Bison Burger

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.

Bison Burger

Bison Burger Recipe

  • Yield: Makes 6-8 burgers
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Ingredients

  • 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

Method

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.

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Links:

Home on the Range Wikipedia entry

Bison Basics from bisonbasics.com

Grilled Barbecue Bison Burger from Aggie's Kitchen

Bison burgers with cheddar and onions from gas•tron•o•my

Empanadas de Bufalo - Bison Empanadas by From Argentina with Love

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Showing 4 of 21 Comments

  • Matt

    Sounds delicious…and just so happens I have a pound of buffalo sitting in the freezer I was looking for something to do with :) Think I like buffalo patties better then beef burgers to be honest.

  • Meagan

    Delicious! I love bison, it’s definitely one of my favorites. I made burgers like this the other day, and I discovered that BBQ sauce tastes GREAT in burgers. These would be great with some raw cheddar cheese!

  • Cheryl

    It’s really interesting that I just fixed bison burgers last weekend for the first time. I had previously had a sample 20 years ago, but wanted to try my hand at cooking it. You’re right, it is very good, and oh so lean. I wasn’t sure how to cook it (timing is not my forte`), but made 4 patties out of a pound of ground bison, brushed the patties with evoo, and salted and peppered them. Then just cooked over a high gas grill (would’ve preferred charcoal, but it was raining) and enjoyed. We fixed them just like beef, and they were a little chewy, but very flavorful. I can’t wait to try more. We got ours at WalMart of all places!

  • My Kitchen in the Rockies

    We love Bison Burgers. I prepare them a lot. The last ones I made with fresh Cilantro. Delicious.

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