Bison Burgers

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Instead of going with standard beef burgers this weekend, I grabbed a pack of Maverick Ranch bison meat at the grocery store. Always look for a reputable rancher because much of what you see called “bison” or “buffalo” is actually imported Water Buffalo. Yeah, I was surprised, too, especially since there are so many ranches in the West.

The bison population went from 30-60 million roaming in the 1500s to 325 in 1884, including only 24 in Yellowstone. Why? In order to settle the West, bison had to be taken away from Native Americans. The bison was everything to them, from the food they ate to the hides that kept them warm during the harsh winters.

Conservation efforts started around 1910 and their numbers increased to 1,000. Today, it ranges between 350-500,000. There are now 5,000 roaming in Yellowstone, a great increase from just 24.

In the U.S. some 1,775 private ranches and farms raise bison. The National Wildlife Federation is actively working to restore the populations of wild bison across the Great Plains.

The American Bison is a part of our nation’s history much like the Wild Mustang. It was named the national mammal of the United States in 2016 and ranks with the Bald Eagle as the official symbol of our country. It’s important to continue conservation efforts to keep much of the bison wild. Yellowstone National Park is the only place in the U.S. where bison have lived continuously since prehistoric times.

How To Cook Bison Meat

Bison meat is very lean, leaner than beef. It’s lower in cholesterol, too. In fact, bison meat outranks pork, chicken and turkey when it comes to healthy protein. Without that extra fat content, the meat can more easily overcook so watch your temperature and time. Bison cooks a little pinker on the outside so don’t mistake that for the meat being raw.

How Do I Make the Bison Meat Stick Together?

I’ve had bison meat come apart on the grill but you don’t really need any special binders. Just make sure you form a nice, solid 6-8 ounce ball after adding your seasonings. Be gentle when flattening into a patty.

Does It Taste Different Than Beef?

Bison has a little sweeter taste than beef. I wouldn’t say it’s gamey, not like venison (my opinion), but it’s not enough to really notice. It’s why bison can be used in most recipes that call for beef. Add in your favorite seasonings, salt, pepper, sauces…try whatever flavors you love.

Grilling

I used the Big Green Egg to grill my bison patties. You can use any grill you like. Once the patties are almost done, add your favorite cheese and toast up your buns! I like my food simple so I only used salt and pepper. Plus, I was sharing one with my dog, Zu. He likes things simple, too.

It was an “easy day”, though I think I had three “easy day” refills. So, technically, that would be a “don’t even ask”. I love this glass, given to me by my niece at Christmastime. It was a perfect day to be outside having an amazing meal!

Bison Burgers

A lean, juicy burger, great for any bar-b-que!
Servings 4 servings
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 7 mins
Total Time 17 mins

Equipment

  • Big Green Egg
  • Medium bowl
  • Grilling spatula
  • Small sauce pan

Ingredients

BASICS

  • 2 pounds bison ground
  • teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 slices sharp cheddar cheese
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 sesame seed buns
  • 4-6 leaves romaine lettuce
  • 4 slices tomato
  • 4 slices yellow onion

TRY RECIPE 2 (bison meat)

  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

TRY RECIPE 3 (bison meat)

  • 3 tablespoons red onion finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme

Instructions

  • Set the EGG for direct cooking (without the convEGGtor) at 600°F / 316°C. You may use a cast iron skillet to cook the patties on the grid or cook directly on the grid. If using a skillet, grease with butter before adding patties.
  • In a medium bowl, combine bison meat with salt and pepper. Form into 4 (8 ounce) patties about 1-inch thick. Melt the butter and brush inside each of the bun halves.
  • Place patties on the cooking grid, close the EGG lid and cook for 3 mintes per side. Being that bison is lean, 3 minutes will give you a medium patty. For medium-rare, try 2 minutes. Then top each patty with cheese, close EGG lid and and cook for another 30 seconds until melted. Allow burgers to rest on a plate while toasting the buns.
  • Grill buns face down on cooking grid until lightly toasted.
  • Add lettuce, tomato, onion and condiments to the assembled burger.
  • Serve with fries, grilled corn on the cob and/or watermelon.

Notes

I have added three different recipes for you to try for the bison meat. The ingredients in any of the recipes should be combined in a medium bowl before forming the patties. No other special instructions.
Course: Main Course
Keyword: big green egg, bison, burgers, Cheese, grilling

Did You Make This Recipe?

Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment on Facebook or Instagram and tag with @morganskitchn and #morganskitchn.

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