26 January 2010

Field to Table: Venison Salad Buger

I know, it's a goofy name but it just kind of happened that way. We decided to make burgers the other night. Because I try and eat really healthy and because I don't eat meat unless I personally dispatch the animal, I don't eat a lot of burgers anymore. Yet, America loves burgers so I was really excited to be eating one. It's been a long time coming.

So why the name Venison Salad Burger? Well, I wanted to make sure that I got plenty of vegetables on my burger so I pulled out whatever I could find in the refrigerator: lettuce, red cabbage, cilantro, onions, avocado, and tomato. We also had some homemade salsa (it's in the jelly jar in the picture; I didn't put raspberry jelly on my burger) and some homemade Shiner Bock Mustard made by my friend Chef Christina Lee. The Missus was going to make a salad but noticed that I was putting my salad on my burger, hence the name. So get the idea of venison mixed with mayonnaise and stuff out of your head.

As you can see, I have lots of venison in my freezer (along with a bag of peas, some puff pastry and a bag of mice for The Kid's pet snake). To be exact I have 4 1/2 deer and 1/2 a hog jammed in there.

So I thawed out a little bit of the burger grind, seasoned it with salt and pepper, shaped it into patties, and sautéed it in a pan. If you look closely you will notice that I make an indention in the center of each patty. This helps to keep the patties flat as they cook (have you ever cooked a burger patty and it puffs up on you?). Then I simply piled everything on my wonderful bun and chowed down.

The Missus made some lovely "crack" potatoes to go with it. Just boil some potatoes (any kind will work) until they are soft. Then smash them flat, season them with salt and pepper and EVOO, and toast them in the oven at 425° until they are kind of crunchy/crusty. I call them crack potatoes because they are pretty addictive.

About the bun. Whole Foods Market makes these wonderful sea salt and olive oil rolls. It's basically a ciabatta but it has a little more moisture to it, giving it a nice tenderness and chew. I haven't found another roll anywhere quite like them. They are simply divine. Search them out.

The Kid wanted me to take a picture of his plate of food, too. He opts for the Deconstructed Minimalist Burger with a side of pasta dressed with EVOO and fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano. Don't forget the ketchup, either (none for me, please).


  1. The burgers look great, Chef. I'm with the kid, though. No salad on mine, but a little cheese would be nice. Thanks for the tip on the rolls. We have a Whole Foods here.

  2. Oh come on Chef, no ketchup? Where's the acid?

  3. The acid is in the mustard that Christina made. I find catsup a little too sweet. Sorry, buddy. Of course, the joy of burgers is that you can make yours anyway you like.

  4. Looks great. Interesting tip about keeping the burgers flat.

    BTW, my wife and I were in your class last night (Feb 26); I was the guy in front asking how to become your friend when you said you have friends over for wild game dinners.

  5. Hey Keith,

    Welcome! I hope that you find lot's of interesting stuff around here as I build it up. If you sign on as a follower I can message you and let you know if I have any wild game throwdowns.