Friday, September 6, 2013

Starting the summer with Elk Burgers

I am a Foodie.

I love everything about food.

I love to cook it; I love to write about it, read about it, photograph it, and of course eat it! Some might even say that I am a little bit obsessed. But, let me assure you, there is nothing little about this obsession.

One of my favourite things is to find great local ingredients, and learn how to cook with them. The difference between something grown in your own backyard versus trucked in is immeasurable. And as much as I love to cook, it is a wonderful treat to experience the cooking of others.

Everyone’s cooking is different, with their own techniques and influences; and experiencing that is a great way to learn and gain inspiration for your own cooking.

The world is full of wonderful food, and a lot of it is here in Thunder Bay.

We have great local chefs and cooks from all over Canada and the world, great restaurants, amazing local food producers, and of course fields, forests and lakes full of edibles.

I hope you will agree to join me on this incredibly edible adventure to explore the Local Flavour of Thunder Bay!


What’s on your plate in Thunder Bay elk burgers 
Summer is here at last, and if you are like me, you will agree that one of the best things about the season is barbeque.

There’s nothing like that sizzle as you throw your food on the grill. The smoky aromas alerting your neighbors that now might be an ideal time to stop over, “Just to say ‘Hi.’”

Whether you are a carnivore or vegan, grilling is a part of summer.

While I love steak, veggies, ribs, brisket and so on, there is really nothing like a great burger. Lucky for us, we have access to a lot of local meat producers.

I am sure many of you have seen the Rainy River Elk Company at the Thunder Bay Country Market and a lot of you have tried it as well. But elk is one of those things that some people might think is so similar to beef, that ‘what is the point?’

Or maybe some people are apprehensive because elk is not an everyday food for most. Well have no fear, for not only is cooking elk easy, but it is delicious. And isn’t that the whole point?

Elk is a very lean meat, so it can tend to be a bit dry, but by mixing it with a bit of ground pork, you can have the delicious and distinctive flavor of elk, along with the juiciness from the pork and pancetta.

This is my recipe for elk burgers.

Elk Burgers
(6 servings) 

·   1 pound of ground elk.
·   1 pound of ground pork
·   1/4 of an Onion, diced
·   1/4 cup of chopped pancetta (or bacon)
·   Pepper
·   A dash of soy sauce
·   1/4 cup Bread crumbs, or 1 slice of day old bread
·   Butter

In a skillet melt a tablespoon of butter and add your onions, cook until they are golden and then add the pancetta. Continue to fry until the pancetta is cooked through and browned.

Put the bacon and the onions into the food processor along with the day old bread/bread crumbs, and puree for a few seconds. This step is not absolutely necessary (I only started to do it to hide the onions from my kids, who love these burgers by the way).

If you are without a food processor just give it all a good chop.

Mix the onion and pancetta with the ground meat, add a dash of soy sauce and add some pepper (and if I’m feeling sassy, I might even add a tiny bit of maple syrup)

Mix everything together with your hands and form into 6 patties.

And now the fun part: Go outside and start the barbeque.

While it is warming up, you could always help yourself to a cold know, I’m just sayin’.

When the grill is nice and hot, put the burgers on and enjoy the sizzle!

And be sure you don’t forget the cheese!

(Originally published 6/22/2011 on 

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