Elk burgers topped with crispy bacon smothered in bbq sauce and, oh yeah, infused with bacon! This recipe is seriously double the bacon, double the flavor, double the fun!
I love a good burger, and it doesn’t matter if its a typical beef burger or a venison burger, slap that patty of meat between a bun, include your favorite toppings, and you have everything you want in each bite.
So meet me in the kitchen for a heck of a good time as we create just a fantastic elk burger using simple ingredients.
This is undoubtedly one of the best elk burger recipes, arguably the best burger recipe overall. But I’ll let you be the judge.
How to make elk burgers
Now, before you get too antsy, set the ground elk meat aside because we are going to prepare the bacon first.
Step 1: Cook the bacon in a cast-iron skillet until crispy. Cut about half the bacon into little pieces about ¼” or so thick.
Step 2: In a mixing bowl, combine bread crumbs, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, onion powder, paprika, and a pinch of dried parsley with the ground elk. Add the bacon bits with the meat and mix everything together well.
A spatula would work ok for this, or roll up those sleeves and go all in, mixing with your hands.
Step 3: Next, separate the meat and shape into four equal-sized patties. Brush each burger patty with a bit of olive oil, then add them to a hot skillet. Once the burgers have a nice sear, flip them over and continue to cook to your liking.
Step 4: Finally, check the elk burger temperature with an instant thermometer for proper cooking temperature.
Serve on a toasted bun (I brush the top of the bun lightly with butter and toast in a skillet for about 20 seconds per side).
Top the elk burgers with several slices of bacon, cover in bbq sauce, and serve with your favorite fixings.
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Hey there, if you find yourself thinking, wait a minute, I don’t have a skillet. Ah, not to worry; check out my favorite cooking skillet, plus everything else needed to make this ground elk burger recipe a success.
Helpful cooking tools
Stovetop burger tips
Tip #1 The perfect burger will have a nice crispy sear to lock in the delightful juices and flavor.
Tip #2 A hot skillet is critical in achieving the perfect stovetop burger. Not only will the flavor be affected, but placing the elk burger patty on a cool skillet that is not preheated will produce a dry, crumbly burger.
Tip #3 Cook the bacon ahead of time! Everyone likes crispy bacon, and to achieve that, you have to cook it directly on the stove, or it will end up soft and chewy. Not cool.
Tip #4 I like a little pink in the middle of my stovetop burgers. The MN Department of health recommends ground elk be cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F. So keep an eye on the internal temperature.
Frequently asked questions
Do I need to add oil to the skillet for the burgers? There is no need to oil a properly seasoned skillet. However, do brush the patty with a little oil. This will eliminate any chances that the meat will stick and will give the burger a beautiful finish.
Why do I have to pre-cook the bacon? If you’re going to cook the burger through, the bacon does not necessarily need to be cooked ahead of time. However, I highly recommend cooking it before regardless, so it crisps up. Otherwise, you’ll end up with chewy bits of bacon in every bite.
Are elk burgers fatty? Elk burgers are much leaner than beef burgers, so if you are looking for higher protein and lower fat, this elk burger recipe is the way to go.
What is the best fat to add to elk burger? Beef fat is the most common, while pork fat is another good option.
How much fat should I add to my elk burger? 5-10% is usually enough fat though this is largely based on personal preference, and you can add as much as you’d like.
How do I keep my elk burger from falling apart? Again, this comes back to fat content. Adding a little bit of beef or pork fat will help hold the patty together. I will say, I have been making elk burgers for many years without adding fat and have not had any issues with them falling apart.
My favorite wild game recipes
Cooking wild game is almost always a healthier option than store-bought meat. I share a number of wild venison recipes, including how to cook backstraps and venison steaks, along with venison stew and roast recipes.
Elk meat, along with venison, is low in fat (approximately a fifth the fat of beef), low in cholesterol, and full of protein, along with several vitamins and minerals.
So if you are looking for a leaner, meaner option, give it a try!
Do you love bacon? Try this bacon-wrapped juicy lucy burger!
What does elk taste like
Elk meat has a flavor comparable to beef. However, the texture is leaner and has more of a rich taste to it.
It tends to be more tender than venison and, in my opinion, has almost no gamey taste. Overall it has a good flavor, regardless of how it’s served.
I hope you try this elk burger recipe, and if you do, let me know what you think in the comment section below! This is a great recipe that the whole family will enjoy!
And don’t forget to leave a review!
For more cast iron recipes, not necessarily wild game, check out some of these favorites below!
- Smothered round steak
- Pork belly burnt ends
- Venison medallions
- Fried pork liver
- Make-ahead fajitas (venison or beef)
BBQ Bacon Elk Burgers
- 1 lb of ground elk
- 1 package of hickory-smoked bacon
- 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon of bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- ½ teaspoon of ground pepper onion powder, and dried parsley
- ¼ teaspoon of paprika
- Olive oil
- Cook bacon until crispy.
- Chop up 4-5 slices into small pieces.
- Place the ground elk into a mixing bowl. Add the chopped bacon bits, seasonings, bread crumbs and Worcestershire sauce.
- Mix the ingredients gently, but don't over-combine.
- Separate the meat into four pieces and form them into patties about the size of your bun. (these won't shrink much, if at all)
- Lightly coat the burgers with olive oil before adding them to the hot skillet.
- Cook until a nice sear forms. (about 4-5 minutes on medium heat)
- Flip and continue to cook to your desired doneness.