My First Deer, and Bohemian Venison Burgers

Victory! After spending about 11 hours freezing on a stand at the top of a hill in the Mohawk Valley countryside, silently watching this field:

I killed my first deer, on the season opening day just before sunset! The young, antlerless buck showed up at about 200 yards, near the trees you see at the far end of the field. I took a first shot, missed, and, probably not knowing where the noise came from, the deer came towards me for about 50 yards. Fatal mistake, as I shot again and he went down immediately.

Thanks again to huntsman Bob for a great hunting weekend (I also got a turkey, but this is a story for another day).


This is a simple recipe that I created the day I came home from the hunting trip, fighting with exhaustion. It can be made entirely on a grill if you have limited equipment (I give 2 versions of the apple-sauerkraut purée).

The Bohemian twist, brought by the cured pork, the sauerkraut, and the potato bun, is inspired by the many venison dishes I enjoyed during my winter trips to the Czech Republic.

Apple-sauerkraut purée
Yields about 4 servings

1/2 oz butter
2  1/2 oz peeled and sliced green apple
1 oz sauerkraut

  • Brown butter in a frying pan over medium heat, then add the apple and cook until soft, stirring frequently. Transfer to a blender with the sauerkraut, process until smooth, and reserve.
  • Alternatively, you can wrap the quartered apple and and butter in foil and cook on a grill, then mash and mix it with the sauerkraut using a fork.

Bohemian venison burger
Yields 4 servings

4 slices pancetta (or bacon)
24 oz ground venison
salt
black pepper, ground
4 burger buns (preferably potato)
3 oz firm cheese (such as swiss or gouda), coarsely grated
apple-sauerkraut purée

  • Sauté the pancetta in a hot pan until brown on both sides, and reserve. Shape the ground venison into 4 patties without pressing the meat more than necessary. Season generously with salt and pepper, sauté in the same pan over high heat to the desired doneness, then let rest for a couple minutes. Of course, the pancetta and patties can be cooked on a grill instead.
  • Toast the buns with grated cheese on the top halves. Spread each bottom half with apple-sauerkraut purée, then top with a patty and a slice of pancetta. Serve immediately.

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3 thoughts on “My First Deer, and Bohemian Venison Burgers

  1. Pingback: Venison Goulash and Potato Varenyky « Food Perestroika

  2. Pingback: Leg of Venison in Moscovite Sauce with Butternut Squash Varenyky | Food Perestroika

  3. Pingback: Venison and Potato Latke Burgers with Vodka-Battered Vegetables | Food Perestroika

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