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15 Meats You Should Be Adding To Your Burger Mix

By Emily Kammerlohr|April 4, 2023 6:23 pm EST

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The United States has a long-standing love of hamburgers. Burgers are an iconic symbol of the country's food culture. We eat them at quintessentially American moments, like backyard barbecues or July Fourth celebrations. But burgers are still a favorite family dinner option — even when there isn't a holiday to celebrate — as they are quick and easy to make. You can even eat them on the go. Burgers also tend to be cheap, whether you order them from a restaurant, or make them yourself.

No matter how classic the hamburger is, you might find yourself getting a little bit bored with it. Whether you are looking to reduce your beef consumption due to taste or environmental concerns, there are plenty of delicious options to try. You might be able to find a few of these at your local grocery store. But more unique burger meats — like alligator, kangaroo, or bison — might require some more searching. Get ready to dig in for the bite of your life. Here are 15 meats you should be adding to your burger mix. 


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Chicken is one type of meat you should consider adding to your burger mix. This meat is already so popular as a beef substitute that there are many chains dedicated to serving only chicken — we're looking at you, Chick-fil-A. Whether you're a fan of spicy, grilled, or fried chicken, these restaurants likely have what you want. These same chicken dishes can also be made at home. 

When using chicken meat to make burgers, there are a few cuts to look for. You can buy ground chicken at most grocery stores. You can also make a chicken burger from any boneless chicken cutlet. 

This meat could be a good option for those interested in eating for good health. According to WebMD, chicken is a good source of protein and other nutrients. It is particularly high in zinc, iron, and copper. Eating foods that contain these vitamins and minerals is associated with certain health benefits.  


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If you're feeling bored of beef burgers for dinner, reach for some pork. You can use ground pork meat to form burger patties. You could also buy some thinner pork chops, cook them, then place one between your burger buns. 

The taste of pork can vary, depending on the cut of meat and its preparation method. Pork usually has a slightly sweet, yet mostly savory flavor. When cooked, pork can develop a crispy crust on the outside, while remaining tender and juicy on the inside. This is excellent when used for burgers. It's even better when paired with your favorite toppings.

Consider adding spices like garlic, paprika, or cumin to your pork burger. These seasonings provide smokiness and heat. Then, toppings like bacon, cheese, or caramelized onions can really step up your meal. These ingredients add depth of flavor. They also help to mimic the taste of a more familiar beef burger.


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Veal is technically a type of beef. But this meat has such a distinct flavor that it's worth considering as a beef alternative for your burgers. Veal meat comes exclusively from young cattle. These cows could be between 16 weeks and eight months old when they are killed to make veal. By comparison, cattle raised for beef are typically slaughtered when they are between two and three years of age. 

The texture, color, and flavor of veal are distinct from typical beef. Veal meat is usually pale pink. It can also contain less fat than beef. Veal is known for being especially tender. Fans of the meat will tell you this softer texture makes for a superior eating experience.

There are several different veal cuts you could use in your burger. But we recommend using ground veal meat to form your patties. If you have a meat grinder at home, you can mince your own meat. We consider this type of meat a great protein alternative for burgers. However, because of the age of the calves when they go to slaughter, not everyone likes to eat veal. Consider consulting your guests before serving them a veal burger. 


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While kangaroo might not seem like an obvious choice for burger night, it's a great red meat alternative. According to K-ROO, kangaroo meat is packed with protein. It also contains beneficial nutrients like iron and zinc. 

Kangaroo meat may be a more sustainable choice than beef. These animals are native to Australia, where they are not raised in inhumane factory farms. The Australian government has even encouraged its citizens to increase their kangaroo meat intake in the past when there have been spikes in population numbers. When this happens, the excess number of kangaroos can threaten local ecosystems.

This meat has a slightly gamey, tangy taste. It is significantly less fatty than beef or pork. This makes kangaroo meat ideal for those keeping an eye on their cholesterol levels. In Australia, kangaroo meat is easy to find at the supermarket. In other countries, you'll need to find a specialty butcher or buy the meat online.



While you might typically associate duck with fine dining, this type of meat can also be used for burgers. Duck meat has a rich and unique flavor that is different from other types of poultry. Its versatility is shown through its appearance in many different cuisines, from French food to Chinese food.

This meat is tender, juicy, and slightly gamey. Its savory qualities allow it to pair well with pretty much every sauce you have in your pantry. You can serve it with fries, coleslaw, noodles, or rice. 

According to VerywellFit, duck meat is a good source of protein, iron, and vitamin B12. It is also higher in fat than other poultry, which can give it a richer flavor and texture (via Maple Leaf Farms). When making burgers from duck meat, consider using duck cutlets for a more solid bite. You could also use ground duck meat if you prefer the traditional burger patty texture.


