Grilling A Big Game Treat On The Fourth

Photos by Chris Cocoles

Happy Fourth of July, everyone. Now, I took both of the above photos just to get me and you hungry for today’s expected grilling extravanzas. But while the top pic was from a tailgate party I attended last football season and had nothing to me with my culinary skills, just check out that delectable chicken I burned prepared. My dog was an eyewitness to the mess I created.

Emma was unimpressed with my grilling skills.

So to make the most out of any last-minute meal ideas you might want to try as you fire up the grill today, don’t take any advice from me and take it from our great From Field to Fire chef Tiffany Haugen, who shares a delicious vension burger recipe that appears in our July issue. If you have a freezer full of ground game meat, this one’s for you! Enjoy your holiday and be safe.

Photos by Tiffany Haugen

By Tiffany Haugen

Summertime is grilling time! 

But before you go tossing a package of hot dogs on the barbecue, look in your freezer and defrost some of your wild game. If it’s already ground, great. If not, get out the grinder and get ready for the burger of your life! 

For a juicier wild game burger add a handful of ground pork to the mix (unless you already had fat ground in during processing).

When trimming up the meat to grind, get rid of any silverskin. Use the medium grinder plate, as this is small enough to keep your burger together but big enough to give it a light texture. Feel free to add seasoning to the grind before or after making patties, but hold off on the salt. Adding salt to ground meat or even salting patties before putting them on the grill affects the quality of the patty due to the chemical changes that take place when meat mixes with salt.

Don’t neglect the fixin’s, as these tasty offerings can create some winning combinations. From grilled onions to butter-sautéed mushrooms, fresh avocado and gourmet cheese, the sky’s the limit. 

The buns can be equally important; while some people prefer a soft white one, others want more flavor. It’s nice to have a few choices onhand, including whole-grain options, brioche buns or ciabatta rolls. All buns taste better when lightly buttered or brushed with olive oil and browned before serving.


1 pound ground venison (deer, moose or caribou)

¼ pound ground pork

1 teaspoon granulated onion

½ teaspoon granulated garlic

½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

In a small bowl mix dry seasonings. After grinding meat, sprinkle seasonings on the meat and gently mix before forming into patties. 

Place patties on well-lubricated grill grates in a preheated medium-hot grill. Do not flip patties until burgers have started to caramelize and release from the grates. Cook to desired doneness or an internal temperature of 155 degrees. 

Editor’s note: For signed copies of Tiffany Haugen’s best-selling cookbook, Cooking Big Game, send a check for $20 (free S&H) to Haugen Enterprises, P.O. Box 275, Walterville, OR  97489, or order online at Follow Tiffany on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, and watch for her on the online series Cook With Cabela’sThe Sporting Chef TV show, and The Hunt on Amazon Prime.