Foodie Friday: Venison Burgers and Sides

Venison Bleu Cheese Burger

It’s close enough to the July 4 holiday that we’re getting started a little early!

We know a lot of you love grilling burgers with your venison from last season, so this week Foodie Friday has a treat. Longtime wild game chef and hunter Scott Leysath whips up one of his favorite, or maybe definitively his favorite, venison burger recipes.

By Alan Clemons, Managing Editor

Leysath’s great recipes for fish, fowl and game can be found at along with tips on cleaning and preparation.

Make the perfect bun-sized burger every time with this patty helper, Weston’s EXPress!

July 4 is Wednesday, smack dab in the middle of the week. Does that mean we have two holiday weekends? Of course! So it’s time to whip up not only some burgers but also some great side dishes, which we’ve added to this week’s Foodie Friday for you. Always good to have a bounty of options for a chillout weekend or two, along with some cold watermelon, nibblers and drinks.

One thing I learned years ago from Leysath is summed up in three words: “Don’t overcook it.” Definitely make sure you ask how folks want their meat, because everyone’s different. I get that. But if you burn something to a crisp or dry out everything inside until it’s a drab, grayish hunk that looks like an old shoe, it’s not going to taste good.

If your burgers are too thick then turn down the fire and count on longer cooking time. Don’t fire-blast ’em so the outside’s done and the inside is raw. That’s not a good combo. And don’t have the patties so thin that if you do walk away to water the begonias they turn into hockey pucks. Use medium-high heat or let the charcoal burn down to a good temp and keep and eye on the meat.

Here’s Leysath’s great burger recipe:

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.

Wow! Sounds great. Here are some side dishes to go along with those burgers!


Emily Anderson had a great recipe for Corn Salsa and graciously agreed to share it with us.

Emily is from Colorado, and loves to hunt, fish and get outdoors with her husband. Check out her really cool site at to keep up with what’s happening in the Rockies and elsewhere.

Corn Salsa

1 can canned corn
1/2 red onion
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
1 orange or yellow pepper
1 bunch cilantro
Sea salt
White balsamic vinegar (1-2 Tablespoons)
Olive oil (1-2 Tablespoons)
1 lime
Serrano or jalapeno pepper

Drain corn and dump in large mixing bowl.  Add 1/2 cup chopped onion. Chop peppers into small bite size pieces.  Chop or shred with fingers the desired amount of cilantro, and add to bowl.  Season with sea salt (1 tsp or so).  Add balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  Squeeze 1/2 lime over mixture.  Finely chop serrano or jalapeno pepper and mix throughly into salsa.

Chopping up veggies for the salsa? You need a good cutting surface like this one, which has a giant whitetail buck on it!


I ran across this quick appetizer, or side dish if you want to use it as one, on another site recently. It’s easy to make and pretty tasty

Roma Sausage Slammers

Roma tomatoes, enough for everyone to have at least two
Mozzarella cheese, grated
Romano cheese, grated
Monterrey or Pepper Jack cheese, slices
Spicy sausage link

Grill the sausage. While you’re doing that, cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise and remove the seeds/insides. Add a layer of grated cheeses, then a slice or bite-sized piece of the spicy sausage. Cover the top with the sliced cheese (whichever you prefer) and put on a medium-hot grill for a few moments. The tomato will grill, the cheese will melt and you’ll have a quick, tasty popper. Add a thin slice of seeded jalapeno pepper atop the sausage if you want a little more bite.

Y’all have a great weekend!

For the best Venison Cookbooks, Processing Tools and Game Handling Resources, visit

Do you have a great recipe? Deer & Deer Hunting is again looking for favorite venison recipes from our readers! Email your complete recipes to