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Freshly Ground Venison Burgers

Burger Patties

Prep time:

30-45 minutes

Cook time:

6-10 minutes


4 burgers

Difficulty level:


Venison backstrap is one of the most valued parts of the harvest.  People may question your judgment if you tell them you’re grinding it up for burgers.  Those are the savory cuts that we often save for ourselves, thin-sliced and medium rare.  Beyond the backstrap (and maybe the shanks) just about any other cut of venison makes tasty burgers, especially if you add some pork or beef fat to it.  If you’re going for lean meat, 10% added fat is about as low as you want to go.  Your burgers may fall apart with any less, but 20% will give you the additional flavor, hold your patties together, and crisp nicely on the edges.

Some people think venison is an acquired taste but prepared correctly, I’d choose deer burgers over beef most days.  (Maybe it has something to do with grilling up my own harvest.) I like to add bacon and avocado, or sautéed mushrooms and onions to my burgers for some added flavor.  What toppings do you put on your burgers?  Leave a comment below!



1 pound venison, trimmed

1/4 pound fatty bacon ends, pork fat, or beef fat

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Favorite burger seasoning (we like Hardcore Carnivore Camo for this recipe!)

4 slices cheddar cheese

4 hamburger buns

Topping Suggestions: lettuce, tomato, pickle, mustard, ketchup, bacon, avocado, fried onions, or anything else you might enjoy!


Slice the venison into 1- to 2-inch cubes.  For best grinding, the meat should be extremely cold, almost freezing.  Add the bacon ends to the pile and mix together.  (This makes a 3:1 meat-to-fat ratio, 25% fat).  You can spread the pile of meat over a baking sheet and put it in the freezer for 20-30 minutes to ensure that it’s cold.  Run the meat through the meat grinder using a 1/4-inch (7-mm) grinder plate.  You can stop here, or you can run the meat through the grinder a second time.  The twice-ground meat will form a denser patty that holds together better but some prefer a single pass.

Prepare the grill for direct high heat.  Divide the ground meat into four parts and form patties.  Make the patties as loose as you can without risking them falling apart.  Be gentle.  Salt and pepper the patties; depending on your affinity for salt, you might not need to add any at all, as the bacon ends are plenty salty.  Place the patties on the grill and season. Cook for 2-3 minutes, flip, season again and cook another 2-3 minutes. Flip once more and add a slices of cheese to each patty and close the lid.  As the cheese is melting (a minute or two), prep your buns with the condiments and toppings.  Serve immediately.

Also works with: you can use any big game to make burgers.  But remember that hamburger made from bears, wild pigs, javelinas, and other carnivores or omnivores needs to be cooked to a temperature of 160°F to destroy any nasty parasites that may be lurking.

Special equipment needed: meat grinder

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