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Eating rabbits may seem controversial since many people keep the animal as a pet. However, there are some reasons to consider using rabbit meat for your burgers. This protein is packed with nutrients. Rabbit meat is lean yet tender. It even has a delicate, slightly sweet flavor. It's approachable enough to consider trying, as many compare the meat to chicken.

Rabbit meat is lower in fat and calories than many other types of meat, according to Wholey. If you are watching your red meat intake, try purchasing some rabbit meat to use during your next burger night. While some grocery stores carry rabbit meat, you may have more luck finding it at your local butcher. If a butcher near you doesn't sell rabbit meat, you could always order it online. The saddle is often considered one of the most tender cuts of rabbit meat. You'll probably want to mince this up to make rabbit burger patties. 


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Lamb critics might say the meat is too gamey for burgers. But lamb meat fans will tell you otherwise. It's slightly sweet, yet fatty, making for an excellent flavor. This meat is not even as underrated as it may seem. Even though lamb isn't that popular in American cuisine, lamb is a staple ingredient in many cultures around the world. This includes Mediterranean cuisine, Middle Eastern cuisine, and Indian cuisine. You can dress up your lamb burger with mint jelly, tzatziki, ketchup, or mustard. 

If you are trying to eat more sustainably, lamb meat could be a good option. Lambs are young sheep. Sheep produce significantly less greenhouse gas emissions than cows, according to a scientific study. This is because a sheep's digestive systems work differently from a cow's, resulting in less methane production. This environmental factor might help to encourage you to consider using lamb for your next burger night. 


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Venison — which usually refers to deer meat — is a great burger option. This beef alternative is especially useful if you are keen on catching your own meat. It has a unique flavor that venison fans can't get enough of. This type of meat tastes rich, gamey, and earthy. Overall, it's very bold and savory. 

If you've tried venison in the past and disliked it, the meat might have been prepared incorrectly. If venison is cooked wrong — or if the animal was butchered badly — the meat can be too bitter or chewy. It's worth it to give venison another try, just in case. If you are still hesitant, some people like mixing minced venison with other meats, like beef and pork. This combination is a good way to get used to eating venison.

We also like the fact that eating venison comes with nutritional benefits. According to the University of Illinois, venison is an excellent source of iron, zinc, and vitamin K. This nutritional option is attractive to those looking to maintain a balanced diet.


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Turkey isn't just for Thanksgiving. This lean white meat is a popular burger alternative. You can find it on the menu of several restaurants. But you can also make turkey burgers yourself.

If you are trying to up your protein intake, turkey is a great option. This meat is a good source of essential nutrients. According to Medical News Today, turkey contains vitamin B6 and niacin. It is also a good source of selenium, which is important for healthy thyroid function and immune system support, reports Healthline.

Turkey has a milder flavor than beef. It tastes somewhat sweet and tangy. We recommend pairing your turkey meat burger with foods like avocado, cranberry sauce, or even caramelized onions. Any of these go great with the flavor or turkey. You can usually buy ground turkey meat or pre-made turkey burgers at the grocery store. Either could be used for your next burger night. 

Wild boar


If you enjoy hunting, you might be thinking of more ways to incorporate the meat you collect into your daily diet. If you find yourself at the meat processing plant with a wild boar, know that the meat you have will make an excellent addition to burger night. Although both are technically types of pigs, the meat of wild boar tastes very different from pork raised on a farm.

Wild boar meat is leaner and darker than domestic pork. It has a distinctly rich, nutty, gamey, and slightly sweet flavor. That said, the taste of wild boar meat can vary depending on the animal's diet, age, and the way it was killed and processed. If you are familiar with eating other types of wild-caught game, you might find the taste is similar to venison or elk. Wild boar is often used in sausages, stews, and other hearty dishes. But it can also easily be shaped into burger patties that you can eat at home. 



If you find yourself in Louisiana, you'll notice that alligator starts popping up on the menus of many local restaurants. These businesses will tell you the meat tastes like chicken. For the most part, they are correct. Alligator meat is white meat that is mild in flavor. It tastes like chicken to some folks, but a little bit fishy to others.

Alligator meat is usually prepared as a part of Southern dishes like gumbo, jambalaya, and even fried alligator nuggets. Because it is a delicate meat, you'll find that most alligator burgers are fried. This way, the meat doesn't fall apart as you eat it. 

If you are cooking alligator burgers at home, consider deep frying the meat for the same satisfying crunch. You can dress up an alligator burger similar to the way you would a chicken burger. But given its Southern roots, we recommend using some cajun seasoning, as well. 



