I’ve struggled with game burgers from the beginning. Mine have always resembled a hockey puck or baseball and have been similarly dry, dense, and tasteless. But then this summer came, grilling season kicked off, and everything changed for me and my burgers.
I can’t quite recall where the article came from, but I think it was from those geniuses at Williams Sonoma. Apparently, and many of you may already know this, but the trick to a great burger is very little handling of the raw burger meat. You quickly form your patty, put a small dent right in the center (to avoid baseball syndrome) and put it down. There’s no shaping and re-shaping, pounding and smacking. I believe that by somewhat loosely forming your patties, you are allowing the juices to course through the burger.
So this first trick applies to the general burger population, but here’s another trick for great tasting game burgers.
Confession: I don’t always LOVE the natural, fresh from the forest or freezer taste of all game cuts, specifically burger and round steak.
The second part to the perfect game burger is taste. Sometimes game meat needs a little help in this department due to the lack of natural fat. I’ve gotten into the habit of adding fresh herbs, spices, vinegar, and crumbled cheese to my game burgers and they have started turning out pretty darn delicious.
Experiment with some flavors and quickly form those patties and you too may have a burger revelation.
Bacon, Black and Blue Elk Burgers:
1 pound ground elk
1 container of crumbled blue cheese
Fresh thyme and oregano, finely chopped
1/2 small red onion chopped
Lots of coarsely ground black pepper
A tablespoon or so of red wine vinegar
Another tablespoon or so of Worcestershire sauce
Freshly chopped garlic
Red pepper flakes
– Quickly mix ingredients and be careful not to handle meat too much
– Form your patties
– Grill over medium high heat until desired temperature (Remember that meat continues to cook after you take it off the grill)
– Let the burgers sit for a minute to allow juices to form
– Serve on bun of your choice and top with bacon