Venison Smash Burgers

Smash burgers are the quintessential diner food, which evokes a feeling of nostalgia for many folks. While traditionally made with ground beef with a ratio of 80 per cent lean to 20 per cent ground, we routinely make burgers using 100 per cent ground wild game (which tends to be leaner than domesticated ground meat) and they are just as delicious as beef burgers.

Venison Smash Burgers. Credit: Raeanne O’Meara.
Credit: Raeanne O’Meara.


  • 1 lb ground venison (elk, moose, deer, etc.)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Assorted dried herbs (thyme, oregano, etc.) for seasoning
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Sliced cheese
  • Vegetables for toppings


Heat up a cast iron pan over medium heat and melt the butter. While the pan is preheating, separate the ground meat into 4-ounce portions. Season one side with dried herbs, salt and pepper, and place the seasoned side down into the pan. Season the other side. Use a spatula, wooden spoon – whatever you have on hand – to smash down the burger into a thin patty. Cook until charcoaled and crisp on one side (around five minutes) then flip to the other side for another few minutes. Lay the sliced cheese on top of burgers, then cover the pan to allow the cheese to melt and the burgers to steam until the cheese is melted.

Venison Smash Burgers. Credit: Raeanne O’Meara.
Credit: Raeanne O’Meara.

This recipe makes four quarter-pound burgers. Top with lettuce, spinach, dill pickles, caramelized onions, tomatoes, mushrooms or whatever else you have in the fridge. Good food doesn’t have to be complicated – just choose high-quality ingredients.