Want a great-tasting burger? It's all about the grinding and a timely flash-freeze.
The secret to any great burger is first in how you treat the meat before you cook it. If possible, grind your meat into burger before you freeze it. I realize many of you may not have access to a meat grinder. Instead, ask the meat processor who handles your venison.
Select the amount of ground burger. My preference is one-third of a pound or a patty that is about one-inch thick and just slightly larger than the bun you will be using. Add about one teaspoon of bacon grease per patty. Make sure it gets mixed into the meat.
I have a plastic patty-maker I use when I grind my own venison. When I grind my venison I form them into patties and then flash-freeze them. Use a cookie sheet or other flat cooking sheet with wax paper on it. Form your patties and then place on the sheet. Place the sheet with patties in the freezer for about 15 minutes. I then put the patties in food-saver bags and vacuum-seal them. When I want a burger, I just open the bag and take out what I want. No need to thaw them out.
Cook your burger to about medium. For my grill, that means indirect heat for about 7 minutes, then flip and grill another 5 to 7 minutes. I use a shake or two of black pepper just as I take the burger off the grill. The important thing is to not overcook them. While I love my gas grill, for some reason the burgers always taste better cooked over charcoal.
Chef Tim is Conservation Warden Lawhern, who also is administrator of the Bureau of Enforcement and Science. He writes this monthly culinary feature from the recipe books in his home kitchen. Reach him at Timothy.Lawhern@wisconsin.gov.
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