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Venison Burger | Deer Burgers

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These deer burgers are juicy, moist, and delicious. This recipe is fast and easy and utilizes a secret ingredient…… Learn how to cook perfect venison burgers.

Venison cheeseburger on poppy seed bunPin
Venison Burgers

The Difference in the Location of a Herd Impacts the Quality of the Meat

We live in a basin three miles from Lake Ontario, which is very flat. Because Lake Ontario is so close to us, it moderates our temperatures. In the Spring, the Lake tortures us with breezes off the water, so it stays cooler here longer. We don’t get as many killing frosts in the Spring.

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The effect of this is that we have miles and miles of orchards nearby because of the moderating effect of the Lake. Due to the topography and the orchards, our deer have to work less hard for food than deer that live in the mountains and hills south of us.

Our deer meat tastes like apples and is naturally mild-tasting and tender. When we hunt down south, we can taste the difference in the flavor and texture of the meat because that population works harder to find food and eats a lot of acorns and conifers.

So, where you source your venison can and does significantly impact on the flavor and texture of your venison.

Our region, along with many other regions in New York, has an overabundance of deer because of the lack of natural predators, as is evidenced by this article from the New York Department of Conservation. Therefore, it’s essential for the herd’s health, not to mention to drivers, to cull the populations.

Why Should You Make Venison Burgers?

There are several reasons why that making deer burgers is a good idea. First and foremost, venison is a lean and healthy source of protein. It contains less fat and calories than beef, making it an excellent option for anyone who wants to maintain a healthy diet.

Additionally, venison has a unique and delicious flavor that differentiates it from other meats. When prepared correctly, venison burgers are juicy, tender, and bursting with savory flavor.


Another reason to make deer burgers is that venison is a sustainable and eco-friendly choice. State and federal wildlife agencies manage wild deer populations, which helps to ensure the health of the animals and the ecosystem.

In addition, when you consume venison, you support ethical hunting practices and reduce your carbon footprint.


Finally, making deer burgers is a fun experiment with new flavors and ingredients. Venison pairs well with various toppings and seasonings, from classic cheese and bacon to exotic flavors like a blueberry compote or chipotle mayo.

Venison Burgers – the Secret Ingredient

We experimented with venison patties for many years before settling on one we liked.

We have tried mixing the ground venison with ground pork with minimal success. We find the venison is overdone before the pork is.

We’ve tried bacon, and although this is preferable (and let’s face it, what is bad with bacon??? 🙂 ), the bacon tends to overpower the delicate flavor of the venison. But there are lots of Venison Bacon Burgers on Google.

Some purists say you should use venison and no added fat.. We respect their opinion but respectfully disagree. You have very little room to obtain a juicy burger with deer meat. Your timing has to be spot on. They will dry out if you cook them for an extra minute, and the mouthfeel is inferior.

Venison cheeseburger topped with thick sliced tomato on poppy seed bunPin

We have experimented with these beef steak trimmings often and like this the best. It adds the needed fat content to the venison and does not overpower the flavor of the venison.

Just go to your local butcher and ask them for steak trimmings. They are happy to sell them to you, and our butcher charges only $1 per pound.

We use a ratio of about 80% venison and 20% steak trimmings.

What you need

  • Ground Venison Meat: Substitute elk, moose, or antelope. We prefer a larger grind on the venison.
  • Beef Steak Trimmings: Grind the trimmings more finely than the venison. Smaller pieces ensure the beef has a safe temperature to consume.
  • Onion or Shallot: Grate the onion in the bowl with the meat. It saves time compared to chopping and sautéeing them. It also gives you the onion flavor without the chunks in your burger.
  • Garlic: Grate the garlic into the bowl with the meat for the same reasons as the onion.
  • Fresh parsley: Parsley will give the burgers a bright, fresh, “green” flavor.
  • Fresh chives: Chives add some color and a mild onion flavor.
  • Black Pepper: Use freshly ground black pepper for the best flavor.
  • Kosher or Sea Salt: Add salt to taste.
  • Oil or butter: Use whichever you like to fry the burgers.
  • Hamburger Buns: Choose your favorite burger bun.

How to make this Venison Burger

Step One

Cut venison into long strips that fit into the hopper of your meat grinder.

Sliced venison on board ready for grinding.Pin
Sliced venison on board, ready for grinding.

Step Two

Grind venison with a large, coarse (6mm) grinding plate.

Ground meat in a bowl.Pin
Ground meat in a bowl.

Step Three

Get shallot, garlic, parsley, and chives together.

