Venison Royale with Cheese

P1020299(1) I like to celebrate our nation’s independence like any other red-blooded American, with cheap Chinese explosives and grilled ground meat. While the rest of the country is lighting bottle rockets and slapping ground chuck on the grill, I’ll be firing some of the best ground venison to ever grace my table.

I’m cooking my way through last season’s grinds, and I’m currently on deer number 3, a fat doe I shot on my friend Bobby’s farm in the middle of corn country. The all-night, all-you-can-eat buffet of soy beans, corn and alfalfa makes for some huge, if not obese, whitetails. And the fat from these deer is absolutely delicious. Most hunters mistakenly regard deer fat as foul tasting, and thus it is dismissed with the scraps. This holds true for deep woods deer, whose diet consists of acorns and woody greens. But whitetails that roam agricultural areas have a sweet, mild, waxy fat that when mixed with grind make the best damned burger you will ever eat…even Jules Winnfield would agree. I only have 4 pounds of Bobby burger left. I hope he invites me again next season.

Keep your burger simple. They don’t need crap mixed into the meat (see meatloaf), they don’t need to be soaked in beer, they don’t need to be stuffed with cheese, they don’t really need anything more than kosher salt and black pepper. I like a 6 ounce patty topped with lettuce, red onion, dill pickle and a tomato slice from the garden; mayo, ketchup and a dab of yellow mustard.

Venison Royale with Cheese

  • 1 lb ground venison, 15% fat
  • Hamburger buns
  • shredded iceburg lettuce
  • tomato, sliced
  • red onion, sliced
  • dill pickle chips
  • cheddar cheese slices
  • mayo, yellow mustard, ketchup
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  1. Start with a clean grate. Prepare the grill for direct medium heat. Prep the toppings and set aside.
  2. Divide the ground venison into three portions and form them into patties 4-5 inches wide. Make an indention with your thumb on the top of each burger—this will prevent the patty from curling up as it cooks. Do not handle the meat more than necessary unless you like chewy burgers.
  3. Season each side generously with salt and pepper before placing it on the grill. Grill for 4-5 minutes per side with the lid open. If the burger isn’t releasing easily from the grill (and the grate is clean), its not ready to flip. Give it another minute.
  4. When the burgers have about a minute to go, add a slice of cheddar to each. Once they’re done cooking allow them to rest for a couple minutes. Top with veggies and enjoy with some Bush’s baked beans (about the only thing I eat from a can) and corn on the cob. Serves 3. Oh, and a cold beer is compulsory.


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