Saturday, December 20, 2008

moose bacon cheeseburgers

I was over talking to Matt at PlumTree piggery, and he gave me a couple of pounds of ground moose from his hunt earlier this year. Moose is a rare treat for me; it's pretty darned tasty. So dinner tonight was garlic mashed potatoes and moose cheeseburgers with tillamook cheddar and pastured bacon.

Moose, as with most game meats, is very lean. When Matt had his moose processed they added 10% beef fat to the burger so it would be tastier. I actually prefer adding pig fat, or a mix of beef and pig fat, but this was pretty tasty.

The moose meat came packed in a chub, and is a rich, dark red. It's a mild game meat, and quite tasty. As with any hunted meat, I cook it well-done to be on the safe side -- the handling of hunted meat varies quite a bit, and there's a bigger chance of some sort of contamination. Luckily the bacon keeps things from drying out.

I lay the bacon out on the pan and set the moose patties on it. The fat from the bacon adds some flavor to the edge but doesn't cover the moose flavor itself. If you're gonna eat moose you want to taste moose, not other things.

I fry on high until I get some color on this side, then reduce the heat to cook. Takes 4-5 minutes at medium-low heat. Don't press -- you want to keep the liquid in the burger. yes, it's satisfying to press a burger, nice hiss... but don't do it. Once done I flip the burgers but leave the bacon between the pan and the burger. This bacon is a little bit lean for this application. A fattier bacon would have worked better.

When it's all done I put a slice of cheese on and cover the pan to allow the cheese to melt onto the patty. Yum!

I used dinner rolls for a bun, toasting them on a cast-iron frypan after lighting coating them with olive oil. The crispy bun makes it extra tasty. Mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard and salad greens complete the burger.

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