Pork Fat Is The Key Ingredient For Better Venison Burgers

Fans of game meat may be well-acquainted with cooking with venison (also known as deer meat), but for the uninitiated, it can seem like a difficult protein to tackle. Venison is famously lean and requires either plenty of tenderizing with a meat mallet or a generous addition of other fat to bring in some moisture. This meat can prove particularly challenging when applying it to a task that normally ground beef handles — like, say, making beautiful burger patties. But venison burgers are a totally tasty and doable dish if you remember to add in a key ingredient: pork fat. 

While the lean venison provides the burger patty with the bulk of its flavor, the pork fat will bring some much-needed moisture and richness to the mix. In addition, the pork fat can help keep the patty from tasting too gamey overall. Combined with cracker crumbs, seasoning, and an egg, the ground pork fat and venison mix becomes as delicious a burger as you can get.

Blending two meats for one perfect burger

Much of your burger recipe will be decided by how you get your venison meat. If you get it from a processor, you can request for them to make an 80% lean, 20% pork fat blend directly from your processor. If you're working with a store-bought venison, check to see how high the fat percentage is. If it's over 80%, you'll want to add additional pork fat to your venison mix.

To add in the fat yourself for that ideal marbled patty, consider throwing some pork fat trimmings into a home grinder or finely chopping them so that they can easily mix into the venison. If you have a tough time tracking down pork fat, you could also sub in a few tablespoons of pork lard or even bacon grease — just know that the lard and bacon grease will melt faster than the more solid pork fat and may cause a bit of sputtering, so have a splatter guard on hand. To finish your mix, add some cracker crumbs, onion powder, a bit of Worcestershire sauce, and whatever other seasonings you think will help round out the burgers. While this burger patty does require an extra step, after making it, you'll see that venison is a perfectly delicious — and overall fairly simple — beef alternative with a little help from the pork fat.