Learning how to make venison burgers is not only simple and easy, grinding your own meat is more cost-effective than paying a butcher!
It is hard to choose my favorite thing about hunting. Getting only a few hours of sleep so I can trudge a mile deep into a swamp in the dark and proceed to stare at the same tree for 4 hours in the bitter cold. What's not to like? Last year, our seven-year-old was stoked about getting the chance to come hunting with me, he was sure it was going to be non-stop excitement. I told him for practice, he should sit in the closet and stare at a picture of a tree for a few hours. All of a sudden, hunting seems slightly less glamorous to him.
The truth is, I have always been mesmerized by my excitement for the hunt. As a child, it allowed me to connect with my dad. As I grew a few years older I formed a deeper appreciation for the connection it gave me to nature. Now, as a foodie, it is hard for me to not love hunting in the same way I enjoy gardening, for the direct connection it gives me with my food.
For me, hunting isn't just about harvesting pure, unadulterated, meat in it's most natural form. It goes a step further than that. I've always taken a lot of pride processing my own meat. Like the hunt itself, it allows me to form a deeper appreciation for where my food comes from, as well as giving me a sense of pride in my own self-sufficiency. Heck, a bite into a perfectly roasted venison loin is the ultimate congratulations for a hunt well done.
Not to mention, there is just something immensely satisfying about the gentle hum of a LEM Big Bite® Grinder (affiliate link) effortlessly working through a big batch of venison. I swear, it is almost therapeutic. Click on the image below to check it out.
Over the years I have used a number of different meat grinders, and I can say in all honesty this LEM #8 SS Big Bite Grinder is by far my favorite. Grinders that attach to stand mixers only work for the smallest projects, and grinders I've owned with plastic gears quickly broke when the grinding got tough. This LEM is heavy duty, and the metal gears ensure it is built to last. Plus, the Big Bite design allows the auger to take an extra big bite of meat and then move it into the grinder head quicker than other grinders.
In the past, I've owned #5 grinders, but I've quickly fallen in love with the larger size of the LEM #8 SS Big Bite Grinder for most tasks. Initially, I worried that a #8 would be too large for small jobs, but it just makes any sized job easier.
How to Make Venison Burgers
There are a number of important consideration when grinding venison, the most important of which is what final product is going to be. Grinding wild game for chili, sausage, or burgers will all require a slightly different method to get the best results. Let's talk specifically about the grinding process for making the best venison burgers ever!
As many of you already know, I write about burgers frequently. I once owned a burger food truck and used the experience to write up all of my secrets to crafting the best homemade burgers. We will use many of those same techniques to create the best venison burgers too!
Unlike beef or pork, venison fat isn't recommended for cooking. Not only is the meat too lean to make a good burger, but venison fat simply does not taste good. Instead, butchers will blend pork or beef fat in with venison for many applications. Which fat is best to blend with venison? I like the rich taste of beef suet for making venison burgers. Beef fat also stores well in the freezer longer than pork and is safe to consume at a lower temperature. However, pork fat is a great choice if you want a mild-flavored fat that will allow the flavor of the wild game to shine through. I like using pork fat for my sausages.
Some people like to blend bacon trimmings, or even the meat from beef or pork, with their venison. This works well, and adds flavor, but I like the more pure process of simply adding fat so the flavor of venison remains the star.
To prepare everything to grind, you will want to place the meat, fat, and grinder attachments in the freezer prior to grinding. The meat and fat should not be completely frozen, just firm it up so it slides through the grinder with greater ease. Sticking the grinder attachments in the freezer helps the meat maintain it's chilled temperature.
For a good burger, you will want to grind everything twice on a medium grind plate (4.5mm). Not only will this create the classic burger texture when you bite into it, it will also ensure the fat is evenly distributed throughout the venison when it is time to form patties.
How much fat should be added to venison?
Many people love venison because it is so lean and healthy. Unfortunately, lean and healthy does not, a good burger, make!!! You need fat to craft a mouthwatering burger of any kind. Specifically, I recommend 20% fat for perfectly juicy burgers. If you want to make it a tad leaner, I'll give you permission to go down to 15%, but any less than that and you will be making dry, crumbly burgers.
How to form patties
When all the meat is ground, grab some wax paper and start forming patties. The secret is to work the meat as little as possible. The more the meat is squished and smeared, the tougher it becomes. As you can see in my photos, I like to still be able to see the individual strands of meat from the grind even after I press the patty. To replicate this, simply grab and a handful of freshly ground meat, gently form it into a ball just tight enough to hold together, and then press down between wax paper till flat. Using a flat-bottomed plate for pressing gives you even results.
