These thick and juicy elk burgers are so hearty and savory! They are a fun twist on a classic hamburger. These burgers made with ground elk are easy to make, perfectly seasoned, and incredibly tender.

Elk burgers with bread, lettuce and tomatoes

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • These elk burgers are easy, healthy and delicious!
  • Whether you are a hunter or not, these burgers are so flavorful.
  • Ground elk is a lean cut of meat.
  • A little grated butter makes these burgers so juicy.
  • This recipe is Whole30, Keto and Paleo (without the bread bun), gluten free, and sugar free.
  • Check out these Keto Turkey Burgers for another great recipe!

Ingredients & Substitutions

Grated cold butter is used to keep these burgers extra tender. A little goes a long way! For a dairy free option, use Vegan butter.

Ground elk meat is available online, on Amazon, and in some Whole Foods stores. If you do not have access to ground elk, this recipe also works well with ground beef, ground turkey, and ground pork. I have not tried this yet, but I imagine ground venison would work well too.

A pinch of salt is the only seasoning needed. Feel free to add a sprinkle of ground pepper if desired.

Serve burgers with burger buns, gluten free buns, lettuce wraps, or desired toppings.

Taste & Texture

Ground elk has a similar taste to ground beef. In fact, it is slightly sweeter. High quality ground elk does not taste gamey. These burgers also have a hint of butter. The toppings used will also add a lot of flavor.

These elk burgers are juicy and tender!

Elk burgers with buns

How to Make Juicy Elk Burgers

There are several ways to make juicy burgers.

The grated cold butter yields a juicy burger. Adding the fat (butter) increases the fat content of the otherwise lean ground elk. While cooking, the butter melts and creates a tender burger.

While mixing and forming burgers, do not overmix them. Handle gently and do not overwork the meat.

Resist the urge to press down on patties with spatula while grilling or cooking. This squeezes out the natural juices.

Cooking Temperature

Ground elk should be cooked to around 140 degrees Fahrenheit. This is medium.

Anything under 140 degrees Fahrenheit is consider rare to medium rare.

Anything over 150 degrees Fahrenheit will be slightly more dry. This is medium well.

For most accurate results, use a meat thermometer.

Recipe Steps

Step 1

First, grate cold butter with the large holes of a grater. Grate into a mixing bowl.

Grated butter in bowl

Step 2

Then, add ground elk to the bowl. Use hands to mix ground meat and butter together.

Ground meat in bowl

Step 3

Form burgers into 2 equal sized burgers with 1 inch thickness.

Step 4

Season burgers on both sides with salt.

Step 5

Next, heat skillet or grill to low medium heat. Place burgers in skillet.


Burgers in skillet

Step 6

Cook for 4 minutes. Then carefully flip and cook another 4 minutes.

Juicy healthy burgers in skillet

Step 7

Remove burgers from pan. Finally, serve with burger buns and choice of toppings.

Expert Tips & Tricks

As with any meat, fresh high quality meat tastes the best.

Use cold butter for grating.

Use hands to work butter into ground elk. Do not overwork the meat.

Do not use spatula to press down on burgers while they are cooking.

Use a meat thermometer to test doneness.

How to Serve & Store

Serve burgers with desired toppings and buns. For Whole30, Keto and Paleo, serve with a lettuce wrap. Or, serve in a bowl with toppings like in these Whole30 Burger Bowls.

Top with tomatoes, onions, lettuce, ketchup, mustard, BBQ sauce or anything else.

Store elk burgers in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Juicy elk burgers on plate

Buying Elk Meat

Elk meat is not easy to find in grocery stores. I have seen it in select Whole Foods, but never at my local grocery store.

There are many online retails that source elk meat. Look for meat that looks similar to ground beef. It should have a bright red hue and not brown.

For this recipe, I used North Star Bison and had a great experience.

How to Keep Burgers from Falling Apart

Form firm, round burgers. This helps to keep the burgers together while cooking.

Mix the grated butter evenly into the burgers. Make sure there are no huge chunks of butter in one spot.

Flip burgers only once if possible. After cooking the first side, carefully flip. Then cook until burgers are done. This helps the burgers remain intact.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is elk meat good for burgers?

Yes, elk meat is great for burgers. It is similar to ground beef, but even leaner.

What do elk burgers taste like?

Elk burgers have a slightly sweeter taste than ground beef. Otherwise, they are very similar.

Is it gamey?

High quality elk meat is not gamey.

Where can I buy elk meat?

There are many retailers online who sell elk meat. I have also found it at Whole Foods.

Can I make this with ground beef or ground turkey?

Yes! This recipe is great with ground beef and ground turkey. For ground beef, choose a lean cut of meat since you are also adding butter to the beef.

Juicy burgers with ground elk

You May Also Like

If you make this elk burger recipe, I would really appreciate a review! You can find me on InstagramFacebook, and Pinterest. I would love for you to follow along!  For more ideas, check out these Lunch and Dinner Recipes.

Elk burgers with bread, lettuce and tomatoes

Get the Recipe: Juicy Elk Burgers

These juicy elk burgers are so hearty, savory and flavorful! Grated butter is added into the ground elk which produces such a juicy and tender burger. These homemade burgers are easy, healthy and delicious!
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Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp cold butter
  • 1 pound ground elk
  • pinch salt
  • 2 burger buns

Instructions 

  • First, grate cold butter with the large holes of a grater. Grate into a mixing bowl.
  • Add ground elk to the bowl. Use hands to mix ground meat and butter together.
  • Form burgers into 2 equal sized burgers with 1 inch thickness.
  • Season burgers on both sides with salt.
  • Heat skillet or grill to low medium heat. Place burgers in skillet.
  • Cook for 4 minutes. Then carefully flip and cook another 4 minutes.
  • Remove burgers from pan. Serve with burger buns and choice of toppings.

Notes

  • Use cold butter straight from the fridge.  
  • Grate butter with the large holes on a box grater.
  • Use meat thermometer to measure internal temperature of burgers.  Elk should be cooked to at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Store leftover burgers in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • Nutrition facts do not include burger buns or toppings.
Calories: 490kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 49g, Fat: 31g, Saturated Fat: 15g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 9g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 180mg, Sodium: 279mg, Potassium: 734mg, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 350IU, Calcium: 31mg, Iron: 6mg

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