Using cure in venison hamburger?

Discussion in 'Wild Game' started by oberst, Dec 28, 2015.

  1. oberst

    oberst Smoke Blower

    Mixing up a batch of venison hamburger, using 33% duck fat.  Normally I wouldn't think of using cure #1 in hamburger that's going to be cooked on the grill, but I recall that some folks use it when not necessary for safety reasons.  Such as for improving color or texture in the meat.  Any thoughts or experience on this one?

    And if I did use cure, I assume I would hold the meat overnight in the fridge to let the cure work?

    Thanks much!
  2. boykjo

    boykjo SAUSAGE MAKER Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Not a problem adding cure. 4 hrs or more and your good to go. The next day even better.
  3. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    There is no reason to add Cure #1 unless you plan to Cold/Cool Smoke (<180°F) those burgers. So if you hot smoke, >200°F, Grill, Broil, Pan Fry, Etc. there is no need to add cure and you will be perfectly safe. Adding cure, 1 level tsp per 5 pounds, is  ok if you wish but will give a flavor similar to Corned beef/Ham. Good, but you will lose some of the subtle flavors of the Venison and Duck Fat...JJ
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2015
  4. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Then again it might let the meat hold onto a little more of its moisture. Duck fat has a pretty low melting point and might all run out of the burger. Depending on how much you have, I'd suggest a couple small test batches. One with cure, one without. If both have a problem holding onto the fat you might consider a binder such as nonfat dry milk powder. Sounds crazy, but I've added it to lean ground beef and it really made a difference in the moisture of the final product.
  5. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    With all due respect...[​IMG]  The Cures Nitrite has nothing to do with moisture retention and the Salt in 1 tsp per 5lb will have next to no effect. Cured Ham, Sausage and such, are only juicy because of the low IT, 145-156°F, the product is cooked to and the moisture retention change in the meat protein from the high amount of salt added to the cure.

    I do agree that adding Rendered Duck Fat will do little and can melt out easily but Raw Duck Fat works like adding any other animal fat. In any event cooking the burgers to no more than an IT of 160°F should keep them somewhat juicy regardless of adding cure or not. Good call on the Dry Milk...JJ
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2015
  6. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Meant no disrespect either. Main point was that the OP try for himself so he can know for sure.
    My only experience with duck fat, other than on a duck, has been the rendered variety so that's what I was thinking of.
  7. oberst

    oberst Smoke Blower

    How it turned out:  I decided not to add the cure this time.  I did go with the milk powder in an effort to bind the fat.  You guys are right, duck fat has a very low melt point.  Don't need to add anything to the pan; fat in the burger is plenty to cook it.   After running a test, I upped my duck fat content from 33 to 40% to get more fatty taste.  Note that this duck fat comes off mallards smoked around 7 hours so it brings loads of flavor to the party.  My goal here was to make these venison burgers better than average.  Other part of the mix was salt, coarse pepper and red onions.  I freeze them in patty shape which makes it easy for folks to just pull out of the freeze and thaw.  Appreciate the advice you all gave me!!  Here is the smoked duck I cut the fat off of:

    Pieces for the grinder; soft duck fat needs to be frozen to grind and mix well.

    This photo isn't great, but shows the end result.  Always looking for a way to improve my wild game results!

    crazymoon likes this.
  8. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Have you tried sous vide to the burger patties....  then a torch sear to brown them ??    That should retain the fat in the meat along with the powdered milk...  or Panko for a binder...   I hate to see all that duck fat end up in the frying pan....

    They make this new torch especially designed for browning sous vide meats.....  The Bernz-o-matic TS8000 is a good start for a torch...
  9. oberst

    oberst Smoke Blower

    Boy I never considered that, but am going to try it.  Creative idea!
  10. crazymoon

    crazymoon Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    O, It sounds like smoked duck fat would make for a tasty venison burger ! Nice idea.

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