Camp Cooking and Game Processing Trade recipes and other tricks of the trade for cooking wild game.

Grinding deer meat

Old 11-22-2009, 09:07 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2009
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Default Grinding deer meat

I'm new to hunting and I've been lucky enough to kill two small does this season, one with my crossbow and the other with my slug gun, my buddy gave me one of the ones he shot too so I've got quite a bit of meat. How should I go about grinding some of it up for burgers? I've heard of people mixing sausage or beef fat into it? Where can I get an inexpensive grinder? Thanks in advance for any advice!
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Old 11-22-2009, 09:24 AM
Typical Buck
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a hand grinder would be the cheapest thing you can buy. do you live near a northern tool store they have them . so does bass pro,cabelas,gander mtn.
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Old 11-22-2009, 09:42 AM
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Location: Blacksburg, SC
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lowes sells the waren pro grinder for 100 bucks , i have had one for 4 years and ground up quite a few deer , it's not a big grinder and you have to feed it slowly , but it does it's job.

deer meat is very very lean , alot of people add pork fat to the deer to make it have a bit of fat, i seen anywhere from 20 to 50% fat added , i personally get it right around 25-30% sometimes i even add a bit of bacon to it.

pork butts are great to mix into the deer burger.. and if you know a butcher you may be able to get some of the fat trimmings they have left after they process the's another cheap alternative.

here's a cheap grinder...
don't really know how well it would hold up though.
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Old 11-22-2009, 10:00 AM
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You should also find the hand crank grinders at about any farm store like Orscheln or Tractor Supply and possibly even a Wal-Mart, but you can't count on Wal-Mart for much. An electric grinder may cost a bit more but you can probably find those too. You can go to any locker and ask for pork, beef or whatever fat to add to your burger, or the meat counter in any large store that cuts their own meat and they can tell you how much is reccommended. You can also add sausage because its mostly fat, but your deer will taste like sausage, obviously. But basicly you decide how much lean meat you want and you can find that out from any hamburger you've purchased at a store, by reading the package. Most common is 80/20 If this is what you like then add 2lbs. of fat to 8lbs. of deer and grind and mix well. After the first batch fry up some deerburger and make sure it cooks and tastes right and adjust if necessary.

Another thing you can do is just grind it lean and add lard/crisco to your pan at cooking time like grandma used to do. It does excactly the same thing, it adds the desired amount of fat for flavor and easy cooking without burning. You could simply figure out how many teaspoons of your favorite flavor of cooking lard to add.

Many does have a nice 1/2 inch thick layer of fat covering their hind quarters and over their back straps and you can save it for grinding too.
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Old 11-22-2009, 11:36 AM
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Location: Lubbock, Texas
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I buy the cheapest hamburger I can find and mix it in with my ground up deer. It usually comes in 5lb tubes and is about 23% fat. I trim all the deer fat off as otherwise it will give the end result a gamey flavor.

I mix it about 2lbs of lean ground up deer meat with 1lb of the store bought hamburger.

The end result is about 93% lean burger. Most folks can't tell the difference.

I have a #12 electric grinder I bought at gander mountain. It shows online to be $179.99 but I bought it for $79.99 in the store on a special. I think I just saw them for that price again last week actually. I've ground up 1 elk, 3 deer, and a bunch of pigs with mine and it seems to do a pretty good job.
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Old 11-22-2009, 04:19 PM
Fork Horn
Join Date: Apr 2009
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First off a hand grinders are ok but alot of work .Get a lem or a lem type product .. very good units.Picked one up at bps made by lem for bps for hundred bucks .. all lem products will fit it .I mix 50/50 pork but with my venison for sausage .I however do remove all fat from my venison as its more like tallow than fat and tends to make the meat taste sour or rancid.I grind my pork one time through and then my venison mix it well add spices and grind again all together.I tried 20 and 30% and wife said it was still to dry for her tastes.
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Old 11-22-2009, 06:32 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: NC
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I use a 80 year old Keystone hand grinder. It isn't very large, but it'll grind up a pile of meat quicker than you'd think.
I just made 25lbs of breakfast sausage, and 10lbs of ground venison the other day.
Did it all in about an hour. (once it was boned and cut into strips of course).
Its hard to tell someone else how to eat their food. You really just need to experiement.
I make alot of meat loafs, hamburger helper products, chilli, spaghetti, etc.
For this I just grind venison as it is.
If Im grilling deer burgers for...burgers, I add a little (10% or so) of some sort of fat, to help keep them from crumbling so much. Might be bacon, or trimings.
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Old 11-22-2009, 09:43 PM
Nontypical Buck
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People often talk about a "gamy" taste to their meat. There IS such a thing. If you have the meat cut up with a saw, the marrow and bone fragments disrupt the taste of the venison. So I debone all my meat with a knife. I cut no bones with a saw at all. The only thing I cut that resembles bone is the sternum when I'm skinning and that too is done with a knife.

I also remove almost all the membrane/sinew that is on the meat. This is a large contributor of the gamy taste some talk about. I also remove all the tallow/fat. When any venison I grind goes into the grinder, it's clean, void of any of these things that disrupt the taste of the meat.

I like to cut it into strips so it feeds better into the hopper. My first grinder experiences have been done with a #10 grinder. See below:

It grinds ok, but I grind more meat now, all of my family, so I use a larger one yet. It's not really a lot of work. You have to keep your meat clean of the sinew stuff so your grinder doesn't plug or slow down. If you keep extra grinder plates on hand, about $5 each, you can switch them out as they get plugged up and keep on grinding, while someone else is cleaning out the one(s) that is/are plugged. Makes for fast grinding this way.

I mix 2lbs of ground venison per 1lb. of ground beef.(some to 3 to 1)

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Old 11-23-2009, 04:47 AM
Nontypical Buck
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Garfield NJ USA
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I also buy the fattiest ground beef in the store and mix it about 1-1 1/2 to 1 venison to beef, saute some onions and noone will ever know the difference.
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Old 11-23-2009, 05:45 AM
Fork Horn
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Snydersville PA
Posts: 101

We use an electirc grinder that my uncle purchased from Cabela's, but I'm not sure of what number it is. As for cleaning our meat, we do it very similarly to iSnipe, in that we clean all excess fat and blue skin from the meat. This is one of the reasons we started grinding our own, we were watching the processors do it and they left a lot of the "crap" we don't like to eat, on the meat.

We use 50/50 mix of Pork and Venison for all of our grindings. For every 5lbs of venison, we'll throw in 3lbs of smoked bacon, and 2lbs of pork butt. We find it's a wonderful mix, and this year I'm going to try and lean out the pork a little bit to try and play around with different combinations of beef hamburger and pork in different ratio's. Good luck with any grinding your going to do this year!
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