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A Venison Patty Melt is just like the beloved diner sandwich made with caramelized onions, melty cheese, and toasted rye bread. We’ve just made it better by using fresh ground deer meat! This is an easy and delicious venison recipe that can be made on the grill or stovetop.
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Sometimes you need something different from a classic juicy ground venison burger but you’re not in the mood for a venison tenderloin sandwich or venison philly cheesesteak. That’s where this simple and scrumptious venison patty melt comes in!
If you're looking for even more ground venison goodness - be sure to check out my round-up of the 10 best ground venison recipes!
Ingredients for this recipe
- Ground Venison
- Sweet Onion
- Swiss and American Cheese
- Rye Bread
- Kosher Salt and Pepper
- Worcestershire Sauce
Venison Patty Melt Recipe
- Caramelize the onions. The Griddle fits perfectly into the Flex Grate system on my Oklahoma Joe’s Rider 900 DLX so that I can sauté the onions, cook the burgers, and toast the sandwiches all in one place!
- Mix up the burger meat. And form the patties. Be sure not to overwork the meat or you’ll have a tough burger on your hands!
- Grill the patties. A hot sear at 450 degrees means you can quickly cook the patty without it becoming dry!
- Assemble the sandwiches. Two layers of cheese are the delicious glue holding this whole sandwich together!
- Toast the patty melts. Until deeply golden brown on both sides.
- Enjoy! I love serving a venison patty melt with fries.
Forming the Venison Burger Patties
The key to a good patty melt is to make sure your meat patties are roughly the same size and shape as the bread slices.
After mixing the meat, divide it in quarters and shape each section into a large, flat rectangle the same size as the bread and place on a tray that’s been lined with wax paper.
Adding Fat to Ground Venison
Venison is an incredibly lean meat, it’s important to add a bit of fat to it before cooking to make sure the burgers come out tender and juicy! I like to use lard, but I’ve offered some substitutions below.
Worcestershire – A small bit of acid can help cut down on any gamey-ness that your meat may have (though a properly butchered and processed deer should have a delicious, clean flavor). If you don’t have Worcestershire sauce, you can substitute balsamic or red wine vinegar. Distilled white vinegar is a no go, though!
Lard – Adding a little fat to ground venison keeps the burgers tender and moist. If you don’t have lard you can use bacon fat, butter, or olive oil. I’ve used all with great success!
Onion – I like using a large, sweet onion as they caramelize beautifully but you can use a yellow or white onion in a pinch.
Rye Bread – Marbled or seeded rye can be used in place of the plain, unseeded rye. Sliced sourdough could even be delicious – though you’ll be lacking that classic rye flavor.
Cheese – The way American cheese melts is such an integral part to the patty melt experience. I adore the Deli Deluxe slices, but regular American cheese will work too. Even white American cheese would be delicious. Feel free to substitute provolone for the Swiss, if you’re not a fan.
Making a Venison Patty Melt on the Stovetop
The love I have for my Rider 900 DLX just keeps growing and growing – in large part due to the Flex Grate system that allows me to seamlessly add a griddle to the pellet grill making it easier than ever to sauté veggies and toast sammies over an open fire.
You can also use a large cast iron set over a charcoal or gas grill to get the same effect, or even inside on your stovetop! Here’s how:
- Set a large cast iron over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of butter.
- When the butter is melted, add the onions and sauté until caramelized. Remove and set aside.
- Add another tablespoon of butter to the pan and then add the venison burgers. (You may have to do this in two batches).
- Remove the cooked burger patties from the pan, lower the heat to medium-low while you assemble the patty melts.
- Follow the recipe instructions as written for assembling and toasting the patty melts and enjoy!
Leftovers and Reheating Instructions
- Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to four days.
- Reheat the patty melts by wrapping in foil and placing in a 300 degree oven until warmed through, about 10 - 15 minutes.
Venison Patty Melts
- Pellet Grill (or charcoal or gas grill)
- Large Griddle (or cast iron pan)
- 1 large sweet onion sliced
- ¼ cup salted butter divided
- 1 pound ground venison
- 2 tsp. kosher salt
- ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon lard melted
- 8 slices rye bread
- 4 slices American cheese
- 4 slices Swiss cheese
- Preheat your Oklahoma Joe’s Rider 900 DLX pellet grill to 450 degrees, adding the griddle to the Flex Grate system and making sure the heat baffle is seat to “Sear.”
- When grill is preheated, add 2 tablespoons salted butter and the sliced onion to the griddle, stirring to coat. Cook onions, stirring occasionally, until they have softened and become caramelized, about 7 minutes.
- While the onions cook, add 1 pound ground venison, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, ¼ tsp. black pepper, 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce, and 1 tablespoon melted lard to a large mixing bowl and gently combine with clean hands, being careful not to overmix.
- Divide the meat into four equal portions and form into rectangular patties (so they are roughly the same shape and size as the sliced rye bread) and set on a baking sheet covered in wax paper.
- When onions have caramelized, move over to one side of the griddle to stay warm. Add the burger patties to the open space of the griddle and cook for 2 minutes, per side, or to desired doneness. Remove immediately and begin the shutdown process for your pellet grill.
- To assemble the patty melts: Place 1 slice of rye bread on your prep surface, followed by a slice of Swiss cheese, ¼ of the caramelized onions, the venison burger patty, a slice of American cheese, and top with another slice of rye bread. Repeat with remaining three sandwiches. Butter the top slices of bread and place the sandwiches, buttered side down, on the still-hot griddle (carryover heat will help ensure the sandwiches get toasted!).
- Carefully butter the slices of bread facing up before flipping the sandwiches to toast the other side until beautifully golden brown.
- Remove from grill and serve immediately.
- Refer to post for instructions on how to make these sandwiches on the stovetop.
- See post for notes on storing leftovers and reheating.