb. ground deer meat
• 1/4 cup cold water
• 2 1/2 teaspoons seasoning
• 2 teaspoons cure
• Wire racks
• Smoker, dehydrator or oven (if using oven or dehydrator, I suggest liquid smoke)
1. Mix cure and seasoning.
2. Add up to 1/4 cup ice water per pound of meat. Mix meat, water and seasoning thoroughly for approximately 5 minutes or until sticky (reduces shrinkage).
3. After mixing, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight.
4. After removing from the refrigerator, stuff 3/4 meat in jerky gun.
5. Shoot jerky sticks onto wire rack.
6. Place wire racks in oven, smoker or dehydrator on top rack at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour 20 minutes or more if you like a more dry product.
7. Remove from smoker, place in plastic bags and don’t forget to give back to those that helped you through the hunting season.