Deer meat (or venison) is an amazing choice for those who are craving red meat but are looking for a healthier alternative.
Venison is a high-quality source of protein (there are 24 grams of protein in 100 grams of meat) that is much lower in saturated fat than other red meats. Moreover, it is packed with zinc, haem iron, and essential B vitamins.
If your favorite kind of meat is the one that comes in the form of a patty in a burger, then you are going to love these 7 healthy deer burger recipes!
The Whole30 program is a 30-day meal plan created by certified sports nutritionists Dallas Hartwig and Melissa Hartwig Urban. This program promotes self-awareness with regards to how the body responds to food and eliminates the products that may cause a problem in one of the four areas (blood sugar regulation and hormones, immune system and inflammation, cravings and habits, and digestion).
These burgers are 100% Whole30-compliant as they are free from sweeteners, preservatives, legumes, dairy, and grains.
In this recipe, the ‘buns’ are made out of sweet potatoes and the sauce can easily be made from scratch at home. If you think that it is impossible to create a homemade sauce that would be just as flavorful as the ones from the supermarket, this ‘special sauce’ is going to change your mind.
And the great news is that you wouldn’t have to spend hours preparing the secret ingredient. Mix good-quality tomato paste with apple cider vinegar, seasoning, and diced pickles, and you’re good to go. You can even place the leftovers in a jar and have the sauce on hand whenever you might need it.
But let’s talk about the actual meat.
In this recipe, you wouldn’t have to add ground pork, in order to make the patty juicy. Simply add some olive oil (the ‘fat’), some seasoning, and ACV to enhance the flavor of the meat. The main trick is to keep an eye on the patties when you will be cooking them. If you manage to not overcook the meat – it is going to be nice and juicy.
If you don’t have a grill and prefer to not cook meat in a frying pan, then this is the perfect recipe for you.
Once again, there is no need in adding any fat to your ground venison. When it comes to the toppings, you can add whatever your heart desires (try to keep it healthy though). Fresh veggies, a homemade sauce, and a fried egg – this might be your ideal combo.
To go the extra mile, you can always switch a regular bun to a slice of sweet potatoes or even a fresh salad leaf.
Before placing the patties in the oven, you would still have to quickly brown them preferably in a cast-iron pan. Make sure to use oil that tolerates extremely high heat, otherwise, you would have to deal with smoke and unhealthy decay products.
After that, you should put your patties in the oven that has been preheated up to 375 F. To make sure that your venison stays nice and juicy, check the internal temperature of the meat – it shouldn’t go over 160 F.
If you prefer your meat to be medium-rare, then you would have to wait for only about 10 minutes. However, don’t forget to leave the patties to rest for around 5 minutes before serving.
Even though deer meat is incredibly lean, you don’t have to add fat to make it juicier and tastier. This recipe is focused on the actual patty to make sure that venison gets the attention it deserves.
By the way, to make the whole dish even healthier, you can make a simple salad instead of French fries. If you have a bit more time to spare, a vegetable carpaccio would become an amazing addition to a juicy venison burger.
Just like with the previous recipes, you are going to need ground venison meat and a mixing bowl. Mix all the ingredients together and don’t forget to make sure that there are no big chunks of meat as these parts will turn out tougher than the rest.
Another important thing to bear in mind when preparing the mix for the patties is to not overmix it. It will take you only a few minutes to get a uniform mixture, but if you overdo it – the meat won’t be as soft and juicy.
Prepare your patties on a grill or a non-stick pan and serve the burger with fresh dill and Greek yogurt to truly enjoy the amazing taste of the meat.
Tip: finding nice venison in an ordinary grocery store is quite the challenge. Thankfully, there are plenty of online stores that offer high-quality deer meat. Simply make sure that the animal protein is free of steroids and antibiotics and enjoy fresh venison all year round.
For the meat lovers that find venison meat to be a bit too lean for their taste, here is a simple recipe with a bit of pork.
A small amount of ground pork will help make sure that your meat stays juicy. By the way, you wouldn’t have to add too much, so such burgers are still healthier than the all-pork alternatives.
This time, you can add a bit of Worcestershire sauce to the venison and pork mix. If you don’t want to get your sauce from a supermarket, you can make your very own Worcestershire yumminess.
Simply get all the necessary ingredients (there are quite a few, for example, soy sauce, ACV, brown sugar, mustard powder…), mix all of them in a saucepan, bring to a boil, and cook for 45 seconds or so. As soon as the mixture cools down, your sauce is ready.
Back to our patties.
