This is my catch-all category for ground venison recipes, that “deer burger” you processor gives you in plastic tubes, or which, hopefully, you ground yourself.
Ground venison, or deer meat, depending on where you live, is the bedrock of a hunter’s household because, well, ground venison recipes are basically the same thing as ground beef recipes. It’s that simple. And when I say “venison,” I mean all kinds of it: deer, elk, moose, antelope, caribou, etc.
If you are not a hunter, ground grass-fed beef or bison will work for all ground venison recipes.
You cook most ground venison exactly the way you cook ground beef. There’s really no difference. With one exception.
And that is when you have ground venison with no added fat. I almost never do this, but no-fat ground venison can be useful, and below I do have a selection of no-fat ground venison recipes.
The majority of you reading this will get your ground venison from the processor, in those aforementioned one-pound tubes. As a hunter, you can ask the process to mix in beef fat or pork fat, or none at all; often people will get some with added fat and some without.
Beef fat works well with ground venison, and makes the flavor closer to ground beef. Pork fat is lower in saturated fat, has less flavor and will allow the venison flavor to shine.
Grinding Your Own
Basic thing you need to know is if you are grinding your own, you will be adding the fat to the ground venison — and just like the processors, some people add beef fat, some pork, and a few add lamb fat. I prefer pork fat, ideally backfat.
Bacon ends, which are the odd pieces of bacon left over from making pretty slices, works very well if you are making ground venison recipes that don’t mind a little hint of smoke and salt. You can buy them in any supermarket, usually in three-pound blocks.
Every once in a while, you will get a deer or moose or elk with enough natural fat to make ground meat without added fat — test the fat by frying some up in a pan, and if it smells and tastes good (dip some bread into the hot fat to see), go for it. If you don’t like the flavor, trim the fat off and use domestic. Here is my article on dealing with deer fat, if you’re interested in reading more.
Ground Venison Recipes
What’s organized below are types of ground venison recipes. Beyond deer burgers, you’ll find recipes for venison meatballs, ground venison casseroles, venison chili, that sort of thing. A few of these recipes are in my cookbook Buck, Buck, Moose, which has a whole section of ground venison recipes.
Keep in mind you can use ground venison in canning, especially if you want to pressure can your own venison spaghetti sauce. I have a whole article on canning venison here.
This is my basic recipe for venison burger, tried and true. Follow this method for venison burgers and you won’t be sad.Read More
Green Chile Elk Burger
Green chile elk burgers, Southwest style. You can use ground venison, too.Read More
Oklahoma Onion Burger
Oklahoma onion burgers, made with ground venison. If you’ve never had one, you need to.Read More
Chorizo burgers, a mix of beef or pork chorizo and ground venison, plus lots of Tex-Mex flavor.Read More
Mushroom Swiss Burger
Venison mushroom burgers, with mushrooms in the patties and mushrooms on top. It’s an umami bomb.Read More
Old school Italian-American style venison meatballs, to be served with spaghetti or in a sub sandwich.Read More
Mexican Albondigas en Chipotle
These are a little like Italian meatballs, but with a smoky-spicy kick from chipotle chilis and cumin. Damn good as an appetizer or on rice.Read More
Teriyaki Meatballs with Venison
Japanese style teriyaki venison meatballs. They are made of awesome.Read More
Venison Swedish Meatballs
Retro fabulous deliciousness! You will forget about IKEA if you make these.Read More
Every bit as good as Swedish meatballs, Norwegian meatballs are larger and spiced a little differently.Read More
British Venison Meatballs
These are so good! A British classic they call “faggots,” these are big meatballs with a bit of oats in them, “Scarborough Faire” herbs and spices, all wrapped in caul fat or bacon. What’s not to love?Read More
Greek Venison Meatballs
A Greek meatball with a little bulgur wheat and lots of herbs.Read More
This is how I make my pasta sauce with venison. It’s a pretty classic Bolognese sauce.Read More
A classic Italian-American style meatloaf done with venison. This is the recipe that sold me on meatloaf.Read More
Not My Mum’s Venison Lasagna
Based off my mother’s recipe for lasagna, you will like this lasagna. Oh yes, you will…Read More
Venison Meat Pies
A Sicilian version of the classic Cornish pasty, these are hand-held meat pies great for lunches.Read More
Other Ground Venison Recipes
The Best Venison Chili
This is the best venison chili, and maybe the best chili of any kind, you’ve ever had. I can almost guarantee it.Read More
Real deal Cornish pasties, filled with ground venison.Read More
South African Bobotie
This is bobotie, one of the national dishes of South Africa. Ground venison with a bit of curry and chutney, topped with egg. Comfort food.Read More
Venison Potsticker Dumplings
Chinese dumplings filled with ground venison, scallions and ginger, pan seared and steamed. Sooo good…Read More
Ground Venison Jerky
A popular style of jerky, this one is loosely based on the flavors of pemmican.Read More
This is what “taco meat” should be. This is a Sonoran picadillo from northern Mexico. Fantastic with venison or any other ground meat.Read More
No-Fat Ground Venison Recipes
Many of the above recipes will work with 100 percent ground venison, but the places where it really shines are here:
- Venison chili. No real need to have fat in the grind here, although it certainly doesn’t hurt.
- Venison ragu. Same deal as the chili.
- Ground venison jerky is actually superior where there is no fat, because it will keep longer. There are lots of recipes, but mine is inspired by Native American pemmican.
- Finally, real-deal “taco meat,” picadillo, works well with no-fat ground venison. My picadillo recipe is from Sonora.