venison burger

The Absolute Best Venison Burger

Of the top 3 most popular dishes in America in 2022 hamburgers and cheeseburgers were #1 and #3. Obviously, we eat a lot of burgers in the US. In our house we eat a lot of venison, so not surprisingly we eat a lot of venison burgers. I am going to share with you how we make the absolute best venison burgers. Serve these at your next cookout and you will definitely impress with one heck of a delicious meal! It is definitely a family favorite of ours. 


Why Venison

Any sort of wild game will be a very lean meat. One of the leanest red meat you can have. Lower fat content means fewer calories and less saturated fat, which can be helpful for those watching their weight or concerned about heart health. Despite being lean, wild game is full of nutrients like protein, iron, zinc, and B vitamins.

It is also one of the most, if not the most, organic options out there. Wild game animals live in their natural habitats and feed on their natural diets, which are mainly grasses, berries, and other plants.

They are not exposed to antibiotics, hormones, or other artificial additives that can be found in livestock raised in intensive farming systems. This makes wild game a more natural and organic choice if you are trying to keep a diet of minimally processed and chemical-free meat.

Folks who say they don’t like venison usually say it's because they don’t like the gamey flavor. They unfortunately were likely served a venison dish that wasn’t well prepared in the past, forever creating an aversion that is robbing them of some really delicious (and really healthy) meals. Don’t be one of those friends! There are tons of fantastic wild game recipes out there to help you. Like this one!


Choosing the cut of meat

For this one you may have assumed you are grabbing a pack of ground meat. But nope. You can lay out anything but ground. Grab a cut of roast, tenderloin, really any cut of meat you have or prefer. While we always use white tail deer meat, I would expect this would work just a great with mule deer, elk meat or even bear meat. 

For this wild game recipe you are going to grind it yourself…with…bacon. Oh yeh. 

Which brings us to bacon. The best option is to get pork fat from the butcher. But, if you don’t have time for an extra stop then a good ol 'pack of bacon will do. But I do suggest picking the thick cut and fattiest you can find.



The Equipment

You are going to need a mixer and the grinder attachment for this. If you don’t already have this attachment, this is a great excuse to go ahead and get it. You will not regret it! My sister gifted ours to us at Christmas and it ended up being one of our favorite gifts ever. 



Get to Grinding

Go ahead and get your mixer and the attachment all set up. If you have tossed out those directions, no worries. You can go here for help. 

Using meat that is still slightly frozen is best. It is easier to cut and grind. And, patties are best made with cold meat, so this will help it stay cold enough through the grinding process. 

Now you are going to cut the venison meat you selected into cubes and set aside. Then cut the bacon into square strips. I like to keep the two separate so I can make sure the bacon is going in evenly.

The purpose of grinding these two together is so you can blend the bacon and venison together. This will give the lean venison some added fat to help hold the patties together as well as little extra flavor. 

In small batches load a handful of venison chunks and a few bacon strips. Keep an eye on how much bacon you are adding so you can be sure you have enough for those last few batches so your meat mixture has an even bacon to venison meat ratio. 

This method isn't just great for burgers. I think you will start to find that this is a great way to start any ground deer meat recipe. Because you can experiment with adding in all sorts of flavors you may end up starting any ground venison recipe this way from now on. 



Once you have a large mixing bowl full of ground bacon and venison it is time to season it. But first you need to add in your bread crumbs. This will also help hold your patties together so they don’t fall apart the first time you flip them. 

You can add in whatever your go-tos are. For us, we go for Worcestershire, a seasoning blend, black pepper and salt. Go easy on the salt though, the bacon already has plenty. Depending on the seasoning blend you choose you may opt to add in garlic powder or onion powder as well. 

Use your hands to mix all of this together and then you are ready to make some patties.


Making Some Patties

As I mentioned before, this works best with cold meat. So if you notice your meat has lost some of its chill during the grinding process you can stick the bowl back in the fridge for 20 minutes or so. This will give you time to prepare any toppings too. 

Grab a handful of the ground venison mixture and begin to form a round shape. Burger patties grill up best when they are formed with slightly higher edges and a little bit of an indentation in the middle.

Be careful to not work it too much. You don’t want it to get mushy looking. 



Grill Ready

Now you are ready for the grill. Load those patties on the grill and let the smell of these amazing burgers cooking up make your neighborhood jealous. 

The recommended internal temp for a grilled burger is 160 degrees. While a rare steak is perfectly safe and preferred by most members of my family, an undercooked burger is a different story. The reason is, the inside of a steak has never been exposed to air and outside bacteria.

But you have just ground this meat up, exposing every bit of it to potential bacteria. The same is true with ground beef by the way.

You don’t want to over do it and serve a tough burger. Juicy is good. You just want to make sure the internal temp is warm enough to make it safe to eat. 

The best way to accomplish this is to use an indirect heat method. Once your charcoal is ready, put your burger patties right over the flame for only about one to two minutes on each side. Just long enough to get a sear on the outside.

Then move them to the side of the flame and put the lid back on. This will let them cook at a medium heat to medium-low heat and brought up to the desired temp slowly so it doesn’t lose any juicy flavor. 

If you are serving any cheeseburger fans, add that on at the last couple of minutes. Just long enough until the cheese melts. My favorite cheeses for burger toppings are going to be cheddar cheese, colby jack and mozzarella cheese. 

If you are foregoing the grill, then I highly recommend cooking these up in a cast iron skillet. 


Serve it up

Now you are ready to load up your favorite toppings. Lettuce, tomato, diced onions, pickles, avocado, coleslaw, green chiles, spicy jalapeno peppers, the list really could go on and on.  If you want a super bacon-y burger then add on some cooked bacon! Make it a brunch burger and add cooked bacon and fried egg. Up your burger game and get creative. 

By setting out a bar of options your whole family can craft their favorite burger.

For a summer dish, I recommend a chilled fresh salad as a side. But chips, tater tots or fries are always a crowd favorite too.




We hope you enjoy this burger and that it is one of those delicious recipes that you have to share with your friends. Subscribe or follow along for more venison recipes. 


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