Bison Burger


American buffalo (bison) burger made with ground buffalo meat and seasoned with sage, topped with smoky barbecue sauce.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

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.

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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.

Bison Burger

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 Recipe

  • Yield: Makes 6-8 burgers


  • 2 pounds ground bison (buffalo)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


1 Cook the onions: Sauté the onions in the olive oil over medium-high heat until translucent. Turn off the heat and let it cool.

2 Mix onions, sage, salt, pepper into ground bison meat: 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: 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: 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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Home on the Range Wikipedia entry

Bison Basics from

Grilled Barbecue Bison Burger from Aggie's Kitchen

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


Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

24 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. chris

    Ok, in a bowl, 2 lbs buffalo burger, 1 finely chopped onion, salt and pepper, 3/4 cup bread crumbs or fine crushed soda crackers, 1 beaten egg, mix together but dont over mix, just till its all mixed, make 5 patties. In a cast iron on medium to med- high, add a little cooking oil, fry one side 5 mins or till its just crispy, flip once, fry 5 mins, add cheddar cheese, cook 2 more mins and let rest while you prepare your bun with condiments. Its delicious.

  2. Dana

    We needed something different from regular ol hamburgers; since my boys have bragged(ever so often) about the buffalo burgers they had in South Dakota, I tried making these on the grill tonight for them. Seasonings were spot on and my youngest said they tasted like summer(melt my heart cutie pie!) and was the best burger he’d ever had!(we didnt tell him it was bison ;) used pepperjack and white american cheeses with ketchup and/or creamy buffalo for those who like a little kick. BEST.BURGER.EVER!!!! Thanks for the recipe!!


    Show Replies (1)
  3. Clint

    The sage added some great flavor, I also mixed in a little soy sauce and used avocado oil!


  4. Rebekah

    mmmmmm :)

    I used dried sage (2 teaspoons) and added a dash both of Worcestershire sauce and of olive oil.

  5. Bob G

    We use to do Fairs w/food trailer. And sold bufflo burgers and tri-tip sandwich, the burgers I cooked in water on the grill w/lowerys-seasoning. People never had a taste like that! They asked how I cooked w/the taste like no body could tell!

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