Hunters are often blessed with an ample supply of ground meat. When cutting game, the shoulder, neck and trim usually end up destined for the grinder—having venison burger supports a diverse diet and nurtures culinary creativity. The old standbys, like spaghetti sauce, lasagna or chili, are comfort food for a reason.
Thinking outside the box, a creative cook can use ground venison to recreate structured meat. Meatloaf comes to mind, but creating a log or roll is a delightful way to try something new. A flavorful log, destined for the grill or smoker, can be sliced like a roast or served on a bun like a designer burger.
Get creative and add different flavor profiles. The Greek Log has pine nuts, feta cheese, black olives and spinach that create a moist and sophisticated dinner.
• 1½ lbs. ground venison
• ½ lb. regular ground pork
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 egg
• 1 teaspoon oregano
• 1 teaspoon basil
• ½ teaspoon garlic powder
• 4 cups baby spinach, tightly packed
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ¼ cup pine nuts
• ⅓ cup feta cheese, crumbled
• ¼ cup black olives, pitted and sliced
• 6-8 slices bacon (regular, not thick-cut works best)
1. Preheat grill or smoker to 375°F.
2. In a large bowl, mix the ground venison and pork with 1 tablespoon olive oil, egg, oregano, basil, garlic powder and salt.
3. Heat a skillet over low heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cook the spinach in the skillet until wilted about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat to cool.
4. Place a long piece of plastic wrap on a cutting board and add the ground meat to the center. Start pressing the meat out until it forms a uniform rectangle about ½ inch thick, about 10x12 inches. Use the plastic wrap as a template for size, creating the meat patty formed to the edges of the wrap.
5. Through the center third of the meat, layer the pine nuts, feta cheese, black olives, and wilted spinach.
6. Pick up the plastic wrap from the longest side and begin rolling up the meat. Keep continual pressure on the roll, evenly packing the stuffed ingredients inside. When the roll is complete, use the plastic wrap to put pressure on the ends to seal the meat.
7. Lay out 6 to 8 slices of bacon, so the edges are touching. The sheet of bacon should be the same width as the venison log, or slightly bigger.
8. Set the stuffed meat log on the edge of the bacon and roll it out of the plastic. The log should be in the center of the bacon. Wrap the bacon ends to encompass the entire venison log.
9. Bake in the oven for one hour at 350°F or place it on the preheated grill or smoker. To avoid flareups, place the log in a foil pan or on a baking sheet with parchment paper.
10. Remove from the heat when the internal temperature reaches 150°F. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
For more delicious wild-game recipes, click here.