Ingredients assembled on cutting board.Pin
Assemble the remaining ingredients.

Step Four

Grate the garlic on a microplane directly over the ground meat.

Grating garlic over meat in bowl.Pin
Grate garlic over meat in a bowl.

Step Five

Grate the shallot on a microplane directly over the ground meat.

Grating shallot on microplane directly over the ground meat.Pin
Grate shallot on a microplane directly over the ground meat.

Step Six

Chop parsley and chives.

Chopped chives and parsley on cutting board.Pin
Chop chives and parsley.

Step Seven

Add herbs to venison.

Herbs added to meat in bowl.Pin
Add herbs to meat.

Step Eight

Cut steak trimmings to fit into your grinder. Grind with a small grinding plate (4mm).

Chunk of beef trimmings on cutting board.Pin
Cut step trimmings to fit into the grinder. Grind.

Step Nine

Mix beef with venison lightly until combined. Don’t overwork the meat.

Burger mixed in large bowl.Pin
Mix the burger thoroughly but lightly.

Step Ten

Form into patties. Use your thumb to make a well in the center of each patty on one side. Place the side with the well down first in a pan or the grill. The well will minimize the burger “ballooning” in the center.

Cook over medium-high heat in a cast iron skillet, or cook on the grill on the grill grates.


Cook until brown on the first side, 3-4 minutes. Flip and cook the other side for 3-4 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 140°F, for medium rare burgers. Let the patties rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Four burgers frying in cast iron pan.Pin
Fry in a cast iron pan.

Most butchers will grind the meat if you don’t have a grinder. Just request to grind the steak trimmings smaller than the venison. This way, they will cook in the same amount of time.

Venison Burger Doneness Temperature

The recommended “done temperature” for ground venison is 160°F, according to USDA. This temperature will result in a well-done burger. We remove ours from the heat at about 140°F, which results in a medium rare burger.

Optional spices and seasonings to add to your burgers

  • Onion Powder: Use this if you have no fresh onions.
  • Garlic Powder: Use this if you have no fresh garlic.
  • Worcestershire Sauce: This sauce gives the burgers a nice umami flavor.

More variations

There are many variations of deer burgers that you can try, depending on your taste preferences and the ingredients you have on hand. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Classic Cheeseburger: Top your deer burger with your favorite cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onion for a classic burger that never goes out of style.
  2. Bacon Blue Cheeseburger: Add crumbled blue cheese and crispy bacon to your deer burger for a rich and indulgent flavor.
  3. BBQ Bacon Burger: Top your deer burger with crispy bacon and tangy BBQ sauce for a sweet and smoky flavor.
  4. Mushroom Swiss Burger: Sautéed mushrooms and melted Swiss cheese make for a savory and delicious topping for your deer burger.
  5. Spicy Jalapeno Burger: Mix some diced jalapenos into your deer meat and top with pepper jack cheese for a spicy kick.
  6. Greek Burger: Top your deer burger with feta cheese, kalamata olives, and tzatziki sauce for a Mediterranean-inspired twist.
  7. Hawaiian Burger: Add grilled sliced pineapple, teriyaki sauce, and a dash of red pepper flakes to your deer burger for the islands’ sweet and savory taste.
  8. Breakfast burger: Top your burger with fried eggs, scrambled eggs, and cheese.

These are just a few ideas. Experiment with different add-ons to find your perfect deer burger recipe!

Medium rare venison burger cut in half on pretzel bun.Pin

Great toppings for venison burgers

  • Cheese: use your favorite cheese; some good ones are American, cheddar cheese, Swiss cheese, gouda, Havarti,  brie, etc.
  • Lettuce: Shredded or lettuce leaves are good on burgers.
  • Tomato: Sliced fresh, in-season tomatoes are the best.
  • Bacon: Crisp the bacon to your liking before cooking the burgers.
  • Slices of fresh or pickled onion: You could even use caramelized onions, which are delicious on burgers.
  • Pickles or Relish: Sweet or dill pickles are good, depending on your preference.
  • Mayonnaise: Use your favorite mayo.
  • Mustard: Dijon, yellow, spicy, or sweet mustard are all good.
  • Ketchup: Use your favorite ketchup brand, or make your own ketchup.

