It’s easy to make jerky from meat products purchased at the local grocery or meat market. For hunters, it’s also easy to make delicious jerky from game such as deer. But what about those hunters that like to hunt game birds, water fowl or small game, i.e., rabbits, squirrels, etc., these don’t have enough meat mass to make jerky strips. An alternative jerky is to use them for making ground-meat jerky or as we call them, jerky sticks.
As in any situation when hunting – and field dressing – special care should be taken to use safe, clean butchering processes so as to not contaminate the meat. This is especially true if you plan on using the meat for ground meat jerky. And, of course, only healthy animals should be used.
The process for obtaining the meat to be used should include the following:
- Debone the meat from game or fowl
- Remove all fat and gristle
- Cut away all bloody meat and remove any shot
- Soak deboned pieces in salt water overnight in the refrigerator (helps remove some of the gaminess and also helps tenderize the meat)
Making ground meat jerky from small game or fowl also means that you can use the less tender portions of meat. You may find your jerky sticks more tasty if different types of meat are mixed together. For example, try blending the dark meat of ducks and geese with milder meat to tone down the flavor. Another way to ‘mask’ a strong game flavor is to use very spicy seasonings.
Preparation & Mixing Process
- If meat has not been previously frozen, freezing it a little helps in the grinding process.
- Make sure the spices you plan on using are dissolved in any liquid you use
- Mix everything completely together, including cure, in a large bowl (non-metallic) until tacky.
- Refrigerate overnight
- Extrude from jerky gun and dry according to dehydrator directions
Ground Meat Jerky Recipe 
- 2 pounds wild game meat, ground
- 2 tablespoons Morton Tender Quick
- 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 3-4 drops hot sauce (use to taste, can be made hotter)
Note: Try replacing the lemon pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder with your favorite pre-packaged jerky seasoning like Nesco’s or one of the whiskey flavored ones. Also, the recipe may need to be adjusted if the pre-packaged seasoning already contains a cure.
Look for links to the most requested jerky making equipment, seasonings and info . . . here.
Final thought, don’t have any small game or fowl, use this ground meat method to clean out the freezer using all your left over game meat. You’ll have an empty freezer ready for hunting season and lots of delicious jerky to enjoy in the meantime.
 The Complete Jerky Book