This isn't precisely smoked (although I have smoked some hamburgers that tasted quite fine), but I'd like to be able to successfully grind my own hamburger meat, venison, or otherwise.
I've had other meats do this to me (when I ground up some other beef for hamburgers), so I'm guessing it has to do with my grind, but I'm not sure what specifically. Putting it in this forum, because my most recent try was deer meat.
I decided to try a mix of 70/30 deer to bacon (ends and pieces, cheap). Ran it through the grinder once with the 1/4" plate. Then, did a mix to try and get the bacon and venison better mixed up. I probably could have used my wagon wheel (I think 3/8") plate for the first grind in retrospect. Then I ran it through my fine plate (5/32") a second and final time.
First thing we noticed was that it was super moist (perhaps the bacon?), so I didn't add my usual Worcestershire sauce. I can't remember if previous attempts with just beef was quite as moist. I made 1/4 lb patties, so I could keep them a bit thinner (versus usually 1/3 lb. beef). We added 1 egg per pound of meat, maybe that also contributed.
When it came to the grilling part, I have had this happen before, I go to cook it, and I treat it more or less like when I do 75" lean hamburger meat from the store. I typically put an indention in the burger in the middle, and I cook it on medium-high, so that in 3-4 minutes, a pool of juices starts forming in that indention. Then, I flip it once, and wait for the juices to start coming out (clear) on the other side. At that point, I put it in a closed container for them to rest.
Well, with these venison burgers, lots and lots of juice came out the top, but every time I'd go to flip it, the bottom was sticking to the grates. The first batch got overdone because I kept waiting for them to be flappable, but they never got there. In the end, on all of the ones I cooked, I ended up with an amount of meat staying stuck to the grill, that I later burned off for the next batch. While being careful, I could keep them together, but I had to melt some cheese on to get them to really stick together for folks to be able to actually eat them.
We also made some small slider-sized patties that turned out a bit better, but I cooked those last, and by that time, I had gotten the process a bit better (starting out with full heat, then dropping down after a bit of a sear). They still separated, but perhaps not quite as bad.
So, to make a long story short, what will cause the meat to not stick together like I experienced? I'd assume it was just venison, but since I've had it happen on my own ground meats before, I tend to doubt it.