What would Independence Day be without grilling, right? (Answer: It would still be Independence Day, but with worse food.)
This is my wild game riff of the traditional mushroom Swiss burger — you know, the one with lots of sauteed mushrooms, onions and Swiss cheese on top? You’ve seen it on the menu in pretty much every burger joint in America.
I’ve sexed up my version with ground, dried porcini mixed into the burger meat. This makes the burger even more of an umami bomb. Juicy, savory and super-mushroomy. Any mushroom powder will do, and if you are a mushroom hunter, powdered black trumpet mushrooms are the best of all.
I am using ground venison here, because, well, I am a deer hunter. But you can make a mushroom Swiss burger with any ground meat you have lying around. Similarly, while I had morel mushrooms to saute when we took these pictures, normal button mushrooms are just fine, too.
I prefer my burgers grilled, but you can cook your meat any way you’d like. I also prefer my burgers without pretense; thus the Pabst Blue Ribbon in a can sitting behind the burger.
Then I was informed that, due to about some odd wrinkle in the time-space continuum, Pabst has become associated with those who wear skinny jeans. Huh?! Damnit, this was a workingman’s beer I grew up with; there was a Pabst brewery near my house in Jersey growing up. I refuse to grow a groomed beard and talk endlessly about how I knew this obscure band waaay before you did while drinking my Pabst.
But I will continue to drink Pabst on hot days, with a hamburger. This burger, in fact. It’s everything you want in a mushroom Swiss burger, only wild.
PS – I also love my normal go-to recipe for venison burgers.
Mushroom Swiss Burger with Venison
- 2 pounds ground venison
- 3 tablespoons mushroom powder
- 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
- 1 pound fresh mushrooms, chopped
- 1 medium onion, sliced thin into half-moons
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Hamburger buns
- 6 slices of Swiss cheese
- Mix into the meat the dried mushroom powder and celery seed. Shape the meat into patties. When you do this, don't overwork your meat or your hamburgers will become tough and chewy. Crumbly is better than tough, to my mind. Also, press a little indentation into the center of each patty: This helps the patty keep its shape once cooked, because when meat cooks it tightens up and will turn into a ball shape if you don't have that indentation.
- Get a large saute pan hot over high heat and add the mushrooms. Shake the pan frequently so they don't all stick, and cook the mushrooms until they release their water, about 2 to 4 minutes. As soon as the water has mostly bubbled away, add the olive oil, some salt and the sliced onion and saute until everything has nicely browned, about 6 to 8 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside.
- Salt your burgers and grill them (or cook them in any other way) to your liking. I like mine medium, so I grill over medium-high heat about 4 to 6 minutes per side. I only flip my burgers once. When you flip the burger, let it cook about halfway on the second side before slapping a slice of cheese on the patty. Close the grill lid to let it melt.
- To build the burger, toast the buns if you want first. Paint with mustard or whatever, then lay down a patty. Top with the mushrooms and onions and have at it! Serve with a salad and a cold beer.