Deer meat, a.k.a. venison, can be cooked in so many ways, but one of our favorites is deer burgers. No one can say no to a grilled, juicy burger patty on a toasted hamburger bun. Not only that, venison is considered a healthy source of lean protein—much leaner than typical ground beef.
If the gamey taste that often comes with fresh, wild meat has you shying away from trying this hunters' twist on an American delicacy, a few simple techniques can make yours the best burgers on the block. Start with fresh ground venison from your latest harvest or from your local butcher. Add complimentary spices such as onion and garlic powder, and watch your cook time: Nothing ruins a good venison burger more than overcooking it. Because deer meat doesn't have nearly as much fat as beef and pork, it takes a little less time on the grill to reach its optimum internal temperature. Add your favorite toppings and you'll have a solid meal!
Looking for some inspiration? Check out some of our favorite venison burger recipes from stellar hunters and chefs.
Venison Cowboy Burger
High-quality venison is the not-so-secret ingredient to the best venison burger, especially if you're looking for a no-frills recipe. The cowboy burger is a fairly easy undertaking. Grilling the ground deer meat on a skillet or grill locks in the juicy flavors, ensuring every bit is scrumptious. While you're at it, grill your bacon, too. Top with mayo, BBQ sauce, Dijon mustard, and some onion straws, and you'll have a clear winner.
Venison Burger with Blue Cheese & Crispy Shallots
While using blue cheese in your venison burger may seem like a no-brainer, the juniper berries in this recipe from UK site Red may seem like an odd addition. However, the unique flavor of the festive berries beautifully compliments the wild-game meat.
The berries, along with the garlic, parsley, and chives, don't go on top of your burger, though. Instead, the mix gets stuffed into the meat mixture and placed on the griddle to cook. Fry your shallots in olive oil for a crispy topping, then add your favorite condiments and sides, and enjoy!
Grilled Venison Burger
Mixing your meat with ingredients like Worcestershire sauce may add much flavor, but it doesn't help keep the lean meat sticking together in burger form. Here's a pro tip from this recipe on the food blog The Cagle Diaries: Mix in some egg and breadcrumbs. Then shape your venison burger patties into rounds and place them in a cast iron pan or on the grill at medium-high heat. Place the cooked meat on some toasted brioche buns and dig in.
Venison Burger with Blackberry Sauce and Brie
This recipe from food and travel blog Craving to Create starts simply, by mixing some shallots, salt, black pepper, and spices—like onion powder—into the deer meat, then grilling in a cast iron skillet or on a blackstone to preserve the flavor. Where it gets interesting: Topping the burger with brie and a custom blackberry sauce to round out the meal with savory and sweet.
Smoked Venison Burgers With Beer Cheese
For a thick, juicy burger, Over the Fire Cooking's Derek Wolf creates a larger patty and smokes it until it reaches the peak temperature of 145 degrees before searing. This burger gets topped with a killer beer cheddar cheese that oozes through each bite, along with a little extra heat brought to you by some fresh jalapeños.
Cabernet Venison (or Beef) Burgers
Red wine is often served alongside red meat, but in this recipe from What's Cookin' Italian Style Cuisine, Cabernet and venison are mixed together to complement each other in every bite. The addition of bacon and using the bacon fat to fry the burgers, plus a slice or two of extra-sharp cheddar cheese, makes these deer burgers extra decadent.
Cast-Iron Venison Burgers
A cook's best friend is a cast iron skillet. You can use it on the stovetop, on a grill, or over a campfire, making recipes like this one from Hilda's Kitchen Blog a cinch to make almost anywhere. The venison here is mixed up with some unique ingredients—cherries, sage, and smoked paprika, plus Tabasco sauce—and topped with Swiss cheese. Serve with a basket of fries or a side of coleslaw for a complete meal.
Venison Mushroom Swiss Burgers
Peak to Plate's venison mushroom Swiss burger may seem like it has a lot of ingredients that would cover up the meat's natural flavors, but that couldn't be farther from the truth. The savory spices and smooth Swiss cheese are blended into the venison meat for a rich (and yummy) combination. Topped with caramelized onions and mushrooms, you may find you skip your condiments altogether
Venison Burgers with Fry Sauce
Some venison burgers hold their own without sauces and complementary vegetables. This burger, from the blog Country at Heart Recipes, achieves that distinction with the help of a low prep time and a tasty fry sauce. Season the meat in a large bowl and form into burgers to pop on the grill while you mix up the fry sauce. This burger almost seems like the wild game nod to the In-n-Out burger, but is it actually better? You be the judge of that!
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