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As I learn more about food, where it comes from, and how it impacts our bodies and our world, I started to think about the "hunter gather" part of human history. Then it occurred to me that we very much still have hunters in our society! I realize in other parts of the country hunting is extremely common - here in the North East it isn't talked about a lot, and occasionally it's frowned upon altogether. That's why I decided to recruit one to come on the show and teach me (and you) a little bit about hunting. And how to get what you've hunted to your plate.
As meat eaters, there's a few things we need to acknowledge that's been hidden from us for a long time. 1. is, as Chef Mike Carrino of Pig & Prince said, your food has a face. We've changed the names and wrapped things up pretty and forgotten that when you eat a cut of meat, you're eating an animal that was once alive. More importantly, (2) we forget that HOW that animal lived has an impact on our bodies. When you hunt, or you eat locally hunted game meats, you're getting the most natural meat you can find! As Rich tells us, what you're eating is completely free of any added hormones or antibiotics. And probably at the same price of an organic, pasture raised, hormone free steak.
I had never tried venison prior to shooting this episode and I was terrified. I did NOT want to make a face in front of my guest who so kindly shared his work with us! I didn't have to worry and I encourage you all to give it a try. The burger was delicious! Tender and juicy and surprisingly similar to a beef burger. We even shared some of the leftovers with friends and they loved them too! If you're theory on meat is that we were put here to eat it, then you need to be ok with hunting - because if you ARE eating like a "caveman" then you would only eat meat when you were able to make a catch. Not because it was on sale at the grocery store.
Makes 4 patties
1 lb. ground venison (if no one in your life is a hunter, you can purchase ground venison in certain Whole Foods markets)
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1 tbs. olive oil
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1 garlic clove
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt & pepper
cheddar cheese slices, lettuce, tomato, onion, burger buns
Allow meat to come to room temperature.
Combine mayo, olive oil, cumin, paprika, salt & pepper.
Grate garlic clove into mayo mixture. Add in lemon juice and stir until well combined.
Add the mayo mixture to the venison. Using your hands mix until the mayo is well incorporated into the meat. Then create 4 equal patties with an indentation in the center.
Heat a grill on high and cook the burgers for about 4-5 minutes per side. You want them to be medium rare-medium - DO NOT overcook the buck burgers.
In the last minute of cooking top each burger with cheese and close the grill so it melts. Serve burgers on buns with lettuce, tomato, onion and whatever else you like on your burger!
NJ Dept. of Fish & Wildlife: