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Recipe: Maui Nui Loco Moco by Tony Caggiano


Serves 3-4

Difficulty: Intermediate

As soon as my Maui Nui shipment arrived I knew I needed to do something special with it, something that honored the roots and origin of this incredible meat.

While I realize that Axis Deer are not native to Hawaii, I believe they have become an integral part of the island culture with so many of my native Hawaiian friends hunting them and the meat comprising such a large part of their every day diet. These friends are raising their families and children on this wild, delicious meat, and for that reason I wanted to find a special recipe as a way to share in that history and culinary culture.

A friend introduced me to Loco Moco some years back, and it is as simple as it is delicious!

The recipe has a number of steps to it, since it consists of several different items which combine to create an incredible meal. I also managed to get my hands on some Maui Onions, which are incredibly sweet and flavorful. If you cannot get them near you, any sweet onion will work well.

I also used Duck Eggs to finish off the plate, another delicious alternate as they are a bit richer than chicken eggs. If you can’t get your hands on them, chicken eggs will work just fine.

Give it a try and let me know your thoughts...

- Tony



For the rice:

  • 2 cups rice (I use Jasmine for this recipe)
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • Pinch of sea salt

For the burgers:

  • 1 pound ground Maui Nui Axis Venison
  • 1/4 cup Maui onion, diced (any sweet onion will substitute well)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • Fresh black pepper
  • Avocado oil (canola works as well)

For the gravy:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil 
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 Maui onion, sliced thin
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 cups game or beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • Canola oil

For the eggs:

  • 4 large eggs (duck eggs if available)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Chopped scallions for garnish
  • Sesame seeds for garnish



Make the rice:

  • Place water and pinch of salt into a medium saucepan, on high heat, and bring to a boil.
  • Add the rice, stir once and cover.
  • Reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and set aside.
Prepare the burgers:
  • Mix the venison, onions, soy sauce and black pepper to taste in a mixing bowl.
  • Form the meat into 4 patties, place on a plate and cover with plastic wrap.
  • Place patties in the refrigerator for at least an hour to set up nicely.
  • Place a cast-iron pan over high heat.
  • Add a drizzle of avocado oil and set the patties in the pan.
  • Cover pan with a lid (will help keep in moisture)
  • Cook burgers for 3-4 minutes, until browned.
  • Flip burgers and continue cooking to desired doneness (about 3 more minutes for medium-rare)
  • Remove the burger, place on a plate and cover to keep them warm.
Make the gravy:
  • Put the butter and sesame oil in a pan with the meat drippings.
  • Add mushrooms, onions and garlic, sauté until golden brown.
  • Add the broth, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce, sprinkle paprika in slowly while stirring.
  • Bring to a boil and then allow to reduce for 3-4 minutes.
  • In a separate bowl, mix cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water to make slurry.
  • Slowly add slurry into the gravy, stirring constantly until thickened.
  • Season black pepper.
  • Cover and keep warm until ready for use.
Cook the eggs:
  • Add butter to a nonstick pan on medium heat.
  • Crack in the eggs and cook sunny-side up.
  • Remove eggs from pan
And serve:
  • Place a scoop of the cooked rice on a plate.
  • Put a burger on top of the rice.
  • Top with the mushroom & onion gravy
  • Put an egg on top.
  • Garnish with sesame seeds and scallions. 



Tony Caggiano

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