The Night My Husband Brought Home Deer Meat…

At my house, we are NOT hunters. Neither my husband nor I have ever been hunting; and I’m okay with that! The thought of camping on a mountain in the cold, waiting for wild animals to cross my path, and then killing them so I can butcher their meat just doesn’t sound very appealing to me. So, you can imagine my surprise when my husband came home one night and announced that he had brought home some deer meat?! It turns out his boss at work is a hunter and had acquired a freezer full of ground venison. They were thinking of using the ground venison for a company barbeque, but wanted me to experiment with the meat first to see if venison burgers would taste good or be “too strange”. Since I’m usually up for a “Cook’n” challenge, I decided to see if I could make some tasty burgers out of deer meat. Here’s a little documentary of my attempt…

Luckily, ground venison looks a lot like ground beef. I began by placing the thawed meat in a bowl.

I found some seasoning that I thought would taste good with the venison. The seasoning I chose was “Hickory Burger Seasoning” by Hi Mountain Seasonings. (My husband bought this seasoning from Cabela’s). I mixed one tablespoon of this seasoning with the one pound of ground venison.

Once the seasoning was thoroughly mixed with the meat, I needed to form the burgers. I don’t have a burger press, (I really should invest in one of those), but I do have a good ole’ rolling pin and a circle-shaped cookie cutter. So, I rolled out the meat until it was about a ½ in thick and cut out burgers.

Once I had the burgers made, I fired up the grill. I heated up the grill to about 375 degrees.

We like our burgers well-done, so I cooked them for about 8 minutes, flipping once or twice during that time.

And, drumroll…. The finished burger!!

My assessment of the burger was that it was only okay. I felt like I had over-seasoned the burger and it was too salty. I also cooked it a little long, which made the burger too tough. My husband wasn’t a fan of the burger at all so he decided to scratch the idea of using the venison for the company barbeque.

What I should have done before making the venison burgers was a little more research. If I were to make venison burgers again, I would…

  • …only lightly season the outside of the burgers. Too much salt or seasoning mixed with the venison not only makes the meat taste salty, but also makes the meat more tough.

  • …only cook burgers for about 3 minutes per side at a higher temperature. Apparently, that makes a juicier venison burger.

  • …try following a recipe (hahaha). But seriously, there are a lot of deer meat recipes out there that sound delicious. Many of them mix onions, peppers, and fresh herbs with the meat.

  • …let the burgers sit for a while (at least 30 min) before grilling them.

  • …consider adding some extra fat to the meat. Venison is such a lean meat that the burgers could use a little extra fat for flavor and tenderness.

I’m sure many of our readers out there are much more experienced with venison than me! What do you do? Happy hunting season!


    Cristina Duke
    Monthly Newsletter Contributor since 2014
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