Savory venison and rosemary create the most flavor-packed sliders. Whether they are the appetizer or the main course, these venison sliders will please everyone's taste buds.
A note for Ground Venison Recipes
If you don't know what venison is, venison is deer meat. Like much other wild game meat venison is very lean meat. Compared to ground beef or ground pork, there is almost no fat in ground deer meat.
This creates a challenge when cooking.
Fat is what keeps the meat moist. As it cooks, the fat breaks down, melts, and bastes the meat as it cooks to keep it moist. With the absence of fat in venison ground meat, we need to find a solution. If you grind the meat yourself, try adding beef fat or pork fat to the grind. You can also make a bacon venison grind, or mix fattier ground meat with your ground venison to create a more fatty mixture. I also do this in my Venison Meatballs.
Ingredients for Venison Sliders
Ground Venison - Ground venison is not cheap at the grocery store compared to other ground meat. If you are a hunter, great, you should have plenty. I am not a hunter. I have a hunter friend that is generous with his meat and gives me all different cuts of deer meat.
Ground Pork - I use this to mix with the ground venison for fat content. If I am grinding it myself, I will typically use beef fat or pork fat to grind into the mixture. I like to save the fat from when I trim either a pork shoulder or a brisket. You can freeze that fat until it is time to use it in the grinder. If I want to cut some of that time out of the process, I will just mix either ground beef or ground pork with ground venison to make my mixture. For this recipe, I use 1 part ground pork to 2 parts ground venison.
Fresh Herbs - Fresh herbs add remarkable flavor to these sliders. Some parsley, sage or rosemary go well with venison. For this recipe, I picked some fresh rosemary from our herb garden. Peel the rosemary leaves off the stem and gives them fine dice.
Salt and Pepper - Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper are the key to seasoning this well. You'll want at least a teaspoon of each for a pound of ground meat. If you have a favorite seasoned salt go ahead and use that.
Slider Buns - Homemade or store-bought burger buns are fine. I actually used a ready-to-bake can of rolls. I brushed with a little olive oil and seasoned them with salt, pepper, and some fried herbs to flavor them a bit before baking them. Use your favorite slider buns or whatever you have.
Optional other Ingredients - Cheese, red onion, tomatoes, bread crumbs, or your favorite other seasonings and sauce can be incorporated into this burger recipe. Have some fun and be creative if you want to try some of your other pantry items.
Venison Burger Recipe Instructions
Step One: Combine ground venison, ground pork, rosemary, salt, and pepper into a large bowl and mix well. I dive right in there with my hands to make sure that all the meat and seasoning is well incorporated.
Flavor Tip: You can make the meat mixture earlier in the day or the night before and let it sit in the fridge to allow the flavors of the herbs to really permeate the meat.
Step Two: Form the meat into slider patties. I always recommend making the patty the appropriate size for the bun you are serving it on. The size of my slider patty is two ounces, about a three-inch diameter. Once you make all the patties, preheat your grill, smoker, or skillet. However, you are planning to cook them.
Did you know? With any homemade burger or slider recipe, you can always make the patties in advance and freezer them for a later date. You can wrap each one in freezer paper or a separate plastic wrap. Then you only need to take out what you plan on cooking at that later date.
Ways to cook Venison Sliders
Pan-fry - If you are limited to a stovetop, this is an easy way to cook your slider within minutes. Preheat your pan or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until it is very hot. Lightly coat skillet with olive oil and place patties in. Cook each side for about one minute or until you have a good sear on each side. With the size of these sliders, they cook very quickly.
Oven - You can also cook these in the oven. Preheat your oven to 450°F. Place the venison patties on a rimmed baking sheet and cook for about 5-10 minutes depending on how well you like your sliders cooked.
Smoker - You can smoke these at a low temperature of around 180°F for 20 minutes to get a nice smoky flavor. I would recommend then finishing them in an iron skillet or on a hot grill to get a nice sear on the outside.
Grill - Fire up and preheat the grill. Then place your burgers on the grill and cook for about three minutes on each side.
Cooking Venison Sliders on a Pellet Grill
I used my Traeger grill to cook these sliders. I like the wood-fired taste when making burgers. You can go low and slow for a smoky flavor or cook them on high heat more like a traditional grill. I went right between those two. I set the temperature to 350°F. Once the grill was preheated, I placed the venison burger patties on. I cooked them for five minutes then flipped them for another five minutes. I took them off when the internal temperature reached 140°F.
Adding cheese to the Venison Sliders
I took a provolone cheese slice and cut it in a circle using the rim of a small cup that was similar in size to my burgers. I placed the cheese on the burger while it was on the grill to allow the cheese to melt nicely down the side. You can use your favorite cheese, or skip the cheese if you are dairy-free. I have a few people in my household that do not like cheese on their burgers, so I usually make a few with and a few without.
How to serve Venison Sliders
Naked - If you are avoiding carbs are looking to keep these on the lighter side, you can serve them as the protein on your dish or on top of a salad with your favorite dressing.
Traditional - If you are looking for a traditional burger service, go ahead and top these with lettuce, tomato slices, dill pickles, and ketchup or mustard.
Gourmet - Crispy bacon, sauteed mushrooms, or smoked onions are also nice options to kick this mini burger up a notch.
Simple and Elegant - I really wanted to showcase the flavor of the venison.
When I am doing a simple presentation for my burger, I like to flavor mayonnaise. the options are endless for whatever taste you are going for. Simply take a tablespoon of mayo and add a pinch of dry seasoning to it. I have used onion powder, chipotle powder, cayenne pepper, or a combination of any of them.
For this recipe, I used roasted garlic powder. It is one of my favorites. Again, add a dash of roasted garlic powder to about a tablespoon of mayo and mix it well, then spread it on the slider bun. To add a fresh crunch I also used some baby spinach on the slider.
Best other foods and sides to go with your Venison Sliders
We like to serve these buffet style with Smoked Mac and Cheese, Grilled Broccoli, Cheesy Potatoes, Cajun Potato Salad, and Pumpkin Soup. Everyone can start with a burger and then choose their favorite sides to go with it.
Looking for other easy-to-make delicious burger options?
Additionally, check out an easy step-by-step process for how to grill frozen burgers.
If you are looking for some other great venison recipes.
- 1 lb ground venison
- .5 lb ground pork
- 1 tablespoon rosemary freshly chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- .5 teaspoon black pepper
- Combine all ingredients into a large bowl and mix well.
- Form meat into small patties of about 2 oz each.
- Preheat pellet grill, smoker, or oven to about 350°F
- Cook sliders for about 5 minutes on each side until they reach your desired doneness. I recommend cooking until the internal temperature reaches 140°F.
- Once the sliders are cooked, serve them on your favorite buns with toppings or with your favorite side dishes.