Sing along! ♪ Oh give me a home, where the buffalo roam ♫ … and the deer and the antelope play; where seldom is heard a discouraging word, and the sky is not cloudy all day. ♫
Yes we do break into song occasionally around here. It’s good for you and it warms the soul. What better song to sing than Home on the Range when enjoying an all (North) American buffalo burger. And yes, this is more accurately called a bison burger. For the record we are talking about an American buffalo (bison), and not an Asian buffalo. There used to be just a few American buffalo still alive, but now they are no longer endangered, and enterprising ranchers are raising bison as a leaner alternative to beef.
Have you ever eaten bison? Imagine a really lean, deep red, grass-fed beefy beef. If you like the taste of a good steak or beef burger, you’ll love buffalo. Ground buffalo is not that expensive, and is readily available at good supermarkets. We got ours at Whole Foods. There are also several online purveyors who sell it.
You can cook buffalo much the way you would lean, grass-fed beef. For this burger, we decided to stick with the Western cowboy theme and season the burger with plenty of sage and smoky barbecue sauce.
Do you have a favorite way to prepare bison? Please let us know about it in the comments.
- 2 pounds ground bison (buffalo)
- 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh sage
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Sauté the onions in the olive oil over medium-high heat until translucent. Turn off the heat and let it cool.
2 When the onions are cool enough to touch, use your (clean) hands to gently mix them in with the bison burger meat, and add everything else. Do not overwork the meat, it will result in a tough burger. Just gently fold it until the onions, sage, salt and pepper are well mixed in.
3 Form patties with the meat, using about 1/4 to 1/3 of a pound of meat per patty. Here's a tip on making the patty: if you press a slight indentation in the center of each patty it will help keep the burgers in a nice disk shape when cooking. Otherwise the burger will start to get a little egg-shaped as the edges contract from cooking.
4 Grill or fry the burgers on medium heat, about 6-7 minutes per side, less or more depending on the thickness of the burger and the heat of the pan/grill, or until the internal temperature is 140°F for medium rare, or 160°F for well done. A note on internal temperature. If you are getting the ground meat from a source you trust (we got ours from Whole Foods) that does their own grinding on site, or you grind your own meat, you can safely cook the burgers rare or medium rare. Otherwise you'll want to cook the burgers until well done. Don’t press on your burgers while cooking, and keep the flipping to a minimum. Let the burgers rest about 5 minutes before serving.
Serve the burger with lettuce and tomato, topped with a smoky barbecue sauce.