These are the best venison cheeseburgers you’ll ever make! This venison burger recipe is so simple and results in a delicious burger that deserves a place on any table.
Growing up, we didn’t eat very much venison. My dad didn’t hunt and neither did my mom, so venison wasn’t really available to us. I do remember one time my mom trying to pass off venison bacon as turkey bacon (which didn’t work at all), but other than that, I have no real memories of eating deer meat as a child.
Fast forward to today where we eat it multiple times a week in multiple different forms. Stroganoff, lasagna, pot pies, you name it, we make it! And make it with deer! My favorite though, has got to be this classic, easy venison cheeseburger recipe! It is so very tasty!
What is a Venison Burger?
A venison burger is just like a regular hamburger, except instead of cuts of beef it’s made with ground venison! I season, cook, and store my venison burgers just like regular hamburgers and recommend that you do the same.
Venison is a much leaner meat than most beef burgers and comes from animals that aren’t treated with any artificial hormones or antibiotics. They are essentially fed an organic diet (at least our deer are), too! It’s an incredibly flavorful meat that is hearty and filling. Some people say it tastes gamey, but I believe with the right seasoning and technique, you’ll like this easy venison burger recipe better than beef!
Ingredients you'll need:
- Ground Venison
- Kosher Salt & Pepper
- Seasoned Salt
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
- Lard or Bacon Fat
How to Cook a Venison Burger:
- Thaw the meat. We get our venison processed at a local butcher during hunting season and packaged into one-pound bags. When the craving for a great venison cheeseburger strikes, I grab two packages out of the freezer and let them thaw overnight in the fridge.
- Season and mix. I am a firm believer that less is more when it comes to burger recipes. I season my burgers with a few choice spices, add fat, and gently turn the meat to incorporate.
- Portion the venison. The less you handle venison meat, the better. It doesn’t have a high fat content and will get tough and chewy if mixed too much. I like to use a portion scoop to get even patty sizes.
- Form the burger patties. To form the best burger I gently press down with my top hand while turning the patty with my bottom hand. When I get a circle that’s about 3.5 – 4 inches in diameter, I press an indentation in the center to avoid a venison burger that’s bloated and puffy in the center.
- Get cookin’, good lookin’. This recipe can be made on the grill or in a fry pan, whatever you prefer!
Do you rare?
Deer are susceptible to a sickness known as Chronic Wasting Disease, or CWD. This is a vicious disease that will cause the infected animal to go through a dramatic weight loss (literally it will waste away) and experience other very unpleasant symptoms that we won’t discuss on a food blog.
There is debate as to whether or not humans can contract CWD from deer, as it is caused by a prion and not bacteria. While there’s never been a recorded case of a person who has eaten venison contracting the disease, it is still something to know and consider. If you are concerned about bacteria (again, not a the prion that causes CWD), it is recommended that you cook the venison to an internal temp of 145, or medium rare.
I, personally, cook my venison burgers to just below medium. When my husband grills the burgers, he goes to well done and you absolutely can too! It's a matter of personal preference, really.
Freezing Venison Burgers
To freeze venison burger patties, form the burgers as directed in the recipe. Cut wax paper into squares that are 1-inch larger than the burgers and layer between each patty, creating a neat little stack. Wrap the stack in tinfoil before placing in a freezer safe bag.
To cook: remove from freezer and thaw in fridge overnight. Continue with the cooking process the next day. (I do not recommend cooking venison burgers straight from frozen. I’m sure it can be done, but I believe you lose a lot of flavor and end up with a dry, tasteless hunk of protein.)
I sure hope you give this easy venison burger recipe a try! After all, it’s very near and deer to my heart.
Easy Venison Burger Recipe
- 4 ounce portion scoop
- Cast Iron Pan or Grill
For the burgers:
- 2 pounds ground venison, thawed
- 3 tablespoon lard or bacon fat, melted
- 2 tablespoon kosher salt, divided
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
- ½ teaspoon seasoned salt
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 8 Brioche Buns, sliced, butter, and toasted if desired
- 8 pieces Deli Deluxe American Cheese
- 8 Romaine Lettuce Leaves
- 8 tomato slices
- 8 onion slices
- In a medium bowl, gently mix together the venison meat, the melted lard or bacon fat, 2 teaspoon of the salt, ½ teaspoon of the black pepper, the seasoned salt, onion powder, and garlic powder. Do not over mix.
- Use a 4oz. scoop to portion out the meat to create equally sized balls to form patties.
- To form the patties, hold the portioned venison in your right hand and press down firmly with your left hand. Begin rotating the patty with your bottom hand and continue pressing down with your left. When the patty is 3.5 – 4 inches in diameter press a divot into the center that is roughly the size of a quarter (this helps prevent the burger from puffing up while cooking).
- Place patties on a baking tray lined with wax or parchment paper and continue portioning and forming patties until all 8 are made. Sprinkle patties on both sides with remaining salt and pepper.
- From here patties can either be made right away, wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to one day, or layered between small squares of wax paper, wrapped in tinfoil, placed in a plastic zip bag and frozen. (If freezing burger patties be sure to remove from freezer and thaw in refrigerator the evening before use.)
- To cook venison burgers in a cast iron pan: place pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of lard or bacon fat to the pan and allow to melt and coat the entire bottom. Place 2 – 3 burgers, divot side down, in preheated pan, spacing apart evenly. Cook on the first side for 3 – 4 minutes before flipping and cooking for another 2 – 3 minutes (longer for more well done). Remove from pan and add another tablespoon of bacon grease before cooking each batch of burgers. Remove from pan and immediately top with sliced cheese, if using.
- To grill venison burgers: Preheat grill over medium-high heat, scraping grates with a wire brush to clean off any residue, if necessary. Add burger patties, divot side down, to grill and cook for 3 – 4 minutes, rotating patties 90 degrees once during this duration to prevent sticking. Flip and cook for another 2 – 3 minutes (longer for well done). Remove from grill and immediately top with sliced cheese, if using.
- To assemble burgers: Place romaine leaf on bottom bun and top with burger patty. Add tomato and onion, if using. Spread mayo and mustard on the top bun and finish assembling the burger. Serving with a side of potato chips, fries, or a pickle!
- This recipe works great for beef burgers too!
- Get crazy - feel free to add mix-ins like minced garlic or diced onion, if you feel so inclined!
- Refer to post for freezing and thawing instructions.