Film: Ram Caul Fat Wrapped Venison Burger

Latest posts by Dan Renna

Ingredients:

  • Wild Game Burger Blend (this blend is 80% venison, 20% prime heritage pork fat: Leaf/Belly Fat)
  • Caul Fat (in this case, I used ram caul fat)
  • Burger Bun
  • Fresh blend of greens; kale, spinach, swiss chard and cherry tomatoes.
  • Homestead Burger Sauce (ketchup, full seed mustard, and horseradish)
  • Local IPA -for good measure

Recipe:

  1. Form your chilled burger blend into patties. Place your patties in the center of a section of caul fat and with a knife, trace out enough caul fat to cover your burger with minimal overlap. Remember when applying your caul fat, the technique is to gently stretch the lacy fat over the burger like plastic wrap. With caul fat, a little goes a long way, you do not want a giant knot or fold of caul fat that does not render down fully. 
  2. Once your burgers are wrapped, pre-heat your cast iron pan and allow your burgers to come up to room temperature before cooking, you will notice the caul fat lace set and embed into the patty. 
  3. When searing, begin with the side of the burger that has the caul seam. This will seal the edges preventing the caul fat from curling away or separating from the burger. As the fat renders and runs, it will self-baste and fry the burger. 
  4. Cook until internal desired temperature is reached for the game you are cooking. I prefer Cervid (deer, moose, elk, antelope) meat as rare as possible which is terrifying to most, but it is the way I like it. Predators and scavengers (bears, cougars, wild boar, and poultry) on the other hand must be cooked to at least 165’ to be safe.
  5. Once the burger is done, combine your favorite burger accoutrement and pile high on a bun of your choosing. 
  6. I use my personal favorite Homestead Burger Sauce (it’s a blend of ketchup, whole seed mustard and horseradish), and a mix of spinach, greens and cherry tomatoes. Pair with a strong, local IPA, high in hops and low in malt. Cheers! 

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A Note on Caul Fat 

Caul fat is a very temperamental resource from game. First, depending on the health of the animal and time of year, this elusive treat can be as thin as tissue paper or damn near nonexistent. 

Collecting this prized and beautiful cut is not an accident, unless you have perfect shot placement and clear intention from the moment your knife enters that animal you will fail. Caul fat serves as a protective layer to the internal organs of the abdomen and exists in all mammals, even in humans, which is known as omentum. Removing it cleanly and effectively requires preparation and steady hands. 

The reward is a beautiful lace membrane of fat that can act as an instant sausage case, combined with lean meat to add needed moisture during cooking. The main thing to remember about caul fat is that it is, first and foremost, fat. Depending on the species of game it will have the same characteristics of that species’ fat. Cervid fat is waxy and more tallow than anything else. Sheep and goat are more in-line with traditional fat. Bear and pig fat can be similar in physical characteristics but vary greatly in flavor depending on what their diet has consisted of. 

A favorite treat of mine with fresh kills is heart, liver, kidney, and lung wrapped in caul fat combined with fresh herbs and chilies. It is rare to have all the stars align to pull this treat off, but when they do, it is a true taste of the wild. 

Dan Renna

Dan lives his life with his wife on a small homestead in Western MA where he raises livestock, hunts, and farms to fill their pantries and freezer. He balances family, work, and life, but also maintains the connection to his food and its origins.

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