Here's how to make the perfect Elk burger!
Processing your own meat is rewarding and gives you the ability to customize the meat cuts your family will use and enjoy for the coming year. When butchering at home, you control quality and therefore the flavor of your food.
Making burger meat is not difficult, but the quality will be compromised if you have not taken good care of the meat prior to grinding. In the field, be mindful of how you care for this meat. Learning how to properly field dress and butcher your harvest is important. The following videos and articles are recommended for anyone from beginner to those who need to brush up on their skills.
Making Burger Meat:
The quality of the ground elk and deer depends on what you put into the grinder. Place cuts of meat into the grinder that do not include the hardened cure, fat, tendons or thick membrane. Careful trimming pays off! Try to get as close as feasible to pure red meat going to the grinder. Most hunters use the meat pieces that will be not made into steaks or roasts.
It is not necessary, but investing in a quality grinder is quicker and achieves beautifully ground meat. Once you hand crank meat from one elk, the next season you may run to the store for an electric version.
Many hunters share a grinder with family and friends to reduce the cost of purchasing the grinder. Keep your grinder and work station meticulously clean and keep the meat cold before and after grinding.
You will need large bowls and cutting boards. Restaurant supply stores are great places to find these gems at good prices.
Mixing beef fat into the burger adds flavor, keeps the meat juicy and moist and makes the meat ready to grill or fry without sticking. The fat will melt when cooking. Any butcher shop will have beef fat – you may have to call ahead to have it wrapped. Another option is to grind fatty chunks of pork with your venison meat for a different flavor. You will need a ratio of 7-10 percent fat to game burger.
Grind the fat first and then sprinkle it in as the meat is ground. This isn’t an exact science. Customize for your taste. After you’ve ground the first few pounds fry a small patty and see how you like it, then adjust ratio (if needed) for the rest of the batch.
Elk Burger Recipe
1 pound ground elk with beef fat
Salt and pepper or seasoning salt
Form 1/4 pound balls of burger and gently make into patties. Do not overwork or pound the meat. Season the top of each patty with salt and pepper or your favorite all purpose seasoning. Grill patties on a hot oiled grill for 3-4 minutes on each side. Flip only once. Game meat is lean and flipping too much can cause the patty to fall apart. If needed, continue cooking the patties on indirect heat. The USDA recommends that burger be cooked to 165°Fahrenheit. The classic ketchup and mustard combo or fry sauce (ketchup and mayonnaise) are perfect sauces on game burgers.