Maui Nui Loco Moco

From Tony Caggiano of and

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 everyday diet. These friends are raising their families and children on this wild, introduced 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. It is as simple as it is delicious! The recipe has a number of steps to it, since it is comprised 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. If you can get your hands on them, they are a bit richer than chicken eggs…but the later will certainly serve you well if not. 

Give it a try and let me know your thoughts.



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


  • 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) 


  • 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 


  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • Chopped Scallions for garnish
  • Sesame Seeds for garnish 


For the rice 

  1. Place water and pinch of salt into a medium saucepan, on high heat, and bring to a boil.
  2. Add the rice, stir once and cover. 
  3. Reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. 
  4. Remove from the heat and set aside. 

For the burgers 

  1. Mix the venison, onions, soy sauce, and black pepper to taste in a mixing bowl.
  2. Form the meat into 4 patties and set place on plate, wrap plate with plastic wrap. 
  3. Place patties in refrigerator for at least an hour to set up nicely. 
  4. Place a cast-iron pan over high heat. 
  5. Add a drizzle of avocado oil and set the patties in the pan. 
  6. Cover pan with a lid (will help keep in moisture) 
  7. Cook burgers for 3-4 minutes, until browned. 
  8. Flip burgers and continue cooking to desired doneness (about 3 more minutes for medium-rare) 
  9. Remove the burger, place on a plate and cover to keep them warm. 

For the gravy 

  1. Put the butter and sesame oil in pan with the meat drippings. 
  2. Add mushrooms, onions and garlic, sauté until golden brown. 
  3. Add the broth, soy sauce, and Worcestershire sauce, sprinkle paprika in slowly while stirring. 
  4. Bring to a boil and then allow to reduce for 3-4 minutes. 
  5. In a separate bowl, mix cornstarch, and 1 tablespoons water to make slurry. 
  6. Slowly add slurry into the gravy, stirring constantly until thickened. 
  7. Season black pepper. 
  8. Cover and keep warm until ready for use. 

For the eggs 

  1. Add butter to a nonstick pan on medium heat. 
  2. Crack in the eggs and cook sunny-side up. 
  3. Remove eggs from pan 


  1. Place a scoop of the cooked rice on a plate. 
  2. Put a burger on top of the rice. 
  3. Top with the mushroom and onion Gravy 
  4. Put an egg on top. 
  5. Garnish with Sesame Seeds and Scallions. 

BOOM!!!! ~ ENJOY Tony Caggiano