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Wild Boar Patty Melt

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Photos by Jody Horton

Burgers can be made with just about anything that runs or flies, and are a great way to introduce the game palette to the epicurialy timid, as well as nourishing a hunter tired of the same old grilled backstrap.

The patty melt, a favorite of my youth stemming from my love of rye bread, is a great way to use feral hog or even larger and more strongly flavored boars. It can also be tweaked with different meats and cheeses, though bicolor cheddars are visually appealing and traditional.

Do not, however, stray from using rye if at all possible.  And use the best one you can get, cutting it fairly thick to hold up to the substantial fillings of this sandwich. Though this recipe calls for the use of hot cast iron or a griddle for final preparation, a hot charcoal, wood, or gas grill produces excellent results.

Place the wild boar trim, bacon, and beef fat on a baking tray and freeze for 20 minutes. Grind through the medium die of a meat grinder into a chilled bowl and add the salt, Worcestershire, and black pepper. Mix well. Form four equal patties and refrigerate.

In a small saucepan over low heat, heat 1 tablespoon of butter, a pinch of salt, and the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are caramelized, soft, and sweet, about 30 minutes. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, mustard, and paprika and set aside.

In a medium sauté pan over high heat, add the remaining tablespoon of butter and the mushrooms. Cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are deeply browned. Once browned, season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Set two cast iron pans or a large griddle over high heat.

In one pan or on one side of the griddle, sear the burger patties very well until deeply browned on one side. Flip the burger patty over and immediately top with ¼ of the onion mixture, ¼ of the mushrooms, and a slice each of the yellow and white cheddars.

Brush eight slices of bread with bacon fat or melted butter and toast on both sides in the other cast iron pan or on the griddle.

To assemble, spread the mayonnaise mixture onto two slices of bread and land the patty, onions, mushrooms, and cheese on top. Top with the second dressed and toasted slice of bread and serve with dill pickles on the side.

ground pork patty

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