We all love our venison burgers, but there is no denying that if we do not get the ratio of fat to lean venison right, things can become a little awry.
Finding that perfect venison fat ratio can make or break a burger. For me, the best ratio is 10-20% fat to lean venison.
What to Mix With Venison
Finding the correct ratio for your venison burgers depends on the type of burgers you are making and the fat you will use.
Generally, for my burgers, I use 3 different types of fat – pork fat, beef tallow, and pork belly.
This can also work for sausages, you can see here what to mix with venison, for more ingredients
- Pork Fat – This is the most common fat used for making venison burgers. Pork fat is cheap and easy to come by.
It adds a great deal of flavor to the burger and is excellent at preventing the burger from drying out.
- Beef Tallow – Most people will find beef tallow works better with venison burgers.
Although it is harder to come by, its flavor lends itself better to the venison.
- Pork Belly – I feel like using pork belly for venison burgers is a hidden secret.
Everyone I talk to, or even in the hunting forums, I see people going on about fat. I’ve been using pork belly for venison burgers for years, and when making regular burgers, it’s my go-to mix.
I find using pork belly over pure fat gives you the tastiest burger if all three options.
Ratio of Fat to Venison for Burgers
Burger Fat Calculator
Enter Fat Percentage (5-20)%:
Enter Lean Meat Weight (lbs):
If I’m making smash burgers, I like to use around 10% pork fat. I want smash burgers to cook fast, get crispy, and stay moist but not greasy.
While you could use more than 10%, I don’t recommend it as it will make the burger greasy.
Keep in mind that you need to use some oil on the pan for smash burgers to prevent them from sticking.
In most cases, I actually use pork lard for this, hence why I aim for the lower side of pork fat.
If making regular burgers for the grill, I like to increase the percentage of pork fat slightly.
Typically, I will use about 15% fat when grilling burgers. Why you may ask – well, the secret to great grilled burgers comes from fat drippings.
As the fat melts, it drips onto the coal, causing a flare-up with a whiff of smoke.
The flare will char the burger, causing a Maillard reaction, and the smoke will impart flavor.
I don’t use this much fat if pan frying burgers because it will make them greasy, but the extra fat works well on the grill.
I use 20% pork belly to 80% lean venison. The reason for the high amount of belly is that you will only end up with about 10 – 15% pork fat and 5-10% pork meat.
I generally only use fattier pork belly for mixing with venison for burgers.
You still want to prevent the burger from drying out and mixing it with pork meat will not achieve this.
The added pork meat from pork belly is minimal and only used to impart extra flavor; the fat is the main thing we are after.
Strangely, even though most people prefer beef fat to pork fat, I tend to use a smaller beef fat-to-venison ratio when making burgers.
Beef fat leaves a greasier texture than pork fat, so using the same amount would leave you with a rather unpleasant texture and maybe an overpowering taste.
I rarely use beef fat myself, as I prefer pork belly for flavor or pork fat for simplicity and texture.
If I am using beef fat, I only use a 5 – 7% fat-to-venison ratio.
How to Mix Fat With Venison
Having the right type of fat or the right amount of fat means nothing if you don’t mix it properly.
You don’t want to end up with a greasy burger or, worse, a dry one.
Once you have the correct ratio, it’s essential to keep everything cold. I like to grind pure fat when it is frozen.
Grinding from frozen ensures the fat doesn’t melt when making your burger mix.
Most people don’t realize that as you grind your mixture, the grinder is heating up.
Beef and pork fat have a low melting point and will start leaving a waxy texture in your mix.
By keeping the fat cold, it keeps it together, allowing it to only melt when it is on the pan or grill.
Once the burger is on the heat, the fat slowly melts, preventing the burger from drying out.
If you are cooking on the grill and using a higher fat ratio, it will begin to drip and cause the flare-ups I mentioned earlier.