First off, thank you to all the readers who contributed to the better venison burgers post a couple weeks ago. I finally got a chance to sort through all the tips and I’m impressed with all the great ideas you came up with, from Hoytboy’s addition of grated Italian cheese to hoosierdude’s point about the practice of adding pork fat. As he so elegantly put it: “I want my burger to taste like red meat, not a pig’s rear end…and you can’t cook it medium.”
But when it came time to pick a winner, one post really caught my attention and that was Greenhead’s tip about adding compound butter when pressing out your venison patties: “I also like to mix some herbs and plenty of garlic into softened butter and then form it into a log wrapped in Saran Wrap. Refrigerate until solid. Then, when making burgers, slice off a thin pat and form the burger around it and grill. Very moist and juicy. Nearly any herb that tickles your fancy should work, but my current favorite is a mix of herbs de provance.”
The beauty of this tip is how versatile it is. When making compound butter, you can add just about anything you want. Mix a little juice and zest from a lime or a diced chipotle in adobo into the butter before freezing for some Southwestern flair. Or, like Greenhead suggests, some finely chopped herbs of your choosing. In fact, compound butters are a great addition to many dishes, including atop a freshly grilled steak.
The two runners up in the Better Venison Burger contest are tamiller, whose suggestion of adding a shot of Jack Daniels to the burger mix is just intriguing enough that I’m going to have to try it, and country road, who gets the win not for his addition of Italian dressing, but for the genius idea of grilling burgers in a fish basket for easier flipping.
Thanks again to everyone for their comments and congratulations to the three winners. Be sure to send your mailing address to firstname.lastname@example.org so I can get your prize packages on the way.