Did you ever see the movie Jurassic Park? Do you remember the scene where the power in the park has just gone out, and the children are stuck out in the park in the jeep, its dark and rainy outside, and the young boy notices that the surface of a glass of water in the jeep keeps rippling every couple of seconds? It’s a great scene that foreshadows the arrival of a sharp toothed, hungry dinosaur with a bad attitude. Even before they could see the belligerent beast, the earth shook with each step announcing its arrival.
Well, the first time I ever saw a Bison (aka Buffalo) up close, I was sitting in the passenger seat in our car at Yellowstone National Park, and the surface of my beverage rippled just as the one in the movie had. Unlike the movie, however, it announced the arrival of a small herd of amazing bison who were preparing to cross the road. We sat in awe as the majestic, four-hoofed group of horned creatures passed right next to us. And I mean right. next. to. us. With each step they took, our little car shook and shivered as they made their way first next to and then in front of our car. And while I was, quite honestly, a tad intimidated by a) their massive size, and b) their close proximity to my personal space, I have to admit that I was mesmerized by these creatures that used to roam free in the millions. There’s something very special about American Bison, and I’ll always treasure my up close and personal moment.In my quest for healthy meals, I recently read about the nutritional value of buffalo meat. Low in fat and high in protein, buffalo meat is becoming less of an afterthought in meat food groups. After beefing up on preparation techniques, I thought I’d have a go at preparing a bodacious bison burger.Most of the recipes I read called for the addition of fat because the buffalo meat is so lean. However, the thought of mixing in a quantity of ground beef and even oil! didn’t appeal to me. Instead, for moisture, I mixed shredded mozzarella cheese right into the raw meat, and topped the cooked burgers with sautéed onions, mushrooms, and warm bbq sauce. A fresh, creamy coleslaw on the side rounded out the meal nicely.
1 lb ground buffalo
¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Montreal Steak Seasoning
1 onion – sautéed
2 cups sliced mushrooms – sautéed
Good quality bbq sauce
Separate the buffalo and cheese into 5 equal sized portions, sprinkle with Montreal Steak Seasoning, and mix one portion of each and shape into a patty. Repeat with all portions. The mixture will look funny because there is so very little fat to hold it together. Unlike beef patties, your hands will feel wet not greasy after shaping the burgers. Don’t worry if the cheese sticks out all over the place like a porcupine; that’s a good thing.
Also, unlike beef burgers, you want to cook your buffalo burgers low and slow no matter if you grill them, pan fry them, or broil them. They take longer to cook, and there is virtually no fat left in the pan afterward. The cheese sticking out of the burgers ends up browning up so wonderfully and adds that lovely flavor that only crisped cheese can provide.
The bodacious bison burgers were really good! Why the descriptor word 'bodacious', you ask? Well, these babies hardly shrink at all. They pretty much retain both height and width when you cook them, so you don’t need as much meat as you do when preparing beef burgers. Take a good look at the interior of this burger.
You can see that they are not juicy by any means, but they aren’t dry either. My oldest daughter really liked hers, plain of course, and she’s not a big meat eater so that’s saying something. The onions and mushrooms served as a great compliment.These burgers made themselves right at home on my range. Have you ever cooked buffalo? What did you think? I’d love to try this lean meat again. Do you have any recipes to share?