Run, Run Rudolph!

Andy Mueller

andy mueller | in the kitchen with chef andy | dec. 2017

December is game time. Whether you're watching it, playing in it or screaming at it on the sidelines, it's all about the game. Even the beast you might have just bagged in the woods, be it big, small or none at all, you are going to be around some type of game.

My goal is to make sure you are ready for the game that is most likely in process as we speak. More specifically, it is probably being processed right now and you are anxiously awaiting the sausage, jerky or ground goodness that's on the way.

The venison is lined up at the butcher and as soon as it finds its place in line or loin, as the case may be, you can enjoy the many treats your hunt has rewarded you with.

Venison can be a polarizing type of food much like salmon, anything with curry in it or sushi. People either love it and can eat it every day with vigor, or want nothing to do with it and pass on it in any shape or form. If the latter is the case, you probably didn't have it prepared properly, or "you" didn't like what "it" liked. To be a little more clear, venison is the true definition of the old saying "you are what you eat". It tastes like what it liked to taste.

Bag the buck in the north woods? It most likely dined on things like pine needles and bark and that essence of pine gets infused into the meat. The same goes for the earthy undertones of grass and the subtle yet sweet flavors of corn if that is the territory it lived and dined in respectively. Keep this in mind when combining flavors during cooking and experiment with your favorite combinations.

Because deer are active animals, it's a leaner type of protein. It can be a bit tougher and loves to take on a marinade to help it relax. With a "stronger than beef" flavor, venison stands up to stronger flavors. Rosemary, juniper and garlic come to mind as a perfect aromatic approach to flavoring, as long as you take care to accent the meat, not overpower it. Try this approach to your next venison burger, but leave the one with the red nose alone; he has a job to do this month. Merry Christmas, everyone and Happy New Year!

Stuffed Blitzen Burgers

For the stuffing:

In a small mixing bowl combine:

6 tablespoons softened cream cheese

1 tablespoon diced fresh chives

2 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

Mix to combine. Set aside

In a mixing bowl combine:

3 pounds ground venison

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons soy sauce

3 tablespoons Chopped fresh Italian flat leaf parsley

Mix to combine but do not over mix. Divide mix into 12 equal balls. Flatten each ball into thin patties. On top of the center of six of the patties, place 1 tablespoon of the cheese mixture. Leave 1/4 inch around the patty. Top each patty with the other six patties. Press edges to seal tight. Season each patty with salt and pepper. Cook patties over medium heat in large sauté pan or grill until cooked through (approx. five minutes on each side). Serve on toasted Kaiser roll with fresh arugula, sliced tomatoes (or try grilled pineapple ring), sliced red onion and topped with the pineapple teriyaki sauce (recipe follows).

Pineapple Teriyaki Sauce

In a sauté pan over medium high heat add:

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/8 cup olive oil

1/4 cup pineapple juice

1/4 cup ketchup

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Bring to a simmer, reduce by half, let cool then spoon over the burger for service.

Chef Andy Mueller is a well-seasoned Chef with over 30 years in the restaurant business. He's been on Food Network with Guy Fieri, was Reggie White's personal chef during their Super Bowl run in 1996 and has been Executive Chef at Zimani's in the late '80s, the original Executive Chef at Black & Tan Grille the first four years of operation and owned restaurants in Door County including Glidden Lodge restaurant north of Sturgeon Bay and Hillside Restaurant in Ellison Bay. He currently owns the massively popular supper club "Galley 57" in Allouez at 2222 Riverside Dr.

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