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There is something special about replacing domestic meat with wild game in one of your favorite meals. The work you put into processing that animal and then incorporating it into a meal you truly love, just elevates that meal even more. I find when I do this, I take extra care in the preparation of that meal, making sure I truly “nail” every step of the process so that it turns out perfect.
One of my favorite meals (honestly one of my simplest recipes), is a New York classic; the chopped cheese sandwich. Traditionally served on a sub roll, it’s simply burger, seasoning, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and ketchup. Wrapped in foil to allow the sandwich to become one cohesive bite as the steam from the hot meat softens the bun and shapes it to that classic wrapped sandwich shape. I make mine a little different than you would get in the city. I don’t always have the opportunity to use a flattop grill, so I have a few more techniques I can incorporate into this to make it stand out even more.
Firstly, this sandwich starts with your ground wild game. I purposely save hunks of game (venison, elk, moose, wild pig, goose, etc.) so I can thaw and grind when necessary depending on the dish. A New York chopped cheese is a notoriously greasy sandwich, but that is part of the experience here! So, when grinding my game, I make sure to make it a bit fattier, closer to a 70/30 ratio of lean to fat. I like to use beef fat, as that flavor reminds me of the original sandwich, but pork fat would work as well. I double grind my fat and meat together for good emulsification of the two as well.
I start by putting a hard sear on some chopped onions so that they are almost burning around the edges and creating some char. I find that flavor works better in this sandwich than slow sweating and caramelizing the onions. Next, I move my onions to the side of the pan and put my meat in firmly pressing it down into the pan to get good contact. I let this sear for several minutes to get that beautiful crispy crust and flavor. While that is searing, I douse the top in my favorite seasoning blend. This sandwich is very versatile, so feel free to add whatever flavor you want that day!
After several minutes, I’ll start chopping up the meat with a spatula and allowing it to sear and cook the moisture out. Once I’m close to the end of that, I start adding some broth (beef or wild game) and allowing it to reduce to enhance the flavor of that broth and to almost glaze the meat. After that has gotten to the point I like it, it’s time for the cheese. Now most people will top this with American cheese that they can get at the grocery store and call it good. I take it a step further. As with any cheese, you can find higher-quality versions if you look around a bit. In the Northeast, you can find a sharp white American cheese that melts beautifully but provides a saltiness that all good sharp cheese should have. I’ll slice some up, put it on top, and then pour some beer in and put the lid on to steam the cheese to melt it.
I get my rolls from a local pizza shop that makes their own bread and that truly helps this sandwich out if you can’t find good bread in your local market. Its often very cheap too and you get just enough instead of buying a whole pack at the store! I then slice it open, toast it, spread some homemade boom boom sauce on, add the meat, top with a little ketchup and wrap it up in foil! I skip the lettuce and tomato to really let the meat shine through here, but feel free to add it for yourself. Let it set in the foil for a couple of minutes to steam the bun, and then dig in!
Serves: 2 people
Time to make: 20 minutes
Also works with: Any ground game
Looking for more interesting ways to use ground wild game? Try these ground venison sushi rolls!
Try our Delicious Wild Fish and Game Spice Blends!