One Method for Improving a Pub Patty: The Deer John Burger

There is no such thing as too many burgers in one’s diet, but some hunters may be looking for a variation on their favorite venison patty.

Because ground venison is so lean, some hunter cooks are inclined to add a little something to it for substance and perhaps an extra bit of flavor. I have a friend who likes to get pork fat from his butcher and add that to his ground venison.

For this recipe, I opted for a 1:3 ratio of finely diced or pulsed short ribs to ground venison. 

The key to any great burger: choosing the best for every layer. A quality bun (found in the bakery, not the bread aisle) is just as important as the meat between it. I prefer Artisan Hearth’s new brioche buns. Any brioche bun, typically speaking, serves a burger well. 

For any burger, ignore any inclination to overspice your proteins. Anything besides a thin sprinkling of salt and pepper on each side and you might be making meatloaf.

Trust the quality of your proteins. Trust the simple spices to bring out the flavor.

As is the case with any cut of venison, make certain to monitor your grill closely to avoid a well-done travesty.  

Asiago cheese goes great with venison. If you have trouble locating Asiago, you can substitute Parmesan, though a substitution should be your last resort.

Adding short ribs to a burger mix (or any ground meat mix, really), is an excellent way to enhance the base flavor while also adding a tender texture. The mix has become a recent trend in burger pubs nationwide, but the technique is easily applied and readily enjoyed in any home kitchen.  



Makes two servings.

9 ounces ground venison, 3 ounces short ribs 

1 medium onion, cut into rings and grilled

2 jalapenos, sliced and sauteed along with onion


Special mayonnaise:

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce

1/2 teaspoon pure sesame oil

1 tsp lime juice

1 tsp salt

1/2 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon yellow mustard

1 tablespoon Sambal chili paste


To prepare burgers and prep special mayonnaise: Cut short rib meat into cubes and pulse briefly in a food processor, or cut into strips then finely diced. When finished, short rib meat should resemble size and shape of peppercorns. Thoroughly mix short rib meat with ground venison, form into 6-ounce patties. Salt and pepper both sides. Mix ingredients for mayonnaise, adding and mixing salt at the very end. Place special mayonnaise in fridge until ready to serve.

To prepare grilled onions and jalapeños: Heat canola oil in a pan to 350 degrees. Cut one whole onion into rings and place rings into pan to sauté. Turn burner to high. Slice two jalapeños, add to pan once onions have achieved brown sear marks throughout (approximately 4 minutes). Cook for 2 minutes more, turn off heat.       

To grill burger: Heat up grill. When grill grate is hot, to ensure a clean burger, scrape grate with wire brush then wipe off grit with oiled rag. Once rag no longer picks up streaks, apply one final coat of oil. Place patties atop grill, cook until top of meat starts to sweat (approximately 2 to 4 minutes), flip. Immediately place shredded Asaigo atop patty. Close lid or cover burgers, cook for no more than 2 minutes, remove burgers.

To serve: Toast buns. Heat up onions and jalapeños on low. Apply special mayonnaise to both sides. Place burger on bottom bun and pile on grilled onions and jalapeno mix.