What's better than a juicy grilled elk burger with bacon? MINI ELK BURGERS WITH BACON! When else do you get the opportunity to eat 3+ burgers instead of 1? These little sliders are full of flavor and are cheesy, juicy, and delicious. And the bacon? It's the perfect complement for the mini wild game burgers of your dreams. Let's get grilling!
Why This Recipe Works:
Normally I'm not a "hide the taste of your venison with bacon" kind of gal, but elk and bacon are a perfect match with these sliders. The flavor of the bacon compliments the juicy burger perfectly without overpowering it. The sharp cheddar cheese melts into the burger and acts as a glue for the bacon on top. Honestly, you could leave it at that and they will be delicious! Or you can top them however you like to make your burgers. Whichever path you choose, you're going to love them!
- Ground Elk: You can use any ground meat in place of ground elk: venison, moose, antelope, beef, turkey, etc.
- Brioche Rolls: I like to use these brioche rolls for sliders but you can use whatever slider rolls or dinner rolls you prefer.
- Lard: Lard is an optional ingredient. If your meat doesn't have fat ground in, lard adds juiciness to your burgers. If your meat already has fat ground in, there is no need to add the lard unless you want extra juicy burgers!
- Pellet Grill: You can use whatever grill you have, but a pellet grill is great for keeping meat juicy at low cooking temperatures and adds a delicious smokiness to these burgers.
How to remove "off flavors" from ground venison:
Sometimes when you grind a bunch of venison together, some funky flavors end up in the meat. Myoglobin is the liquid that's bound into muscle and when you grind the meat, myoglobin gets released from the muscle cells. If too much of it is left in the meat, it can hold onto some funky flavors that most people refer to as "gaminess." Luckily, there is an easy solution for removing those "off flavors!" As an added bonus, this method removes excess liquid from the meat which also helps burgers stick together better!
How to season and shape slider patties:
Seasoning your meat well is a very important step in making the best burgers. A simple blend of garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce adds delicious flavor to your burgers without overpowering them. See below for how to season and shape your slider patties:
How to grill elk sliders:
Now that you've done the hard work, it's time for the fun part - grilling! One of the best parts about these burgers is that they cook very quickly so you can go from prepping to dinner in no time! Follow the simple instructions below for grilling:
Putting it All Together:
You have your cheesy grilled patties and all your toppings at the ready, now it's time to assemble! You can build your sliders however you'd like, but here's how I like to do it. Spread a generous layer of mayo on the brioche rolls. Place the burger patties on the bottom halves of the rolls. Top with 1 slice of bacon (broken into halves or thirds). Add lettuce, onion, and tomato on top. Add ketchup and mustard. Place the top halves of the rolls on top. Place a sandwich pick in each burger to hold them together. These juicy little morsels are best served with seasoned fries and a cold lager. Enjoy!
Other Recipes to Try:
Elk meat doesn't need fat to be delicious! But, you can add fat to it if you're looking for extra juiciness.
Elk meat is quite a bit leaner than beef. It has a milder flavor than other game meats like deer or antelope. Many people say that it tastes like beef but it has its own unique flavor profile that is mild and delicious!
Thawing ground meat on paper towels helps remove excess moisture from the meat and leaves the meat with a stickier texture. This helps immensely in keeping burger patties from falling apart.
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Grilled Elk Burger Sliders with Bacon
- 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 lard, melted (only needed if your meat doesn't have fat ground in)
- 12 brioche slider rolls, cut in half
- 12 slices bacon, cooked, broken into halves or thirds
- 6 oz sharp cheddar cheese, cut into 24 rectangle slices (from an 8 oz block)
- 6 campari tomatoes, sliced
- ¼ head leaf lettuce
- ¼ yellow onion, sliced
- Preheat grill to 350°F.
- To a medium bowl, add ground meat, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and worcestershire sauce.
- Pour melted lard over the top. (skip the lard if your meat has fat ground in) Mix with your hands until spices are well-combined with the meat. Work quickly because the lard will start to set-up. When you're done mixing, the lard should be distributed in small dots throughout the meat.
- Divide meat into 4 equal portions. Then divide each portion into 3 equal portions. You should have 12 pieces of meat total.
- Roll each piece of meat into a ball, then form into a patty by squishing it between the palms of your hands. Patties should be about 2.5-3" 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 preheated grill. Cook for 4 minutes or until browned on the bottom.
- Flip burgers and immediately top with 2 slices of cheese per burger. Cook for an addiitonal 2 minutes or until cheese is melted and 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 brioche rolls. Place burger patties on bottom halves of rolls. Top with 1 full slice of bacon per slider.
- Add lettuce, onion, and tomato on top. Add ketchup and mustard. Place top half of rolls on top. Place a sandwich pick in each burger to hold them together. Enjoy!
- 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, there is no need to add the lard. But it adds juiciness to burgers that don't already have fat.
- Since sliders are so small, they cook quickly. Make sure you add the cheese as soon as you flip them so they don't overcook.
- If you're not using a pellet grill, you can turn up the temperature.