I realize this post has limited use. It's unlikely that you are given venison on a regular basis, even more unlikely that you have choices as to how it's prepared. But what is it they say? Never look a gift deer in the mouth! Or something like that. If you do have a choice, ask for your ground venison with no fat added. It's easy to do it yourself, and you'll know exactly where the fat came from.
I snapped the photo above quickly, with no time for food styling, so you'll just have to imagine that it could have looked a lot better. We were celebrating my brother's birthday with a cookout and I wanted to eat!
My brother is notoriously hard to buy for and, when his birthday arrived, I thought of the perfect gift. My dad offered to host a cookout, so I offered to bring the burgers.
I took three pounds of ground venison (about six cups) and added the following:
- 1/4 cup bacon grease, from the jar in my fridge
- A healthy sprinkle of Beautiful Briny Sea Salt mushroom blend
- A few shakes plain old black pepper
- One egg
- A few dashes of Worcestershire sauce
At 601 Deer and Hog Processors in Fort Motte, South Carolina, the proprietor was quick to point out that the fat they added to any ground venison was nothing special. Though she didn't get specific, I was sure it wasn't hormone and antibiotic free, grass fed or organic in any way. There are health advantages to eating venison: It's high in protein, B vitamins and iron, and is one of the leanest red meats available.
→ Read More: The Ultimate Red meat: Venison vs. Beef on Outdoor Life
The idea of taking healthy, wild game meat and adding fat of unknown origin didn't appeal to me at all, so I asked for unadulterated ground venison.
The burgers weren't perfect. The flavor was good, but next time I might add more fat. Less cooking time might have improved the texture, but serving ground venison to an internal temperature of less than 160° may not be safe, and I don't take any chances when feeding other people. (As for myself, I am totally going to try this venison tartare, because I'm relatively fearless when it comes to food. Wish me luck!)
→ Read More: Gamey Flavor and Cooking Venison on University of Minnesota Extension's website
Have you ever eaten venison? Would you try it? In my world, there's no better neighbor than the one who likes to hunt, but hates to cook or eat the meat, because I have a good chance of getting some free, healthy and delicious protein!