Pro tips for success

  1. Grind fat smaller than the venison so that the venison doesn’t overcook.
  2. Do not over-mix meat. It will become dry.
  3. Cook over high heat.
  4. Do not cook burgers over medium rare or medium at the very most. Burgers tend to be dry if they are overcooked. Target an internal temperature of 140°F.
  5. If you have people that don’t like to see the pink in the meat. Let them rest for 10 minutes. They won’t have any more pink in them.
  6. Let burgers rest for 5 minutes before serving.
  7. Grating the onion directly into the bowl helps keep burgers moist and flavorful.

Want to learn more about How to Cook Venison? Don’t miss our awesome Ultimate Guide! Complete with 65 FREE Recipes from some of the top venison recipe developers in the world!

Tools I Use

Other delicious venison recipes

Venison burger with toppings on a pretzel bun.Pin

Well, that’s how easy it is to make delicious this moist and juicy deer burger.

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I hope you enjoyed the recipe today.

Enjoy. And have fun cooking!

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venison cheeseburger on a Kaiser rolls with lettuce and tomato slice.Pin

Venison Burger

Venison burger, if not cooked properly, can be dried out and tough as hockey pucks! These Venison burgers, are juicy moist and delicious! This recipe is fast and easy and utilizes a secret ingredient- steak trimmings.
See Step by Step Photos Above!Most of our recipes have step by step photos and videos! Also helpful tips so that you can make it perfectly the first time and every time! Scroll up to see them!
5 from 11 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: entree, Main Course, Sandwich
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
resting time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 23 minutes
Servings: 4 burgers
Calories: 278kcal
Author: Beth Neels
Cost: $2

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground venison
  • 1/10 lb steak trimmings, ground or processed fine in food processor
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 1 Tbsp grated shallot or onion
  • 2-3 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2 Tbsp snipped chives
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp peppers

Instructions

  • Grate garlic and clove directly into bowl with ground venison
  • Add parsley and chives, salt and pepper.
  • If grinding steak trimmings, make sure it is mostly frozen, use fine grinding disk. Then grind or process in food processor
  • Mix lightly, but thoroughly with the venison ingredients.
  • Form into 4 patties.
  • Place in very hot cast iron pan, or grill for 3-4 minutes, until brown. Flip and brown the other side for 3-4 minutes. 
  • Rest for 5 minutes before serving.
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Video

Notes

Do not overcook burgers! No greater than 130-135°F.
Grind venison with 1/2″ hole disc and run the meat through twice. A coarser grind is preferable. Grind steak with 3/8″ disc.
Let burgers rest for a few minutes before serving.
Source steak trimmings at your local butcher. They are cheap. 
Your butcher will grind the meat for you, if you don’t have a grinder.
Grating the onion and garlic into the meat bowl increases the juiciness of the burger.

Nutrition

Calories: 278kcal | Protein: 25g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 98mg | Sodium: 377mg | Potassium: 384mg | Vitamin A: 225IU | Vitamin C: 3.9mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 3.4mg
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24 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    These Venison Burgers look FANTASTIC!!! Venison is such a nice lean meat. I am sure this burger version is a great way to eat it. I can’t wait to give this recipe a try.

  2. 5 stars
    I haven’t eaten a lot of venison, but I know it’s lean and delicious. I’m definitely going to try this venison burger, looks so good!

  3. 5 stars
    I bet this is a tasty burger! My Father in Law hunts so I’ll have to share this recipe with him.

  4. 5 stars
    I would love a venison burger right now, it is lunch time and man, this looks sooo good!! Drooling now. I love this! Thanks for sharing!

  5. 5 stars
    How I would love to bite into this delicious burger, making a burger with venison is an awesome idea, can’t wait to try your recipe Beth!

    1. Thank you Patty! Can you buy ground venison in Europe? You wouldn’t want to a gorgeous sirloin, like the recipe you just posted about, which looked amazing, incidentally!

  6. 5 stars
    That burger looks absolutely delicious! I love all your venison recipes and wish I could get deer meat easier so I could make them!

  7. 5 stars
    Wow venison burgers must be so full of flavour. We rarely see venison where I live unless you go to farm shops or markets so these would be a lovely treat!

  8. 5 stars
    Sounds awesome – I have never tried venison but I love to offer carnivore guests “alternative” meats that you don’t see often. ????

    1. Well, I believe your carnivaore guests would love these! They are so much healthier than beef! Thanks for you input, Gabi!

    1. It is very juicy! It took me a long time to settle on a method that the family liked, but this is definitely it! Thanks, Ellen!

  9. 5 stars
    That looks amazing! I can’t wait to try the steak trimmings! My husband got one last night so pretty soon! In the meantime, I will source some trimmings! Thanks!

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