HIGH COUNTRY ELK BURGERS
Living in the Rocky Mountains, or as the locals call it “The High Country”, elk and venison are always served at the dinner table.Its something we grew up with and never associated it as anything different. My father, who is an excellent cook, gave me his recipe for hamburgers, which were always elk burgers. Grilled over an open fire and no cheese is the way dad always enjoyed them. With a few alterations I’ve developed my own (but very similar) version of “High Country Elk Burgers”. Spicy herbs have made their way north from New Mexico over the years, so adding the spicy lime mayonnaise just kicks it up a notch for me. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. It’s a true representation of real life in the Rocky Mountains.
Spicy Lime Mayonnaise:
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cloves of garlic, pressed
2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
12 tablespoon of butter at room temperature
6 large onion hamburger buns, split
2 1/2 pounds of ground elk
1/2 pound of ground chuck
1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground peppercorns
1 tablespoon of liquid smoke
8 tablespoons frozen butter
Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for oiling grill rack
6 iceberg lettuce leaves, folded to fit the bun
6 tomato slices, 1/4″ thick
6 tablespoons of ketchup
To prepare the mayonnaise, combine the mayonnaise, lime juice, and pepper flakes in a small mixing bowl. Stir, cover with plastic wrap, and keep chilled until ready to serve.
To prepare bread, thoroughly combine the garlic, parsley and butter in a small mixing bowl. Spread the butter mixture evenly on each cut side of the buns. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside until ready to grill.
To prepare the patties, place the ground elk, ground chuck, onion, salt, pepper, and liquid smoke into a large mixing bowl. Grate the frozen butter over the meat mixture. Lightly toss everything together with a fork, trying not to overwork the meat. Divide the meat into 6 equal portions and form into patties 5 inches in diameter. Place the patties on a platter, cover with plastic wrap, and keep cool until ready to grill.
Preheat a gas grill, with a cover, to medium-high heat. When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with olive oil. Place the patties over the hottest part of the grill, cover and cook, turning once, for 4 minutes on each side for medium. During the last 5 minutes of grilling, place the buns, cut side down, on the outer edge of the grill rack. Cover and continue to grill until the buns are lightly toasted. Remove the burgers and buns from the grill.
To assemble, spread one tablespoon of mayonnaise on a bun bottom. Top with a lettuce leaf, burger, tomato slice, and 1 tablespoon of ketchup. Spread 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise on a bun top, place on the burger and serve. Repeat process with remaining burgers. Makes 6 burgers.