I'll show you how to make Grilled Venison (Deer Meat) Burgers with all my tips and tricks for a juicy, flavorful burger that sticks together on the grill. Venison is high in protein, very lean, and as organic as you can get.
My husband and son hunt during deer season here in Alabama. They almost always harvest at least one doe (and a buck if they're lucky) to fill our freezer full of venison.
This saves us a tremendous amount of money on meat in our budget.
Cuts of venison we freeze
- Ground venison
- Venison sausage
- Stew meat
- Sirloin tip roast
- Cube steak
We grind the majority of our venison into ground meat because that's what we eat the most. Scott and Grayson like the "earthy" flavor of venison in burgers but I prefer to mix it half and half with ground beef.
Why mix ground venison with ground beef?
- Venison doesn't cost us anything because we usually process our own, so mixing venison with my ground beef saves us money.
- Because venison is so lean, there's not a lot of fat to hold the burger patties together when cooked. Mixing it with ground beef adds fat which prevents it from falling apart on the grill or in the pan.
- Venison has a strong "earthy" flavor. Scott and Grayson love it but I like to tone it down a bit without eliminating that distinct deer meat flavor altogether.
What are other ways to get ground venison to stick together?
Adding binders will help very lean deer meat hold together when cooked.
- Raw egg is a typical binder for meatloaf because it helps hold its loaf shape while baking. Adding breadcrumbs or crushed crackers to meatloaf additionally helps result in a less-compacted texture. It's not my preference for burgers but if you added one or both of these, the results might be "meatloaf burgers".
- Fats. If adding 80/20 ground beef isn't for you, other fats can be added. Scott often slices off part of the thick layer of fat on a Boston butt (pork shoulder) and puts it in the freezer until he collects enough grind it up and add it to ground venison when he harvests a doe. Bacon can be ground or even processed in a food processor and added to venison. Now, a Bacon Venison Burger sound delish to me!
- Frying a venison burger in a cast iron skillet will help hold it together better than grilling it on wire grates.
What you will need
- 1 pound ground venison
- 1 pound 80/20 ground chuck or 70/30 ground beef
- 1 tablespoon mesquite seasoning
- 1 tablespoon Moore's or Dales marinade
- 1 teaspoon salt
How to make Grilled Venison Burgers
1. I always drain the ground venison in a colander first. Most of the strong "earthy" or gamey taste from venison is in the blood so this helps.
I use my hands to help press out the blood but I NEVER run ground meat under water to wash out the blood.
Ground meat holds on to that water so when you fry it, you're basically steaming it as the water releases in the pan. If you try to grill water-soaked ground meat, it falls apart.
Solid cuts of deer meat is another story. You can absolutely rinse off the blood and even soak it in salt water, vinegar water, or buttermilk to help get rid of the gamey taste some are opposed to.
2. Combine ground venison, ground beef, mesquite seasoning, Moore's or Dales marinade, and salt in a bowl. Being careful not to overwork the mixture, mix it together with your hands. (Gloves work well for easy cleanup.)
3. Shape the mixture into six 4 1/2-inch patties. They will plump up and fit the buns fine.
Tip: To help prevent any burger from rising up in the center, press your thumb into the center about halfway down. This keeps the burgers flat.
4. Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to medium-high heat (about 400 to 425 degrees)
Carefully lift the patties with a wide, heat resistant spatula onto lightly oiled grill grates, one at a time.
Cook about 5 to 6 minutes on each side or until done.
What is the correct temperature to cook ground venison?
This will not be a popular answer because I know many like to eat medium-rare burgers of any kind of meat. According to the Minnesota Extension Service, ground venison (and all ground meat) should be cooked to at least 160 degrees.
Why? Ground meat internal temps are different than solid cuts of meat because when you grind meat, you spread any bacteria present throughout the entire batch.
Can I freeze uncooked venison patties?
Yes. I love to go ahead and season the burgers, place them between pieces of wax paper, then freeze them in freezer bags or seal them with my FoodSaver.
You can then grill them straight from the freezer. It will just take a few more minutes to cook on medium heat instead of medium-high.
Can I make burgers with ground chuck instead of deer meat?
Absolutely! I recommend ground chuck 80/20% fat ratio. Ground beef 70/30% shrinks more than I like because of so much fat. Ground round 90/10% is super lean like venison, so I would mix in some ground beef or stick with ground chuck.
I've served up these Grilled Venison Burgers on a toasted pretzel bun, lettuce tomato, and one of my favorite sauces, Sweet Baby Ray's Secret Sauce Dipping Sauce. It has a hint of horseradish in it!
The perfect side to serve with these burgers is my Perfectly Crunchy Vidalia Onion Rings.
More sides to serve with Grilled Venison Burgers
Grilled Venison Burgers
- 1 pound ground venison (deer meat)
- 1 pound ground beef 70/30 %
- 1 tablespoon mesquite seasoning I used McCormick
- 1 tablespoon Moore's marinade or Dales seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- I always drain the ground venison in a colander first. Most of the strong "earthy" or gamey taste from venison is in the blood so this helps.I use my hands to help press out the blood but I NEVER run ground meat under water to wash out the blood. That adds too much water to the meat which results in steaming the burgers and will fall apart.
- Combine ground venison, ground beef, mesquite seasoning, Moore's or Dales marinade, and salt in a bowl. Being careful not to overwork the mixture, mix it together with your hands. (Gloves work well for easy cleanup.)
- Shape the mixture into six 4 1/2-inch patties. They will plump up and fit the buns fine. Tip: To help prevent any burger from rising up in the center, press your thumb into the center about halfway down. This keeps the burgers flat.
- Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to medium-high heat (about 400 to 425 degrees) Carefully lift the patties with a wide, heat resistant spatula onto lightly oiled grill grates, one at a time.Cook about 5 to 6 minutes on each side or until done. What is done? For food safety reasons, ground meat of any kind should be cooked to at least 160 degrees but I know many people like to cook it less.