January 7, 2010

The Ultimate Venison Burgers & Fries

I have been craving a big, juicy cheeseburger something fierce for a while now. So much, in fact, that I bought Hubert Keller's Burger Bar cookbook for Jerad for Christmas. And since we also got a meat grinder attachment for the KitchenAid mixer, it was inevitable that he'd make burgers for dinner soon.

So, on Monday Jerad ground about 3 pounds of venison tenderloin (from this year's hunting) with a pound of beef fat (Deer, especially the tenderloin, is very lean. You need to add fat to make it juicy enough for burgers). He used Keller's buffalo burger recipe, and it was better than I had hoped for...very juicy & flavorful, without the typical gamey taste of ground deer meat.

Venison Burgers

Makes 4 burgers

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
2 pounds ground meat (venison, beef, or buffalo), chilled
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt
  • In a medium saute pan, melt the butter over medium heat.
  • Add the onion, stir & cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the wine & thyme, bring to a boil, & cook until the pan is nearly dry, about 10 minutes.
  • Let the onion cool to at least room temperature. (The onion can be cooked a day ahea, covered & refrigerated until ready to use.)
  • Using your hands, gently knead the meat in a large bowl together with the onion & 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper.
  • Handling lightly to keep the texture light & juicy, divide the meat into 4 evenly-sized patties, about 1-inch thick. Chill until ready to cook.

  • Heat the olive oil in a large stainless steel skillet or cast iron grill pan over medium-high heat until very hot.
  • Generously season the patties on both sides with salt & pepper.
  • Cook the burgers, turning once, for 7-10 minutes for medium-rare. DO NOT PRESS DOWN on the patties while cooking.
  • For the last minute or two of cooking, drape a slice of cheddar cheese over each burger to melt.
  • Serve with toasted buns & your favorite burger accoutrements. We topped our burgers with tomato slices, Boston bibb lettuce leaves, & Dijon mustard.

French Fries

The key to perfect fries is double frying, once to cook the potatoes & once to crisp them up. This recipe is fool-proof. Plan ahead, though, as you have to soak the cut potatoes to remove some of the starch.

4 large potatoes, preferably russets
6-8 cups vegetable or sunflower oil for drying
Kosher salt
  • Cut the potatoes into fries, fat or skinny...it's your call.
  • Place the cut potatoes into a bowl of cold water as you cut, and leave them there for at least an hour or until you are ready to fry. This can be done a day ahead & let the potatoes soak overnight.
  • Drain the potatoes & pat them dry.
  • In a large stockpot, heat the oil to 250 degrees.
  • Working in batches, fry the ptoatoes until they are cooked through but remain almost white, about 5 minutes. Drain on a baking sheet covered in paper towels. The fries may be prepared up to this point several hours in advance. Cover & refridgerate until needed or immediately move on to the next step.
  • Heat the oil to 360 degrees. Again working in batches, fry the potatoes until they are golden brown and crispy. Drain them briefly on paper towels, sprinkling immediately & liberally with salt.
  • Serve with garlic ketchup (mix a couple crushed garlic cloves into a couple cups of ketchup) & mayonnaise for dipping.


TeaLady said...

LOVE venison. My hubs hunts and we always have deer in the freezer. And usually mix with beef to make burgers. Will have to try just adding some beef fat.

Your burgers looks so moist.

FoodTherapy4Me said...

Loving your blog (2nd post in my first visit!)! I was recently gifted a venison roast from my grandmother. I LOVE venison...the Hubs, not so much. BUT he does love burgers (so much so it was the inspiration and pillar of our wedding dinner this summer!). I will have to give this a try...esp since we also recently received the KitchenAid meat grinder attachment as a wedding gift. Thanks for inspiring me with this one too!

KELLY said...


Thanks for your comments. We've eaten these burgers a couple times since then, and they've been great every time. We also ground the meat with bacon instead of beef fat, and that was awesome!

Glad I could inspire you to try something new!