It’s all over but the cooking at Camp See No Deer, now that another archery season is in the books.
The sun will set Wednesday on the final day of Arkansas’ archery deer season. There will be time for one last hunt, mostly ceremonial, at our little woodland paradise where a generous landowner gives us permission to bowhunt.
We’ll sit in a tree stand secured to a sturdy oak tree and bask in the evening glow. Squirrels will skitter hither and yon. Birds will sing. If a buck or doe comes to call, we’ll let it walk and whisper, “See you next season.”
The hunting is over, but the eating is in full swing. Venison is lean and delicious, with no preservatives. We make the most of it at Camp See No Deer, whipping up nearly every dish under the sun that uses ground meat.
Oh, we grill a few deer steaks, but they go fast. Ground venison is where it’s at for us. Meatloaf, chili, tacos or lasagna are all fit for royalty with venison in the recipe.
When Jimmy Buffett sings “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” his lyrics are surely praising Camp See No Deer Blue Cheeseburgers, our all-time favorite grill fare.
You can have yours with lettuce and tomato, Heinz 57 and French fried potatoes, like Jimmy does. Just don’t forget the blue cheese. Lots and lots of crumbled blue cheese.
To make them, place a pound of ground venison in a good-sized bowl. Sprinkle in a few shakes of your favorite hamburger seasoning, or salt and pepper, or no seasoning at all. At Camp See No Deer, we’re sold on Weber Gourmet Burger seasoning.
Next, add a handful or two of blue cheese crumbles. Mix it all together by hand until well blended, then make your patties.
We like lots of blue cheese. So much that it’s like we’re adding a little ground venison to the blue cheese, not the other way around. Grill like you’d fix regular hamburgers. That melted blue cheese will be oozing inside the meat. Toast the buns while you’re at it.
We’re not done yet. Cut up a couple of potatoes steak-fry style and grill them along with the blue cheeseburgers. Now you’ve got a real feast going.
Add a pickle to the plate when it’s all said and done and dig in. All that tangy blue cheese is inside the burger, not on top. A cold draft beer, like Jimmy’s song suggests, is highly recommended.
Hard to believe, but we’ve had a couple of dinner guests who don’t like blue cheese. Use any cheese you like. Bits of jalapeno pepper are good to add into the meat mixture, too.
An official Camp See No Deer Blue Cheeseburger uses ground venison, but any ground meat is a worthy substitute. Ground pork may not be on every chef’s radar screen, but it makes a fine burger.
The hunting may be over, but chowing down on a perfectly grilled venison cheeseburger is its own kind of paradise.
Flip Putthoff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @NWAFlip
Sports on 02/27/2018