I know people who don’t add much, or any, fat to their ground venison. Just salt and pepper for seasoning and no added beef or pork fat. They seem perfectly content with the way their meat turns out, so it’s really not my place to tell them that they might be missing something.
One man’s delicious burger just might be another man’s bland and dry one. And based on the huge quantity of deer meat that is ground into burger, it seems appropriate to add a twist or two to the grind without compromising the deliciousness of a properly cooked burger. If you’re not overjoyed with the way your venison burgers taste, here are a few tips to make them better next time.
- Don’t just season the outside of the burger, season the inside as well. Once the meat is ground, mix in your favorite burger seasonings.
- If you want juicier burgers, mix 20 – 25% fatty ground beef or pork to the grind. If you grind it yourself, untrimmed pork shoulder ground together with the venison adds just the right amount of fatty flavor. Also, inexpensive bacon ends and pieces taste great when added to a venison burger patty.
- Carefully trim venison before grinding. If freezer-burnt or gristly meat gets into the grind, it won’t taste nearly as good when cooked as if it had been first trimmed of silver skin, gristle and discolored parts.
- Burgers taste better and fresher when just ground, as opposed to thawing out pre-made patties that have been your freezer for a couple of years. I prefer to freeze trimmed hunks of deer meat that can be thawed and then ground as needed.
- If your ground deer is especially “bloody” and not properly bled or aged, break it up and place it into a colander with a drip pan underneath. Refrigerate for several hours while the juice drains. In a pinch, press two-ply paper towels into the meat to wick out the excess liquid. Once drained, the cooked burgers will hold together better and, truth be told, deer blood doesn’t really taste all that good to most of us.
- If you like dry, chewy burgers cook the patties until they are completely gray throughout. Enjoy the rubbery texture as you struggle to bite through the leathery disc. If, on the other hand, you like a juicy burger that runs down your arms like in the commercials, do not cook your burger past 135 degrees in the center.
VIDEO – From a segment of The Sporting Chef TV show on Sportsman Channel. Venison, Mushroom and Blue Cheese Burger.