This recipe's toppings of goat cheese and arugla was inspired by this one on Food52. We feel it's important to give credit where it's due, so thanks, Food52!
Venison is a fantastic lean meat, but sometimes you need a little fat added to it to get the job done for certain meals. For this one, we ground up some spare brisket fat, bacon and venison to make a nice packing, delicious ground beef.
You can do this recipe with any ground meat—turkey, beef, venison, elk, or whatever—but if you're looking for something new to try with your venison, grind it up with 2 parts venison to 1 part equal mix of brisket fat and fatty bacon. That might be a little too fatty, depending on how fatty your bacon is. If it is, just run it through the grinder again with a little more venison.
Remember to keep your meat very cold (34º is ideal) when grinding. We also recommend freezing your metal grinder parts before the process begins. If the meat is too coarse after round one or your fat isn't distributed evenly, feel free to give it another grind.
Also, we usually smoke this recipe. If you want to smoke yours, we recommend a milder wood like a cherry or orange. Don't overdo it with a mesquite or other hardwood. A little smoke goes a long way. Smoke your burger to your preferred cook temp, and about 5 degrees before it's done, add your cheese.
- Pretzel or Hawaiian buns
- 1/2 lb burger meat (choice is yours but we used venison)
- Tacticalories Assault and Pepper
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Hot Pepper Peach Preserves by Robert Rothchild (or just use your favorite jam/preserve)
- Goat cheese
- 1 cup of arugula
- 1 Teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat your grill to medium to high heat, or about 350°. If you're using a smoker, we recommend doing about 250º and using cherry or orange wood. Toast your buns while the grill warms up. Get a light char line on top and bottom.
- You'll use about half a cup of arugula (small handful) per burger. Take however much you need, place it in a bowl, and drizzle olive oil over it. Season it with salt and pepper. Mix well.
- Your patties will pack better if they're cold. Pat out your patties, and place a dimple in the middle of them with a spoon. This helps them cook evenly and helps avoid the swelling hamburgers that get really tall and fat. Season each side to your taste with Tacticalories Assault and Pepper.
- Cook times are going to vary wildly. We use a meat thermometer for everything we cook. For venison burgers, if you want medium rare, you're shooting for 130-140º. The burgers will cook a bit past the pull temp, so keep that in mind. If your grill gets too hot or your meat is really cold when it goes on, the outside of the patty is going to significantly faster than the inside. Keep that in mind.
- During the last few minutes of the burger cooking, place your goat cheese on. Careful, it gets crumbly. Goat cheese will not melt like regular cheese but it will soften up.
- Remove the burgers and it's time to eat. Spread your jam or preserves on the bottom bun. Place patty on top of fig jam. Top the cheesy patty with arugula, then grab your top bun and you're done!