ExperiencePlus! Blog

Half and Half – Mushroom and Beef or Elk Burger

Adapted from this New York Times recipe, I’ve always wanted to perfect the home made hamburger. Especially since I often had elk meat to use which is hard to work with as it is so lean.  You can make this with beef or elk or probably any combination of ground meat and mushroom mix.


  • 1 pound lean ground beef or ground elk meat, or combination of both.
  • 1/2 pound roasted mushroom base which can be made ahead like this:
    • 1.5 or 2 pounds sliced mushrooms – they reduce a lot after roasting.
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • toss with olive oil
    • roast at 425 for 20 – 25 minutes or until they are roasted. I sometimes turn them after 8 or 10 minutes.
    • put in food processor and grind the roasted mushroom up so they are the same consistency as the ground meat.
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup of chopped parsley or mint or cilantro (optional)
  • small red onion ground up in food processor
  • 1 egg (optional) – I don’t usually use an egg with Elk meat but with beef it might help bind it.
  • your favorite hamburger toppings (buns, tomatoes, red onion, bacon, cheese etc)


Prepare the mushroom base and then grind up the mushrooms so they are similar to the ground meat.

Chop/food process the onion (don’t put the onion in the food processor too long or it might get watery. If it does, strain some of the water/onion liquid off).

Combine onion, meat and mushrooms. I find that with the elk meat I have to put it all in the food processor together to mix well. This helps break up the very dense elk meat that is usually previously frozen and helps create a uniform mixture. This is a key step so that later the meat cooks evenly and the burgers don’t feel so dense and the mushrooms are well distributed.

Add the Worcestershire Sauce and parsley and mix with the meat and mushroom and onion base.  You can do this in the food processor or mixing in a bowl.

Form 6 – 8 patties and place on a lightly oiled plate.

On the grill: if cooking on the grill preheat a grill to medium high heat (450-500).  Place patties on the grill and cook until done, flipping half way through. Cook time always depends on how thick the patties are. If melting cheese add the cheese after you flip them. Remove from the grill, let sit for a couple of minutes, and serve.

In the oven: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment. Heat 1 or 2 large, heavy skillets over medium-high heat and add enough oil to lightly coat the bottom (about 1 tablespoon). When the pans are hot, add the patties and cook for 4 minutes on each side. Transfer to the parchment-lined sheet pan and place in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, let sit for a couple of minutes, and serve.