Summer means grilling and hamburgers, and if you’re treating your family and friends to venison burgers, you want them to have the best.
If you had your venison processed and ground, let it thaw, and then check the meat for any bits of sinew or tendon. Sometimes processors get in a hurry and, to be honest, it’s not their meat. So make sure the ground venison doesn’t have anything in it that it shouldn’t.
If you grind your own venison at home, you’ll be able to add any fat you want for flavor and moisture. Some hunters don’t want anything extra, and that’s fine, too. Run it through your grinder on a coarse grind and then again with a finer grind. That ensures the meat is uniform in size and ground well, and you then can mix in any other spices.
Shape the patties of equal size with your hands; about one-third pound is a good size, which is a little less than an inch thick and 31⁄2 inches wide. Weston’s great selection of burger presses and patty paper also will have your patties exactly the same size and shape. The kids can help with this, too. Keeping them all the same size ensures a uniform cooking time and doneness, meaning that little burger won’t burn, and the thick one won’t be raw in the middle.
If you grill over charcoal, have an area with fewer or no briquettes so you can move burgers off the direct heat, if desired. Maybe you want to melt some cheese on them without having it go all hot-bubble crazy over the flame. If you’re using a gas grill with a high rack in the lid, use it, or turn one burner to low or off so you’ll have an indirect heating area.
Cook for a few minutes on each side until you achieve the desired doneness, throw on some cheese, warm up the buns, and maybe add a few jalapeno poppers or bacon-wrapped venison bites. Enjoy.
Here’s a great burger recipe from wild game chef Scott Leysath, who has a great cookbook you should check out!
Venison Bleu Cheese Burger
1 1/2 pounds ground venison
2 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 cups mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
2 tbsp bread crumbs
Salt and pepper
4 burger buns
4 lettuce leaves
4 slices tomato
Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook until onions are translucent. Stir in mushrooms and sauté until soft. Transfer to a medium bowl and allow to cool.
Add ground venison, blue cheese, bread crumbs, salt and pepper and mix well with your hands to blend. Form into 4 large patties. Grill, pan-fry or broil patties until browned. Add to bun with lettuce, tomato and your choice of other condiments.