You can cook them on a grill, a cast-iron pan, or even an air fryer. Just remember that venison (even if mixed with pork) cooks extremely quickly. About 3-4 minutes on each side should be enough. Unfortunately, it is relatively easy to overcook the meat, so keep a close eye on your patties, if you don’t want them to be dry.
By the way, you can make a whole batch of venison burgers and freeze them for up to 3 months. Or simply store the cooked burgers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days – they will still be fresh and delicious.
If you want to add a cool twist to your ordinary venison burger, you can use pita bread instead of a regular bun.
Pita is still a carb-dominant food, but whole-grain high-quality pita bread is much more beneficial for your health than simple burger buns. Pita bread contains around 5.5 grams of protein per serving (much more than other grain products), as well as 6 grams of fiber that aids your digestion.
Finally, one pita has plenty of essential minerals (iron, magnesium, selenium) and contains around 10% of the recommended daily intake of many B vitamins.
In a nutshell, deer meat and pita make an amazing, healthy combo, as long as you manage to choose the rest of the ingredients wisely.
This particular recipe features plenty of fresh veggies and orange zest for that extra bit of magic. To take the whole experience to another level, you can make your very own beetroot relish, simply mix cooked beetroot, red onion, parsley, olive oil, and wholegrain mustard and enjoy the spectacular taste.
Another huge bonus is that the meat mixture doesn’t contain any additional fat, only deer meat, breadcrumbs, vegetables, and orange zest.
Tip: you can shape dozens of patties and store them in a freezer. This will help you save plenty of time in the future, just make sure to let the patties defrost overnight in the refrigerator before using them.
Blueberries and venison are an unexpected match made in heaven! The taste is to die for, but the health benefits are amazing as well.
The berries are a great source of antioxidants and are packed with vitamin C. Even though you might want to cook this burger all year round, it is especially beneficial in the wintertime, around flu season.
For that extra fat, this recipe includes canola oil – a vegetable-based oil. Even though this product has plenty of vitamin E and K, it may contain trans fats and other ingredients that might negatively impact memory and heart health.
Thankfully, there are plenty of other cooking oils that you can opt for. For example, coconut and olive oils and heat-tolerant. You can also give avocado oil a go.
Of course, these oils can slightly change the taste of your burger, but if you want to make the recipe extra healthy, you should definitely consider switching things up a bit.
When mixing the venison with blueberries and other ingredients, try not to crush the berries, otherwise, the consistency of the mixture won’t be quite right.
To step up your blueberry burger game, add grilled onions and fresh chopped rosemary as toppings.
Tip: how to figure out if your patty is ready or not? Poke a small hole in the meat and let some juice come out. If it is pink or red, your patty isn’t quite ready yet. Clear juice with a hint of yellow means that the yummy patty is ready.
We’ve decided to call this recipe a good-old ‘classic’ because this is exactly how our moms and grandmas would prepare their mince.
The recipe involves soaking breadcrumbs in milk and adding egg yolks to the deer meat. Apart from that, the only ingredients that you are going to need include parsley, onion, salt, and pepper. That’s it!
You should definitely go for this recipe if you adore the actual flavor of venison and you don’t really want anything else to overpower it.
Unfortunately, sometimes even the meat bought from a reputable store can have poor taste. The taste depends on a lot of factors – field dressing, butchering, the season, and what the deer ate.
If you ended up getting meat that doesn’t taste the way you want it to, you can always brine it. All you would have to do is immerse the meat in a strong mixture of salt and water for anywhere between an hour and a day.
Quick-searing and grilling are the techniques that will capture and seal in any poor flavors. So, eliminating undesired flavors is the first thing that you need to do before continuing with your burgers. Especially, when going for recipes that highlight the taste of the meat, instead of masking it.
To fully enjoy the flavor of this ‘classic’ burger, you can actually skip the buns and go for lettuce wraps.
To Sum Up
These were 7 healthy deer burger recipes. Whether you’d prefer to go with the ‘classic’ recipe or to try adding blueberries and zest into your mince is totally up to you. We would recommend giving at least a few a go to find out which one deserves to become your signature dish.
There are a few things that you have to bear in mind when cooking venison:
- The meat is lean. In a lot of cases, that means that you would have to add some extra fat. You can go for pork or heat-tolerant oil, for example.
- It’s easy to overmix the mince. When mixing your ingredients together don’t get too overwhelmed, but, at the same time, make sure to not leave any chunky unseasoned bits.
- Venison cooks very fast. Because the meat is lean, it doesn’t require too much time to cook. Usually, 2-5 minutes on each side would be enough.
The best news is that as soon as you discover your favorite recipe, you’ll be able to make dozens of patties in advance and store them in your freezer for up to 3 months.