Bambi Burgers

It’s 72º outside right now in the Boonies! Can grilling season be far behind???

If you’re a vegetarian, or object to hunting in general, you might want to click away now. This post isn’t for you. I do eat meals that are vegetarian fairly often. In fact, I did so last night! So please, stop back by soon if you’re interested in recipes.This particular one that I’m posting today won’t be for you, however.

Now to those of you are made a bit squeamish by hunting, will it help you to know that I am, too? I really don’t have any desire to do it, and it makes me sad to think about it. On the other hand, I will say this: we eat what my dear husband hunts. And, personally, since I do eat meat, I would rather eat meat from an animal that has led a happy life up till the moment he leaves this life. So, as a consequence of being married to a hunter, I’ve had to come up with some recipes for using this meat, and over the years, I have developed more than one.

The Big Bison (my husbyman) loves to hunt with his best hunting buddy, Steve, and together they have trudged through the hills of Tennessee, and the mountains of Colorado, in search of deer, elk, duck, and turkey. They’ve had plenty of successful hunts, too, and the contents of my freezer testify to that fact. But their friendship has been just as much a mentoring relationship, where my husband has been blessed to have been encouraged by a man who is not only a seasoned hunter, but an excellent husband and father as well. We feel mighty blessed to know Steve, and his wonderful wife, Annie. Just wanted to insert a little paragraph letting them know how appreciative we are of not only the meat in our freezer, but for the deep impact they have both had on our lives.

Now, with that aside, I’ll progress onward to the recipe. I’ve gone through about 3 versions of my recipe for “hamburgers” but I believe I have finally found burger nirvana with this one. I have borrowed heavily from the Barefoot Contessa’s recipe for burgers, but I assure you that mine has a significant difference: bacon! (Yay!!!!)

This recipe can be used for beef, venison, or elk, but I would only add the bacon if you are using venison or elk, which are both extremely lean meats.  (If you were using super lean beef, I guess you could.)

DO NOT MISS OUT ON THE CARAMELIZED ONION RECIPE THAT FOLLOWS: it will push your burger plum over the top into the heavenlies.

Alternatively, if you’re trying to cut the fat, you can do what we did here, which is grill onions, peppers, and portobello mushrooms that have been tossed with a tablespoon of olive oil, salt, and pepper. And yes, those are Bambi Bratwurst grilling on the side.

Brats, Burgers & Veggies Grillin’ in the Boonies

Bambi Burgers

Prep Time: 20 min
Serves: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground venison, elk, or low fat beef
  • 2 slices uncooked bacon, minced (cut up into teeny pieces)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil, plus extra for brushing the grill
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Caramelized Onions, recipe follows

Directions

Build a charcoal fire or heat a gas grill.
Place the meat in a large bowl and add the mustard, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix gently with a fork to combine, taking care not to compress the ingredients. Shape the meat into 6 (3 1/2-inch) patties of equal size and thickness.
When the grill is medium-hot, brush the grill grate with oil to keep the burgers from sticking. Place the burgers on the grill and cook for 4 minutes. Using a big spatula, turn the burgers and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes, until medium-rare or more, or cook longer if you prefer hamburgers more well done.
I like to toast my hamburger buns on the grill briefly, and then top each burger and then with a heaping tablespoon of caramelized onions, and maybe a squirt of barbecue sauce. Serve hot.

Caramelized Onions:

  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 pounds yellow onions, peeled and sliced in half-rounds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar (you could substitute balsamic)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Heat the olive oil and butter in a large shallow pot, add the onions and thyme and toss with the oil. Place the lid on top and cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes to sweat the onions. Remove the lid and continue to cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 25 to 30 minutes, until the onions are caramelized and golden brown. If the onions are cooking too fast, lower the heat. Add the vinegar, salt, and pepper and cook for 2 more minutes, scraping the brown bits from the pan. Season to taste (they should be very highly seasoned).
Yield: 6 servings


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