Start to Finish: 30 minutes
Difficulty Level: Beginner
Venison is flavorful deer meat that is leaner than most cuts of meat used to make burgers. Unlike beef, venison doesn't have marbles of fat to hold it together. To prevent your burger from drying and crumbling, add fat to ground venison meat to achieve the texture of a traditional hamburger. Animal fat, such as pork, has a neutral taste and provides the necessary fat to make a venison hamburger.
- 24 ounces venison, ground
- 5 ounces pork fat
- 2 egg whites
- Black pepper, to taste
- Kosher Salt, to taste
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 4 slices cheese
- 2 tablespoons water
- 4 burger buns
- 1 tomato thinly sliced
- 1 onion thinly sliced
- Tomato ketchup, optional
- Preheat a cast-iron skillet over a medium-high heat.
- In a large bowl, combine the venison, pork fat and egg whites.
- Divide the ground meat into four balls; mold them into 1- to 1 1/2-inch-thick patties.
- Heavily season both sides of the venison patties with salt and black pepper.
- Add the olive oil in the preheated cast-iron skillet and add the patties; cook each side for three to four minutes. Look for browning on the sides of the patties as a sign that they are ready to flip.
- Add one thick slice of cheese on top of each patty while it's still in the pan; turn off the stove.
- Add 2 tablespoons of water, cover the pan and steam the patties for 30 seconds. This helps the cheese melt.
- Transfer the patties into a plate and warm the sliced burger buns in a microwave or toast them.
- Place the patties on the bottom half of the buns and add two thin slices of tomatoes and onions on the cheeseburgers. Drizzle the meat with tomato ketchup if desired, add the top half of the buns and serve.
- Serve the burgers with chips or salad or eat them as a standalone dish.
- Choose from a variety of toppings. Add pickles, caramelized onions, fried bacon, lettuce or a fried egg to your burger. Insert a wooden skewer in the center of a burger to hold it together if you added several toppings.
- Use lettuce as a burger bun for a low-carbohydrate alternative.
The Fat Ratio
Use bacon trimmings to replace pork fat. The preferred ratio for a burger is 20 percent fat and 80 percent lean meat. Alternatively, you can preserve bacon grease after cooking by pouring the warm liquid fat into a mason jar. The bacon grease will solidify and have a butter-like consistency. Bacon fat is salty, so avoid adding salt to the recipe if you choose to replace pork fat.
- Use breadcrumbs as an egg substitute for binding agent. Add breadcrumbs as necessary to help the burger meat hold its shape when you mold the ground meat into patties.
- Do not press down on the burger while it's cooking. This dries the meat and increases the likelihood of crumbling the patty.
- Use high-quality bread for buns. Choose a thick and soft bun that will hold the burgers juices.
- Use a meat thermometer to check that the meat reaches a safe temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.