5 Wild Game Chefs and Their Favorite Venison Burger Recipes


Which One of These Is Your Pick?

Chad Ward | Chef at Traeger Grills

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1 | Chad Ward | Chef at Traeger Grills

The Smoked Venison Chorizo Burger
What makes this recipe stand out is the amazing flavors you’ll get from the low and slow approach on the grill. As a barbeque expert, Chad brings a unique perspective to preparing wild game burgers.


  • 1 ½ lbs. ground venison
  • 6 ounces ground chorizo
  • 2 ounces Traeger Big Game Rub
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 slices smoked gouda cheese
  • 4 brioche burger buns
  • 4 ounces grilled onions
  • 4 ounces grilled mushrooms
  • Spicy brown mustard
  • Mayonnaise


Combine venison, chorizo, Traeger Big Game Rub, egg yolks, and Worcestershire sauce with your hands. Divvy the mixture into four patties.

Set your Traeger to 275 degrees. Cook the burgers for 15 minutes on one side, then flip and cook for 15 minutes on the other side. For the last 3 minutes, place cheese on the patties.

Serve the burgers on toasted buns with mustard, mayo, grilled onions, and grilled mushrooms.

Photo Credit: Traeger

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Hank Shaw | Author of Buck, Buck, Moose

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2 | Hank Shaw | Author of Buck, Buck, Moose

The Venison Bacon Burger
This recipe goes heavy on bacon and light on toppings. As Hank says, “let your burger freak flag fly” and use whatever vegetables and condiments you want, while focusing on the technique and grind.


  • 1 ½ lbs. venison
  • ½ lb. chopped bacon
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tbsp. butter, lard, or vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion
  • Burger buns
  • Lettuce, arugula, sorrel or spinach
  • Tomato or fire-roasted peppers
  • Slices of cheese
  • Condiment of choice

Grind the meat and bacon while cold. For grilled burgers, do 2/3 of the mix with a fine grind and 1/3 with a coarse grind.

Make about five patties that are ½- to 1-inch thick. Form them with only as much force as needed, you want them to hold together only loosely. Press your thumb into the center of each patty to prevent the burgers from turning spherical while cooking.

Cook thinly sliced onions in a frying pan until done (to your liking).

Put the burgers on a hot grill. Grill them for about 3 to 5 minutes per side with the grill cover open. Only add salt right before you cook them, but you won’t need much because of the bacon.

After the first flip, put freshly ground black pepper on the burgers with some onion. In the last 90 seconds, place cheese on top of the onion.

When finished, set on a plate to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Photo Credit: Hank Shaw

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Jenna Taylor | Chef at Southern Whitetail Outfitters

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3 | Jenna Taylor | Chef at Southern Whitetail Outfitters

The Korean Barbecue Venison Burger
Jenna is the owner and cook at Southern Whitetail Outfitters, where her gourmet wild game meals are always the talk of camp. This exciting burger recipe is no exception, with tons of flavor and style.


  • 1 ½ lbs. ground venison
  • ½ cup panko
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • 4 slices of swiss cheese
  • Medium red onion, sliced
  • Portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • Green onions
  • Sesame seeds
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. sesame oil
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • Corn starch

Mix ground beef, panko, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, salt and pepper. Form into four patties. Set on metal tray lined with wax or parchment paper. Refrigerate for one hour.

Prepare sauce. On medium-high heat, mix all ingredients together. Let it begin to boil, then turn to low and simmer. Whisk in corn starch. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a large cast iron skillet on medium-high heat. Sauté mushrooms and red onions. Set aside.

In the same cast iron, cook your burgers. You can also cook the burgers on a grill — the cast iron just allows the burger to cook in the juices. Cook burgers 4-6 minutes on each side for medium rare. Remove burgers from pan. Glaze burgers with Korean BBQ sauce.

Using the same cast iron, toast the buns.

Place burger on bun. Top with swiss cheese, onion and mushroom. Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Olyina

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Michael Pendley | Blogger at Realtree’s Timber 2 Table

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4 | Michael Pendley | Blogger at Realtree’s Timber 2 Table

The Red Wine Venison Burger
This recipe is perfect for mushroom enthusiasts. The portabellas and red wine sauce compliment the venison patty, creating a succulent dish that’s hard to beat.


  • 3 lbs. venison
  • 1 lb. boneless beef short rib (well-marbled)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 portabella mushroom caps
  • 1 slice swiss cheese
  • Olive oil
  • 3 cups of red wine
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ stick of butter


To make the sauce, pour all ingredients into a medium saucepan and stir constantly over medium-high heat until it comes to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and stir often. Do this for about 45 minutes, or until the consistency is syrupy.

For the burgers, grind the meat through a large plate and then a medium plate.

Once the sauce has cooled a bit, add 1 cup to the burger and mix.

Form eight patties and press your thumb into the center of each patty to keep the burger flat.

Brush the mushrooms with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

Set your grill to 350 degrees, my preference is on a Traeger. Place burgers and mushrooms on the grill. Cook for 10 minutes per side, flipping once.

When finished, drizzle the burger and mushroom with the red wine reduction before serving.

Photo Credit: Michael Pendley

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Steven Rinella | Host of MeatEater

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5 | Steven Rinella | Host of MeatEater

The Classic Venison Burger
Steven Rinella estimates he ate his weight in venison burgers each year in college. With all that experience, he still holds up this classic recipe as his favorite way to serve ground whitetail.


  • 2 lbs. ground meat (90 percent venison and 10 percent pork fat)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Vegetable oil
  • Sliced cheddar cheese
  • Kaiser rolls
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato


Form six patties that are about 1-inch thick. Season each on the outside with salt and pepper.

Lightly drizzle with oil.

Place patties on a hot grill and close the lid. Grill for 4 minutes on the first side.

Place cheese on after the first flip. Grill for 3 minutes on the second side for rare, or 4 minutes on the second side for medium-rare. If you use a meat thermometer, go for 120 degrees for rare, 130 degrees for medium, or 140 degrees for well done.

Serve the burgers immediately on a toasted Kaiser roll with lettuce and tomato.

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The venison burger has a special place among sportsmen. It combines America’s most popular big game, the whitetail, and America’s most popular food — the hamburger. To honor this famous dish, I reached out to five wild game chefs to get their favorite venison burger recipes.

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Surprisingly, there were some commonalities in the group.

Of the five recipes, three of them included grilled mushrooms or sautéed onions as a topping.

Maybe less surprising is that they all suggested cheese, but it ranged from slices of cheddar to smoked gouda.

The burger meat mixtures covered a wide spectrum. Two recipes use pork, one recipe uses pork sausage, one recipe uses beef, and one is pure whitetail.

Cooking time and temp varied, too. Some chefs had patties cooked in as little as 6 minutes, while others went for half an hour.

However, much time spent on the grill, though, every chef recommended only one flip.

You’ll want to stop reading here if you’re not prepared to get hungry.