Bison Burger

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

  • 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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  • Lara

    Fantastic recipe! I skipped the sauce though. Chose sliced avocado, onions sautéed with vinegar and baked sweet potato fries with them instead, and the flavors were lovely. Adding sage to the burger was a stroke of genius. Thanks!


  • Rebekah

    mmmmmm :)

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

  • 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!

  • Gina

    I love to eat buffalo meat since they are much more healthy and less greasy than cow meat. What best about buffalo meat is that my stomach hurt less by eating buffalo meat than cow meat. I agree that buffalo meat is pretty expensive.

  • David

    My dad and I have a friend who farms bison,and he gave us some bison burger and it was amazing.We also tried some of his brats and jerky and those were amazing.The way we cooked the bison burgers was that we just salt and peppered them and grilled the, and if you don’t have buns their really good by themselves.

  • Alecia

    I like to mix in diced shallot and Worsheshire sauce when I make buffalo patties. To keep them moist on the grill, my husband mists the meat using a small water bottle. So, no added fat if you’re trying to keep your recipes lean.

  • Keith

    Mixing small slices of cold butter into the ground bison goes a long way towards keeping the meat tender and juicy when you grill it.
    Even with the butter it’s still relatively lean and healthy.

  • Pamela

    Love how this recipe sounds! We just ordered 1/4 beefalo ready this fall, and I can’t wait to try it. For those who are looking, is a great site to find your local, grassfed (~healthy~) meats and dairy.

  • awineguy

    We almost always use bison for our burgers, I say it tastes the way beef should taste, as it is readily available where we live in Vancouver, British Columbia .

    I always add dried mustard powder to my burger mix and about a teaspoon of bacon fat to add smokey flavor and keep the very lean bison burgers from being dry.

  • Greg

    I just cooked some bison burgers a week ago, and I was worried about the meat being too lean, so I threw some baby bella mushrooms in the food processor, pulsed a few times till I got a fine dice, and folded that into the meat. They were the best burgers we’ve ever had!

    I’m trying the mushroom technique on some ultralean ground turkey tonight to see how that works!

  • Steph

    We love buffalo out here in the wild west! My parents used to sell it at our local farmer’s market. And their buffalo were, of course, always out on pasture. Buffalo are NOT like cows! Those animals can be MEAN, especially when there are young ones around! One of our local ranches has actually had several white buffalo, too! Pretty awesome, huh!

    My grandfather used to prepare buffalo steaks out on the grill using a mixture of taco seasoning, water and oil as a marinade. They always turned out excellent. Can’t wait to see YOUR try at a nice buffalo steak!

    (Yeah, I know they’re bison, but the cowboys call ’em buffalo… and who argues with a cowboy?! lol)

  • Jessica

    We’ve been buying only grass fed bison for years (I don’t usually eat beef, and in Alberta, we can buy bison locally quite easily). My grandfather hunts though, and my personal favorite burger of all time is made up of an equal blend of bison, moose, and deer.

    In my family, we call it the Trifecta burger. Delicious!

  • sweet creations by stephanie

    I just had Bison for the first time last night. I was at my cousin’s for a bbq. I said “this is the best Tri Tip I’ve ever had!”. He replied with “It’s buffalo tri tip that’s why.” I could not believe it. So tender & tasty. I will stop at Whole Foods and see if I can get some for the burger recipe.

  • Miranda

    I love buffalo burgers. I am glad to see you kept it super simple in this recipe. We use nothing on them but a little salt and pepper because the meat itself is that good. If you love beef you are doing yourself a disservice if you don’t try buffalo. I think they are some of the best burgers I have ever had. We like it with just a little mayo (to get that burger sauce going with the juice from it and keep bun from sogginess) and a slice of Havarti all on ciabatta. Simple and probably one of the best things to go in my mouth, not to mention how absolutely better for you buffalo is over beef (very lean). They also go great on those sandwich thins, then you have very little bread taking away from your wonderful burger.

  • Karen

    We LOVE bison burgers !! Our local WalMart carries ground bison and bison steaks; lean and so flavorful!

  • cdrush

    I love Bison. It makes awesome chilli as well as burgers.

  • Hope Rider

    We cook almost exclusively with bison now. One reason is that, by law, bison cannot be fed antibiotics; also, they are far more likely to be completely grass-fed. We get ours through our farmer’s market. It is lower fat, so you do need to be careful about over cooking it.

  • My Kitchen in the Rockies

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

  • 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!

  • 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!