Elk Burger Recipe

Two elk burgers on a wooden board.

Elk burgers are a lean but flavorful alternative to a traditional beef burger. Whether you purchase your elk meat from the store or you have it ground fresh, you can make them juicy and delicious with just a few simple steps!

Two elk burgers topped with cheese, caramelized onions, tomato and lettuce, on a wooden board.

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What’s Great About Elk Burgers
Elk Burger Seasoning
How to Keep a Round Patty Shape
How to Cook Your Burger
Best Burger Toppings
What to Serve with Elk Burgers
Frequently Asked Questions

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What’s So Great About Elk Burgers?

Elk is a lean meat, with much lower fat than beef. It is also incredibly high in protein!

Elk is also a bit sweeter than beef. You may be expecting it to be gamey, but it is surprising not at all! It is really tasty! My kids prefer elk burgers to regular beef burgers. Cora actually won’t even eat a beef burger, but is always excited when elk burgers are on the menu!

Elk Burger Seasoning

The flavor of an elk burger is so delicious that you do not need much when seasoning the meat. A simple mixture of salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder works beautifully to make a tasty burger.

Because elk is so lean, it does need the help of some extra fat to bind it together. If you are purchasing elk from the store it will likely already have some beef or beef fat added in, so nothing additional is needed.

If you had your own elk meat processed, then add 2 tablespoons of butter or oil per pound.

Bowl of ground meat with a ramekkin of seasoning and a plate with 4 buns.

How to Keep a Round Patty Shape

  • Divide the meat into four equal parts, and shape each into a 1/2-inch-thick patty.
  • Then press an indention into the center of the patty This gives the meat room to expand and helps them to keep their shape as they cook. It also helps the patties to cook more evenly.
4 meat patties on a plate.

How to Cook Your Burger

  • Since elk meat is so lean, you’ll want to grease your pan or grill grates so that the meat does not stick. I use butter when cooking on the stove, and rub the grates with oil when cooking on a grill.
  • Whether cooking your elk burger in a pan or on a grill, use medium heat.
  • Cook the patty for 4 minutes, then flip it over and cook an additional 4 minutes. Cheese can be added a couple of minutes after flipping the burger.
  • Your elk burger is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 140 degrees. Using a thermometer is helpful for this, as cooking to this temperature will help you have a juicy burger.
4 elk patties on a grill.

The Best Burger Toppings

Top your burger with your favorite hamburger toppings. While some elk burger afficianados say that ketchup and mustard don’t belong, it really is about designing a burger that you think is delicious.

My personal preference is to top the elk burger with caramelized onions and garlic aioli! It is also delicious with bacon and an over-easy egg.

What Should I Serve With Elk Burgers?

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I keep my elk burgers from falling apart?

The secret to keeping your elk burger from falling apart is to press it tightly into a patty, and then make an indention in the middle with your thumb. This will allow the burger to expand without falling apart.

Some add bread crumbs and eggs to their burgers, but this is not necessary. If the patty is formed properly and has a little fat added in, then it will stay together without the addition of binding agents.

Is elk meat dry?

Elk meat that is cooked to medium doneness (140-145 degrees) is juicy and delicious! Cooking to higher temperatures will make the meat dry.

Elk burger on a wooden board with caramlized onions and melted cheese. On the board is a bed of lettuce and 3 sliced tomatoes.
elk burger with cheese and caramelized onions.

Elk Burgers

These easy to make juicy elk burgers are low in fat, high in protein, and delicious in flavor!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 372 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • 1 pound ground elk meat
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • Your favorite hamburger toppings

Instructions
 

  • In a medium-sized bowl, sprinkle seasonings over the elk meat. Use a spoon or your hands to mix the seasonings into the meat until evenly distributed.
  • Divide the meat into four balls. Form each ball into a patty that is 3/4-inch thick.
    Press your thumb into the center of each patty to make an indention in the middle. This will help the patty hold its shape.
    Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Place a grill pan or skillet on the stove over medium heat. Add butter and olive oil to the pan.
    (If cooking on an outdoor grill, oil the grates and turn onto medium heat.)
  • Once the butter has melted, add the elk burger patties to the pan.
    Cook for 4 minutes, then flip the patties over.
    Cook an additional 2 minutes, then add cheese, if using.
    Cook for 2 more minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 140-145 degrees.
  • Remove patties. Add to a hamburger bun, along with desired toppings.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Elk Burgers
Amount per Serving
Calories
 
372
Calories from Fat 162
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
18
g
28
%
Saturated Fat
 
7
g
44
%
Cholesterol
 
82
mg
27
%
Sodium
 
766
mg
33
%
Potassium
 
420
mg
12
%
Carbohydrates
 
22
g
7
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
3
g
3
%
Protein
 
29
g
58
%
Vitamin A
 
107
IU
2
%
Vitamin C
 
1
mg
1
%
Calcium
 
88
mg
9
%
Iron
 
5
mg
28
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Keyword 15 minute meal, burger, game meat, hamburger
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