Pheasant is a pleasant meat to use for burgers. The bird tastes pretty similar to chicken or turkey, making it an easy option to reach for when you want to try something new. If you are worried about the meat tasting too gamey, it's helpful to know that younger pheasants are typically more tender and have a milder flavor. On the other hand, older birds may have a slightly stronger taste. It's the same idea behind veal being more tender than beef; the older the animal, the tougher the meat.

This lean white meat is typically served in stews, soups, or as a main course. It was historically considered to be exotic meat — available only to the wealthy and elite — but this is no longer the case. Hunters and food enthusiasts alike are adding roast pheasant to their burgers. This is a great way to explore an interesting new dish.


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Bison — a species related to the buffalo — is a type of animal sometimes killed for its meat. Bison meat has a slightly sweeter, richer, and more gamey flavor than beef. It's also somewhat leaner. Even those who typically don't like eating wild-caught game tend to enjoy bison. This is because it doesn't have a strong aftertaste, unlike deer or elk.

Native American tribes have been eating bison for thousands of years, well before cattle arrived in North America. Because the animals are native to the land, bison meat is also a more environmentally friendly and humane option than cows raised in feedlots. However, you should make sure to purchase bison that is grass-fed or pasture-raised to ensure that your meat is sustainable and humane.  

Bison meat is high in protein, iron, and other important nutrients (via WebMD). Many restaurants have a bison burger on their menu. But you can also enjoy a bison burger at home, as well. 


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If you enjoy eating lamb, you will probably enjoy eating goat. Goat meat is an exciting variation to add to your burger rotation. It's known for being chewy and tough. But this doesn't mean it can't make a great burger. Goat meat can be quite tender if cooked properly. 

Many people find that goat meat has a rich, earthy flavor. This is part of why it pairs well with strong spices and bold flavors. Goat meat is a staple in many Middle Eastern, South Asian, and Caribbean cuisines. 

If you want to add international flavor to your burger night, consider putting goat on the menu. Plus, goat meat is often considered a more sustainable choice than beef. This is because goats can be raised on land that is unsuitable for other types of livestock. They also require less water than cows. However, goats still produce a good amount of methane gas, meaning they aren't the greenest choice of meat for your next burger night. 


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As an animal from Australia, the emu isn't eaten widely in other parts of the world. But this type of meat is beloved down under. Even though the animal is a national symbol of the country — along with the kangaroo — it is still allowed to be eaten.

Emu meat is dark red. It has a mild, slightly sweet flavor that kind of tastes like lean beef. It's also tender and juicy, which makes for a great burger with lots of flavors. Since having a diverse diet is a common piece of health advice, unique emu meat is a great option to reach for when you want to try something new. 

It's also considered somewhat sustainable, compared to other types of meat. Emus have soft feet, which prevents more damage to the existing soil where they are raised. In addition to being used for burger meat, you may find emu served as part of a stew or roast. 

ARTICLE SOURCE: https://www.thedailymeal.com/1248782/meats-you-should-be-adding-to-your-burger-mix/

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The only thing on that list I haven’t eaten is kangaroo. I’d like to try it though but I want to hunt it myself.
Everything else on there I eat on a regular basis except for the emu. I used to eat a lot of it back when the emu market tanked I had a little business of going where I would go out to the farms and butcher their livestock for a fee and a percentage of the meat. Market was so bad that they couldn’t sell them and people were starting to turn them loose on the countryside.
The rest I either raise or hunt so my freezer stays stocked.

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I've had beef, chicken, pork, veal, duck, rabbit, lamb, venison, turkey, alligator, pheasant, and bison for sure.

I am not sure if I have had goat.

I have not had kangaroo, wild boar, or emu.

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I am not sure if I have had goat.
wild boar, or emu.

Goat is delicious, especially the way I cook it. Our favorite way is to slow smoke a quarter at a time on my pit smoker. So good. It’s also very good in stews, Birria tacos and barbacoa.
Wild boar or as we call them down here, Hogs, are excellent fare. I’ve heard some people say that wild pork is gamey but I think that’s all in their head. I’ve killed an eaten a lot of wild hog and have never had one that was gamey. Now old mature boars, they can be pretty rank but anything under 200 pounds is excellent. Tastes just like regular pork only better in my opinion. There is less fat on them and there isn’t enough belly fat to make bacon.
Too big to be tasty.

Just right for eating.

Emu is good but very lean. Steaks and roasts are very dry. The best way I found to make it better to eat was to grind it into hamburger or sausage with plenty of fat added.

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