This recipe is an ode to my buddy Edgar of Sight Line Provisions. If you know Edgar, Then you know his “Mother In Law’s Hooch.” A special concoction his mother-in-law whips up for family and friends on special occasions made with tequila, grilled pineapple, and jalapeno.
Inspired by the recipe in Hank Shaw’s book Buck Buck Moose, these venison smash burgers are a great way to utilize some of the ground venison in your freezer. While Hanks recipe is great, I did add an extra ingredient besides fat to combat a common crumbling problem with venison patties, liver. Liver is helpful for a few reasons, one is that is acts as a binder, the second, is texture and the third is that it adds another beautiful layer of flavor. I used chicken liver for this recipe, but you can use beef or pork if you prefer. The addition of fat of course, gives the venison the grease necessary to cook a smash burger, giving it the signature crispy layer. I used beef fat but once again, you can use what ever fat you want, bacon, or even butter.
A green onion cream cheese is an easy, fantastic spread to lay onto the bun. Recipe is also below.
To properly cook smash burgers you’ll need a cast-iron skillet or griddle so that you can smash the meat flat and sautee your veggies. I used the BBQ Hack Griddle on my Traeger Tailgater and it worked great. I was able to fill it up with the onions, jalapenos, and pineapples burgers, and I had room to charr up some corn to make elotes or Mexican street corn.
Since Edgar’s mother-in-law is the only one that knows the exact hooch recipe, the margaritas are a spin on her wonderful potion. I used a pineapple mezcal from my friends at Gracias Adios, Arrogante which is a liqueur made from tequila and damiana flowers, and Pineapple gum syrup from Liber and Co., and a chili-lime salt from our friends at Ocotillo Salt Co., grilled pineapple, jalapenos, lime, and orange juice.
Venison Smash Burger ingredients:
(Makes 4 burgers)
14 oz venison
2 oz beef fat
1 chicken liver
4 pineapple discs
4 brioche buns
Green onion and cream cheese spread – simply chop one green onion and add it to 2 tablespoons of cream cheese, stir together until smooth.
Start by heating the griddle, then add the liver and the beef fat to a food processor and blend until almost smooth. Place into a bowl with the venison, salt, and pepper and knead together by hand. Next, roll them into 4 even balls and place them in the fridge to set up while prepping the rest of your ingredients.
Next slice jalapenos and onions into disks, throw them onto the grill add olive oil and cook until translucent. Add pineapple rounds and corn to griddle and grill until a golden char forms.
While those cook takes your meatballs out of the fridge and put them on the griddle and press them down with parchment paper between the meat and the spatula one at a time. Season the meat with a season salt of your choice. I used Meat Church Holly VooDoo. Cook meat until a crust forms on the bottom about 3 min and flip this is where you will add the grilled onion, jalapeno, and grilled pineapple. Next, add some butter to the griddle and grill the buns. build your burgers and add the cream cheese spread to the bun and lettuce.
take corn off the grill and slather with butter, and mayo and sprinkle the chili lime salt all over.
2 oz Gracias Adios Pineapple Mezcal
1/2 oz Damiana liqueur
1 oz lime juice
1 oz orange juice
1 oz Liber and Co. Pineapple Gum Syrup
Ocotillo Salt Co. Chili Lime Salt
sliced jalapeno disks
Grilled pineapple chunks
Start by rimming your glass with the chili lime salt and fill the glass with crushed ice. Next place jalapeno, grilled pineapple, and lime juice into a shaker tin and muddle. Then fill the shaker with crushed ice and add the rest of the ingredients. Give it a good, vigorous 10-second shake and strain it into your margarita glass. Garnish by floating a grilled pineapple and jalapeno wheels.