Grilled elk burgers are the perfect dish for enjoying ground elk meat. This recipe has a few secret ingredients to make the juiciest elk burgers that are so tender and flavorful. When cooked over an open flame, the lean meat of the elk burger develops a savory and smoky taste that pairs perfectly with traditional toppings such as cheddar cheese, lettuce, and tomato. Give this classic burger recipe a try today!
Why You'll Love This Recipe:
Juicy: This recipe combines the earthy flavor of elk meat with the powerful umami flavor of Worcestershire sauce and the smoky flavor of bacon grease. The combination of Worcestershire sauce and bacon grease creates the most delicious juicy burger.
Easy to Make: It only takes a few simple ingredients to make the best elk burgers!
Versatile: This recipe is written for 100% lean ground elk meat but it can be used with any type of lean ground meat! You can adjust the amount of bacon grease depending on how much fat is already in your meat.
- Ground Elk Meat: Any ground wild game meat or domestic ground red meat can be used in place of ground elk. Ground venison, antelope, moose, ground beef, etc. will all work.
- Bacon Grease: This recipe calls for bacon grease as an added fat for the ground elk. The delicious smoky bacon flavor combined with the velvety smooth fat truly makes the perfect elk burger.
- Worcestershire Sauce: Worcestershire sauce is the perfect ingredient to add some extra flavor to your elk hamburgers. It enhances the meaty flavor of the elk and also helps the burgers stick together better.
- Pellet Grill: This recipe uses a pellet grill but you can use a gas grill, charcoal grill, or cast iron skillet to cook your ground elk patties.
Step by Step Instructions:
How To Make Elk Burger Patties:
Juicy elk burgers are just a few steps away with this simple recipe. See below for a few tips and tricks on how to make the best burgers.
Pro Tip: Don't overwork the meat mixture or your burger patties will become hard pucks of meat when you grill them! If you overmix the patty mixture, the pieces of meat become compacted and hard. The goal is to have the fat and spices evenly distributed throughout the meat so that the fat melts between the pieces of meat to make the juiciest burger.
How To Grill Elk Burgers:
Burgers are one of the easiest meats to grill. Follow along below for a few simple steps!
Pro Tip: Add the cheese immediately after flipping the burgers to let the cheese melt while the burgers finish cooking. If you wait too long to add the cheese, it may not melt before your burgers are done.
Burger Topping Variations:
Burger toppings are totally up to your personal preference. See below for a few variations on the classic burger.
Cheese: Cheddar cheese is the classic cheese for burgers but pepper jack cheese, Colby jack cheese, provolone, or your favorite cheese are all great choices!
Toppings: Lettuce, tomato, and onion are classic burger toppings but you can elevate your burger experience with some of the topping variations below. The possibilities for unique burgers are endless!
Fancy Burger Topping Options:
- Caramelized Onions + Mushrooms + Swiss Cheese (Venison Mushroom Swiss Burgers)
- Bacon (Elk Sliders with Bacon)
- Green Chiles + Pepper Jack Cheese (Green Chile Burgers)
- Teriyaki Sauce + Pineapple (Hawaiian Burgers)
- Fried Egg + Bacon (Breakfast Burgers)
More Delicious Ground Elk Recipes:
- Ground Elk Quesadillas
- Elk French Onion Meatballs
- Elk Sausage and Apple Hand Pies
- Spicy Elk Sausage over Cheesy Grits
Putting it All Together:
Once you have your perfectly juicy elk burgers cooked to your liking and topped with your favorite toppings, it's time to dig in! Serve these delicious burgers with Homemade Potato Chips. Or if you're feeling extra indulgent, serve them with a side of Stout Mac and Cheese for a delicious dinner. However you choose to serve them, this is sure to become one of your favorite elk burger recipes!
Depending on what you plan to cook with your ground elk, you may not need to add fat when you grind the meat. For recipes like these elk burgers, melted bacon grease is added to 100% lean ground elk. They are so juicy and delicious, even without fat ground in. If you choose to grind fat into your elk meat, beef fat and pork fat are popular choices.
There are several methods for keeping elk burgers from falling apart, but the best way I've found is to thaw the meat on paper towels. This helps remove the moisture that leaks out of the muscle tissues and leaves the meat with a sticky texture that works great when shaping burger patties. The addition of Worcestershire sauce and bacon grease also keeps the burger patties from falling apart.
Elk burgers are best when cooked to medium at an internal temperature of 140-145 degrees Fahrenheit. If you've added pork fat to your ground elk meat, it's essential to cook it to at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit as that is the safe internal cooking temperature for pork. For the most accurate results, use a meat thermometer like the Thermapen ONE digital thermometer.
Other Recipes to Try:
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Juicy Grilled Elk Burgers
- 1 lb ground elk (or venison, moose, antelope, etc.)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoon bacon grease, melted (use less if your meat has a good amount of fat ground in.)
- 4 burger buns
- 4 slices cheddar cheese
- 8 slices tomato
- 4 pieces leaf lettuce
- 8 slices red onion
- Thaw ground meat in a paper towel-lined bowl under refrigeration to remove excess moisture. This helps the burger patties stick together.
- Preheat grill to 350°F.
- To a medium bowl, add ground meat, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and melted bacon grease.
- Mix with your hands until the spices are well combined with the meat. Work quickly because the bacon grease will start to set up. When you're done mixing, the bacon grease should be distributed in small dots throughout the meat.
- Divide meat into 4 equal portions and gently roll the portions into balls.
- Form each ball into a patty by gently squishing it between the palms of your hands. Patties should be about 4-5" in diameter. Using your thumb, place a small dimple in the middle of each patty. If your patties have warmed up, place them in the fridge for 30 minutes to help them stick together.
- Place patties on the preheated grill directly over the flame. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until browned on the bottom.
- Flip burgers and immediately top with 1 slice of cheese per burger patty. Cook for an additional 3-4 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the burgers are cooked through. Remove to a plate and assemble burgers.
- You can assemble your burgers however you'd like but this is how I like to do it!
- Spread mayo on hamburger buns. Place burger patties on the bottom halves of the buns. Add ketchup and mustard, if desired.
- Add lettuce, onion, and tomato on top. Place the top halves of the buns on top. Place a sandwich pick in each burger to hold them together. Enjoy!
- This recipe uses a pellet grill but you can use a gas grill, charcoal grill, or cast iron skillet to cook the burger patties.
- Thaw your meat on paper towels to help remove off flavors. This also removes excess liquid which helps to keep your patties from falling apart.
- If your meat has fat ground in, you can cut back on the bacon grease. It adds juiciness to burgers that don't already have fat ground in.
- Don't overmix the meat or smash the patties too much. Gently mix in the spices and form the patties to keep the burgers from becoming hard when you cook them.
- Adding cheese right after flipping the burgers helps ensure the cheese melts before the burgers get overcooked.
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