I recently returned home from a free-range axis deer hunt in Texas. The views were amazing, the axis deer were a blast to chase, and (possibly the most important part) the food from my harvest was incredible.
I had heard for several years about how great axis meat tastes, and that it would be hard to go back to whitetail venison after trying axis. I'm not going to lie, I originally thought the meat was going to be way overhyped and my expectations wouldn't be met. I even anticipated a grudge towards the meat, because the hunt was so great and the letdown was just begging to happen. But this was not the case.
When I was down in Texas for a week, I was able to eat some different culinary creations that included axis meat, and it absolutely blew me away. The meat itself has a flavor that is sort of hard to describe, but the best way I can put it is it's a perfect mix between whitetail deer and pronghorn antelope. That description may not help most people, but my guess is that after you try it, you'll understand what I am talking about.
The rich, almost smoky flavor is something that whitetail venison just can't really match. Because of this, I have found myself wanting to enjoy the meat as it is, and just grilling steaks with basic ingredients like salt and pepper. I can let the meat do the rest.
But the other day, I decided to honor the state in which I harvested this animal by cooking up a recipe that I have used in the past with whitetail meat, but was extremely excited to try out with what could be my new favorite red meat: Texas-style burgers.
This is a fairly easy recipe to make, but one that your guests will love you for making. I didn't even mix any fat with the ground axis, and it grilled up just fine. These burgers pair best with hot, a sunny day, the kind where you can get outside to work up a decent sweat and great appetite. Plus, adding a good Texas beer to the menu completely tops it off. Trust me on that one.
Axis Venison Burger Recipe Ingredients
- 2 pounds Ground Axis Venison
- 1 tsp. of Salt
- ½ tsp. of Pepper
- 1 tsp. of Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp. of Chili Powder
- ½ tsp. of Worcestershire Sauce
- 4 Burger Buns
- Romaine Lettuce
- Sliced Red Tomato
- Sliced Onion
- 2 Whole Jalapeños
- Pepper Jack Cheese
Axis Venison Burger Recipe Instructions
1. Heat your grill to medium-high and brush the grill with oil to prevent sticking.
2. Add your ground venison and spices into the bowl, mixing well to ensure even flavor. Form the ground venison into 4 thick burger patties.
3. Place burgers on the grill with adequate spacing in between. Place vertically sliced jalapenos on a cast iron pan next to the burgers.
4. Cook burgers for roughly 8 minutes on each side. Axis meat is extremely lean, so always aim for medium rare, or about 135-140 degrees. A wireless meat thermometer is strongly recommended to ensure proper internal temperature.
5. Turn and monitor your jalapenos until they are perfectly charred on all of the sides.
6. Place hamburger buns on the grill until they are lightly toasted.
7. Add your pepper jack cheese to the burgers about a minute before they are done cooking to allow them to melt into the meat.
8. Add your toppings (lettuce, tomato, onion, mustard, mayo) and slice even portions of jalapeño to top the patty.
9. Serve the burgers immediately, with a Lone Star Original beer to honor Texas.