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.
Making this recipe again today, with moose and trying a tip someone posted about using 10% beef trim instead of unrendered fat (pork or any). I am not opposed to using the unrendered fat, but the first time I bought some, it came in a chunk from the butcher (instead of ground) and it was very difficult and time consuming to incorporate, and because I had huge chunks of fat in the patty, it resulted in an overly greasy burger that still had delicious flavour.
I think beef fat or trim is a good alternative to those who don’t eat pork or try to avoid it. I can’t wait for dinner.
Carol Ann says
used to work in a place that served a mushroom swiss burger-topped with a curry mayo-you should try the curry mayo next time you make these……so good with mushroom/swiss
Kelly T says
Just had a similar Elk burger at Mt Charleston Lodge north of Vegas and it was awesome! I’m sure this receipe is just as good or better. I did not have the hipster beer (which was on the menu,because it is close to Vegas), but I did have a hipster bun, not the regular ‘ol bun.
Loretta Gartman says
Sounds good, I make vension cheese burgers with mushrooms, but the beer isn’t to my liking — I prefer Sam Adams Latitude 48 IPA, Double Dog IPA, Great Lakes Monster, Rouge Good Chit pilsner — anyway you get the idea I like hoppy American beers that have slightly higher alcohol content. But must say I love almost all your recipes I’ve tried.
I have made this 2 times but the second time i chopped up 4 slices of butchers bacon (half cooked) and mixed with 1 1/2 lbs venison and 1/2 lb ground beef. Added small crumbled blue cheese and mixed lightly. It made me want to push people away from the table and say there was none left. I know its a bunch of flavor but the bacon really brought the venison to the forefront. The beef was really just to hold the patties together while they grilled. I used broken pecan branches to lightly smoke for the 10 minutes over high heat that it took to just make my mouth water. Then served with some good cold Rolling Rock and roasted potatoes toasted with dill seasoning. Sorry i’m ranting but had to get the whole thing in here.
My wife and I enjoyed this recipe. It’s almost too easy to make such a flavor filled burger.
Hank,I fired up your burger recipe for the holiday. I ground the last of my venison along with fatback which brought it to 60/40. I also found your recipe for Angels on Horseback for appetizers. Put everything in the Traeger pellet grill. Everyone completely enjoyed your holiday burger suggestion.
I made venison burgers the other night, but first I took the meat and some thick sliced bacon and put it all through the grinder attachment on my mixer. Venison is pretty lean meat, and can be on the dry side. This made the venison about as fatty as beef, so the finished burgers were really juicy and delicious.
Hank, that would be pretty fatty. I’m using ground pork from a rather lean pig that I raised myself, so it’s nowhere near as greasy as straight fat would be!
Pickled onions (I believe the recipe is on this site) also go great on venison burgers. Looking forward to trying this recipe with the mushrooms.
Stephanie - Wasabimon says
(that’s what she said)
Stephanie - Wasabimon says
Venison burgers? F##K yeah!!! That’s my kind of meat.
well, after a good turn in the mixer the meat was more like an emulsified sausage. Still, they formed good patties and did well on the grill. They weren’t dry, but since a lot of the grease just dripped out of the burger, you didn’t get the most fat flavor out of them you could of. Better than nothing but next time I’ll add in some unrendered fat.
Hank Shaw says
Zane: Nope, not the same thing at all. Bacon grease is fat that has already been rendered, so it will be slick and soft and will not integrate well with the venison. I always use unrendered pork, beef or lamb fat when I’m grinding venison for burger or sausage. That said, it sounds like you used it and made the burgers anyway — how did they turn out?
Brittany: Yep, Shiitakes would be a good choice.
Mushrooms Canada says
Oh my goodness does that ever look good! I think that some fresh shiitakes would also be good with this burger… lots of flavour!
I didn’t have any pork fat, so I just used bacon grease! Same thing, right?
Hank Shaw says
Jules: I did 3:1 venison to pork fat. I actually think the 2:1 ratio is – gasp! – too fatty for me. I went with 1 1/2 pounds venison to 1/2 pound pork fat.
Tina: I am very familiar with Yuengling’s beer. Drank more than my share of it in Delaware, DC and Pennsylvania… 😉
Burgers + mushrooms + Swiss cheese = nirvana. Add ground mushrooms and you could really push me right over the edge! Speaking of beer, when you come back east on your book tour, you should give Yeungling lager a try. It’s my personal favorite, pretty much unknown west of the Mississippi. Clean, crisp, full bodied with no bitterness. A lager and a burger is about as blissful as it gets!
Patricio Wise says
Looks super good Hank!
Try a two-to-one ratio of ground elk to ground pork. It’s the best burger I’ve ever had. Sadly, I’m out of ground pork until I raise some more pigs, but it’s going to be on the menu again as soon as I do.