One of my best friends is married to an avid hunter, which means that when he killed a deer recently they graciously shared some with us, giving us our first opportunity to cook and taste venison burger.
I’ve had venison previously - as a roast, a meatloaf and some fabulous jerky – but this was our first time trying it out in burger form. Also our first time tasting sans any marinade or other additives since I make hamburgers Alton Brown style: meat solo with no extras.
As always, Ted did the actual raw meat handling for me. Although I do eat meat a few times a week I greatly dislike handling it so that’s part of his cooking duties as my sous-chef de cuisine. Let me tell you, that man makes a mean hand thrown meatcake.
I most often make turkey burgers since they’re so calorie friendly and we often have access to fresh ground turkey from a nearby Amish market, so I used the same cooking technique with these. That involves rubbing a thin layer of canola oil onto the pan, then heating it thoroughly to just over medium heat, putting in the patties and letting them sit undisturbed for seven minutes per side.
Using that technique on the deer turned out to be a slight error on my part. Poultry needs to be very carefully cooked through to avoid bacterial contamination whereas deer can be rare, so on the first batch of burgers my cook time was a tiny bit too long. They weren’t ruined, just a little too close to well done. I think we nailed it on the second batch by reducing the heat to straight up medium and cook time to six minutes per side.
As you can see, the boys were eagerly anticipating dinner.
I decided to have my venison burger with Dijon mustard, for that refined wild game eating experience.
The taste is definitely recognizable from beef. It’s rich, flavorful, slightly crumbly, with a hint of minerals to it. Calorie-wise it was higher than I expected, coming in at around 200 calories for a 4 oz. burger with 8 grams of fat, although opinions on how many calories game animals contain does vary a great deal via internet research so I could be wrong there. It’s absolutely healthier than beef, or any mega-store purchased animal as it was never mass farmed, genetically manipulated or injected with chemicals.
Overall I very much enjoyed it. Many thanks to my friends for sharing their tasty catch!