A burger, is a burger, is a burger, right? Wrong. The beauty about burgers is that you can really make them your own from the ingredients you put into the patty to the toppings you add on top, and even the bread you choose to eat your burger with, each burger can be specialized to your particular taste.
In this BBQ elk burger recipe, I use BBQ sauce to give the burger itself a sweet taste, but also add plenty of binders to make sure the burger doesn’t fall apart.
The thing with wild game meat – especially hoofed wild game – is that it’s normally super lean, and when it comes to burgers, the patties like to fall apart. During a recent cookout with friends and family, it was my job to make all of the patties, which was made from venison that time, and it became an absolute disaster – all of the burger patties fell apart.
It’s hard to serve venison burgers when you don’t actually have patties. And with the pressure I put on myself when serving a crowd, I was absolutely devastated.
Holding Venison and Elk Burgers Together – Binders
In comes learning more about binders and what works to keep ground wild game together so such a disaster doesn’t happen again. I’ve tried making my venison and elk burgers with just egg, just oats and/or breadcrumbs, oil, and just about everything in between.
In the recipe below, I use eggs and quick-cooking oats to keep my burgers together, which you can see held together really well in the image below.
Another thing that helps is adding fat to the ground wild game. If you got your animal processed from a butcher, they likely asked you how you wanted the fat to ground game ratio, in which you would say 20/80 or 30/70.
Both of which are perfect for elk burgers, but I prefer 30/70. If you processed your own wild game and didn’t add any fat, you’ll want to grind in some pork fat to meet the 20/80 or 30/70 ratio (20 being the fat and 80 being the ground elk).
Also, to keep your bun from getting too soggy, make sure to butter and grill them until toasted.
BBQ Elk Burgers
- 2 lbs Ground Elk
- 3 cloves Garlic Minced
- 1 tbls Montreal Seasoning
- 1/2 cup Barbecue Sauce Plus more for serving on top of elk burger.
- 2 Green Onions Minced
- 2 tsp Worcestershire
- 2 Eggs Beaten
- 1/2 cup Quick Cooking Oats
- Put all of the ingredients in a large bowl.
- Mix all of the ingredients together with your hands.
- Form the meat into 6 elk burger balls, put them on a plate, and slide them in the refrigerator to marinade for 30 minutes to an hour. Keeping the elk burgers cold, the eggs, and the oats, all work as binders to keep the meat from falling apart.
- When you’re ready to grill them, flatten them out into hamburgers. Heat up your grill and make sure it’s well oiled – another way to help keep the burger from falling apart.
- Cook the elk burgers 4 minutes per side, and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.