Stuffed Venison Burgers
I wish I could take credit for this burger method, but I can't. I first saw it on the outstanding website of all things grilled and smoked, BBQPitboys.com. It was too good not to share, and as soon as I saw it, I knew I had to tweak it to work with venison burger.
To start with, ground venison alone is way too lean to hold together for stuffing. I grind my burger with fat, either beef or pork from my local butcher, at a ratio of 80/20 venison to fat. The added fat is more than enough to hold the shape of the bowl and remain solid during the cook time.
The stuffing for the burgers? The sky's the limit. We did a few with pizza sauce, banana peppers, mushrooms and an Italian cheese blend. Two of the kids were wild about using macaroni and cheese, and I wanted grilled onions, bbq sauce and lots of sharp cheddar cheese. Other good ideas include chili, pulled pork, baked beans, grilled peppers and just about anything else you can come up with.
The burgers cook on the grill over indirect heat. Build your fire to one side of the grill and leave the other side open for the burgers. The second adjustment I made to the original recipe is the cook time. Because the venison is leaner than ground beef, it cooks a bit faster. My grill runs about 325 degrees with an indirect fire and I cooked our burgers for a total of 35 minutes.
Serve the stuffed burgers just like any other. A nice toasted bun and all the standard burger fixins fill the bill.
For six burgers
3 pounds of ground venison
1 pound of bacon
Stuffing materials of choice
Begin by forming the cold ground meat into half pound balls.
Form the ground meat up and around the sides of the can to form a bowl. To prevent the meat from sticking, give the can a quick spray before pressing the can into the ball of meat. Forming the bowls on a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap and using it to press the meat around the can helps to keep the meat from sticking to your hands as you press it into shape.
Wrap two slices of bacon around the outside of the meat. No need to worry about pinning it in place, just press it tightly. The bacon will stick to the meat as it cooks.
If you are using a gas grill, fire up all burners to preheat the grill, then turn off all but one to form an indirect heat area. For charcoal, just build your fire to one side of the grill. Place the burgers away from the heat, close the lid and walk away for 20 minutes or so. That's it, just walk away. Resist the urge to move the burgers, no need to flip, just let them grill.
At the 20 minute mark, check the bacon for even doneness. If the offside is still a bit undercooked, spin the burgers 180 degrees to finish it off. Another 10 to 15 minutes and they should be good to go. Pull the burgers and let them rest for ten minutes before serving.
Have other great ideas for stuffing ingredients? Comment below to share.