Last Updated on March 20, 2021
Why I’m feasting on wild game with this easy venison burger recipe.
You might wonder why we are including the option of an unashamedly carnivorous venison burger recipe on a flexitarian lifestyle site. But, neither of us is vegetarian or vegan, instead, our concept of flexitarian eating involves as much local and environmentally friendly produce as possible. Right now, swapping any beef we are still eating for venison is an easy way to enjoy red meat without destroying the environment – and it tastes delicious too!. Wild venison is normally culled to produce meat for top restaurants around the country but with every outlet closed the wild deer population has grown and now endangers both farmed crops and woodlands, together with the other wildlife that normally lives there. Sales of venison in the UK are down 80% while the lack of population control could see numbers rise by as much as 30% each year. Venison makes an excellent substitute for beef as it is leaner, lower in cholesterol and higher in nutrients. It’s also naturally organic with no antibiotics or chemicals. And, the meat we’ve used for this venison burger recipe is also local, coming from Sussex to London courtesy of Pale Green Dot.
If you are using lean meat like venison to replace minced beef or lamb it’s worth remembering that you will probably need to bind the mixture with egg or something similar. Other than that, the method is just the same as making any other meat-based burger. I haven’t used breadcrumbs simply because I prefer my burgers without them, but you could add a tablespoon if you like the slightly softer texture you’ll get by using them. I’ve seasoned my venison with salt, pepper and a little ground cumin. And, I’ve used a handful of fresh parsley, some finely chopped onion and a couple of cloves of garlic too in this venison burger recipe. Wild venison has plenty of flavour and doesn’t really need much added. If you are using farmed venison you might want to add more spices and perhaps a little Worcester sauce.
It’s worth making your venison burgers an hour or so in advance and letting them chill and ‘set’ in the fridge. You can make them up and freeze them uncooked too if you like, though I wouldn’t keep them in the freezer for too long as, even if you wash your hands very well (as I am sure you do), the process of making the burger mix up will inevitably mean that the finely minced meat comes in contact with bacteria from the air so can easily become contaminated.
It’s for this reason that many restaurants won’t serve a rare or medium-rare burger. At home, though, it’s entirely up to you how you cook your venison burger.
I’ve used chef’s rings to make neat burgers but you can use a burger press or mould them with your hands if you prefer.
I like to pan-fry venison burgers in olive oil. The meat is very lean and frying helps prevent the burger from drying out. If you are trying to keep the calories down, you can cook venison burgers in the oven. Just spray them with 1-cal olive oil spray and put them on a silicone baking sheet in an oven preheated to 200C or 180C (fan oven), turning them once during cooking. Finally, you can barbecue venison burgers or cook them on a cast iron griddle.
What you use to garnish your burger is very much about personal taste. I like the classic additions of bread and butter pickles, iceberg lettuce, avocado, tomato and homemade mayo. I’ll also happily add a rasher of well-grilled streaky bacon and a slice of cheese.
Here’s how to make your own venison burgers at home. Please note the calorie calculation does not include any of the garnish ingredients though it does include the burger buns.
- 240 g venison mince
- 1 medium egg
- 1 small onion peeled and finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic peeled and finely chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 handful fresh parsley finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- salt and pepper
- 2 burger buns to serve
- selection garnish - your choice of iceberg lettuce, tomato, cheese, grilled bacon, mayonnaise, avocado, pickles etc
- Put half the oil into a small frying pan and gently soften the onion and garlic over a low heat for 8-10 minutes.
- Put to one side and allow to cool for 20 minutes or so so that it doesn't 'cook' the egg or mince when the burger mix is made up
- Once the onion and garlic mix has cooled, add the cumin, salt and pepper and fresh parsley together with the egg.
- Use a fork to break up the egg and mix everything together
- Use your hands to make sure everything is completely mixed together
- Make patties by dividing the mix in half and moulding it with your hands, or use a chef's ring or burger press if you prefer.
- Press the mixture firmly together and place on silicone paper with a loose covering in the fridge to rest for at least 30 minutes before cooking
- When you are ready to cook your burgers, heat the remaining oil in a large non-stick frying pan
- Seal the burgers over a high heat for 30 seconds then turn the heat down and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
- Turn the burgers and put the heat up to seal the meat again, then turn it down and cook for a further 5 minutes.
- Take the burgers out of the pan and leave to rest for a few minute while you warm the burger buns (either grill halves, warm them in the oven or put them in the microwave for 30 seconds)
- Put a dollop of mayonnaise on the base of each of the buns, then add the burger and garnish with lettuce, tomato, avocado, pickles and more mayonnaise.
I’ve served my venison burgers with homemade oven chips and salad. I really didn’t need much else!