Now the burgers can be wrapped in plastic wrap and freezer paper for storing, or fried up for dinner. Dust them with salt and pepper, cook them in a pan over medium-high heat, and top with your favorite toppings. I really like blue cheese, bacon, and red onion on my venison burger.
Check out the summary directions below!
How to Make Venison Burgers
- 8 lbs venison trimmings
- 2 lbs beef suet
- salt and pepper
Grinding Venison Burgers
- Ensure all cuts of venison are cubed small enough to fit into the grinder.
- Place venison, fat, and grinder attachments into the freezer and freeze until the meat reaches approximately 34 degrees and is semi-firm.
- Using the 4.5mm grinding plate, run the venison and beef suet through the meat grinder twice, intermingling when the fat is added to ensure even distribution.
- Gently pick up ⅓ pound of ground venison at a time and form into a ball, pressing only as hard as needed to get it to hold together.
- Place the balled meat on wax paper, and add an additional piece of wax paper on top and firmly press down with a flat object (such as plate bottom) until the patty has flattened.
- Dust burgers with salt and pepper and cook in skillet over medium-high heat.
- Cook until the top of the burger begins to darken, and flip. Continue cooking until cooked to desired doneness.
- Place on hamburger buns and serve with desired toppings.
Don't forget to check out the rest of my mouthwatering venison recipes too!
If you enjoyed reading How to Make Venison Burgers then you should probably like me on Facebook and follow me on Pinterest too. That’s what I would do at least, because if you don’t get to know me but you still use my recipe it is kind of like taking candy from a stranger, and your mom taught you not to do that. Don’t disobey your mom, subscribe to Fox Valley Foodie today.
Deer Camp Cook
Other help tips from experience.
1: Quality not quantity.
Remove anything that’s White from the deer meet. Don’t think you’re wasting to much cleaning the white off the taste of “Gamey” meet will make haters.
2: I’ve found “Jaw Bacon” to be the perfect source of fat for the burgers. 1lb to 4lbs of venison is perfect. Be sure to add during first grind. Extra tip a medium first grind and a fine second makes excellent taco meat/ chili / burger helper and I also like to cut up a fried burger for Burger Wraps
3: Slow fry bacon for toppings then fry patties in the grease. A few onions added to skillet with the patties is a sweet addition.
4: don’t tell any first timer guest it’s Deer until after they’ve tried it. Helps with any preconceived perception.
the saying is is great
Barth o' Keeffe
I have always found simplicity the key to a satisfactory result.Cant wait to give your advice a try.
Fox Valley Foodie
I completely agree. I hope you enjoy!
Sounds excellent. Will be trying it out in the next few days
This sounds great sir. I am very meticulous about my cooking as well and my motto is the fresher the better when it comes to all ingredients. I am going to try your recipe. I will be grilling. I have a good butcher friend and will try the beef suet for the first time. Normally use pork fat but I have to try this. I will let you know how everyone reacts. I would like to infuse bacon on top. In your experience do you think that would take away from the flavor with the blue cheese and suet? Appreciate your sharing cooking experience. I truly enjoy it and always put love into whatever im cooking.
Fox Valley Foodie
Bacon would be a perfect match for those ingredients. Bacon is one of my favorite pairings with blue cheese on anything.
This is the best venison burger recipe online!
My husband just got a deer. I will have to try these burgers. Thanks so much!
Hunting starts this weekend where I live and I got my first tag (buck) in quite some time. We have had a population problem for a few years. I am looking forward to getting out and getting one, assuming I remember how to shoot. I am really looking forward to making some things with this meat!
Fox Valley Foodie
Good luck out there! Rut is in full force around here so I am trying to spend as much time in the woods as possible right now. I am hoping to get one or two more deer for my freezer this winter! I just got a LEM Jerky Cannon that I can't wait to use too!
Shashi at SavorySpin
Hahaha - Ben, I couldn't help chuckling while reading about how you told your son to practice for a hunting expedition! Good thing you have LEM grinders to make the "after-the-hunt" process quicker and less boring -eh?!
Btw, I learned so much about burger making - thanks to you - such a simple prep process can result is such a succulently juicy burger!
Pure, unadultered? I guess you missed the part where the deer are eating from cornfields that are covered in pesticides and have chronic wasting disease. I eat venison, too, but let's be realistic about what we're eating.
Fox Valley Foodie
Thanks for your thoughts, though I think you may have missed my broader point.
No, just pointing out that it's completely false to characterize the venison we take in Wisconsin as pure and unadulterated.
Fox Valley Foodie
Wave to the context as it goes over your head!
Don't mean to but in but sounds like someone has more issues than just venison perfection! I don't hunt I just cook it. Thanks for the tips, found them very helpful!
Hunt in the north woods and it is unadulterated