Outdoor Skills + Advice: Zingy Cowboy Pickles and Jerky

By Contributing Writer Aparna Rajagopal-Durbin, faculty member and Diversity & Inclusion Manager at the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS)

Just as our short growing season ends in Wyoming, game season has arrived. This means more meat (yay!), but fewer vegetables (boo!). While cleaning out my freezer of last year’s game and picking the last few cucumbers from the community garden before the first frost hits, I’ve been trying to invoke the Martha Stewart in me to do something creative with this food, something to make it last just a little bit longer so I’m not stuck eating store-bought meat and potatoes all winter. Alas, I was unable to channel Martha. But I did get some ideas from Kary Sommers, a NOLS Field Instructor who has been hunting since she was 12. These zingy cowboy pickles and jerky are great snacks for your next adventure.



Large mason jar(s) w/ lids
Garden cucumbers (whatever you have)
Apple cider vinegar White vinegar
Whole garlic cloves (to taste)
Red pepper (optional/to taste)
Salt (to taste)
Garlic powder (to taste)


Cut cucumbers into spears and pack in jar. Crush whole garlic cloves—toss in jar. Add salt, garlic powder, and red pepper to taste. Fill jar with 1/3 apple cider vinegar, 1/3 white vinegar and 1/3 water. Seal the jar, shake it, and store in refrigerator. Wait one to two weeks to eat. The longer they sit, the tangier they get.


Makes enough marinade for five pounds of sliced venison.


1 cup of soy sauce
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/4 cup of molasses
1/4 cup of Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons of garlic powder
2 tablespoons of onion powder
2 tablespoons of canning salt
1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon of black pepper
2 teaspoons of Morton Tender Quick
1 teaspoon of powdered cayenne pepper


To make marinade: Mix all ingredients making sure sugar and salt are completely dissolved. Add marinade to venison and marinate for one to two days. Dehydrate. Enjoy on your next adventure!