Monday, March 16, 2009

Home On The Range – Bodacious Bison Burgers

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
Toasted buns

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?

29 comments:

noble pig said...

Paula, seriously so, so yummy. Wow, I'm drooling for that!

Mediterranean kiwi said...

i absolutely love this
those onions are to die for

Bellini Valli said...

Many years ago when I lived in Alberta an enterprising rancher came up with a "beefalo",a cross between cattle and buffalo...what he got was an hornary beast so it dudn't last...but I love buffalo (bison) meat especially in a burger.

Spryte said...

That looks FANTASTIC!

Lynda said...

Paula, those look so yummy! It's been years since I had bison and I recently saw it at one of our stores.I love the onions and mushrooms covering the burger!

Marjie said...

Bison doesn't shrink because of the lack of fat. Look at me, acting like I know what I'm talking about - ha! I've only eaten bison burgers at the Terry Bison Ranch in Cheyenne, which I loved. And I understand your awe at seeing the buffalo. The herd at the ranch is incredible, and they'll drive you right into the herd (for a fee, of course). Mark still talks about Tiny the Bison.

I wish I could find bison meat here. Your burgers look awesome!

Pam said...

This burger looks amazing - especially the onions and mushrooms. Bison is tasty and healthy.

Cheryl said...

Wow, I have not cooked or eaten Bison yet, but you have me thinking I should. Fred Meyers gets it once a year or so, I better plan on getting some!

nottryingforaboy said...

That looks great! Where did you find it? I'd probably need to go to a butcher shop around here.

The Blonde Duck said...

OH. MY. GOD. I'm so excited!! I MUST MUST MUST make these!

Lisa said...

I like your approach, and admire your burgers! These sound very good. Personally I like cooking with buffalo meat. I like the taste and the nutritional incentives. I have used it to make meatloaf and have plans to use it in other recipes that call for ground beef.

Pam said...

I've seen some bison burgers at our store, but I've been to wimpy to try them.

Grace said...

yeah...these definitely qualify as bodacious. the onions are a fabulous touch to a great burger. bodacious. i love it. :)

Aggie said...

Oh would I love a bite of one of these!!! Love your toppings! I have to look for some bison meat.

Kim said...

So I come to your site for my fix... You always have the most beautiful pictures!

I'm on a diet, lost 37lbs so far...

I think I'm gonna fall off the wagon after seeing this one!

Buffalo is my favorite, we put 500# in the freezer one winter and it was the best decision ever made!

Robynn's Ravings said...

That looks and sounds amazing! Where do you get buffalo meat? I've seen it in restaurants but never tried to buy it before.

Your story was VERY well told by the way. GREAT tie in with Jurassic Park! :)

Jan said...

I have seen bison meat in the supermarket, but haven't tried it yet. That's going to change after seeing these burgers. I also love to add sauted onions and shrooms to burgers, and I love the addition of the cheese to the meat. Yum!

Katherine Aucoin said...

I first saw bison in the grocery store when we moved here to TN. I would never think to buy it until now. Paula you have sold me on bison for burgers. I love burgers but prefer leaner meats. Your bruger are over the top!

Esi said...

My friend and I just had a conversation about bison. I haven't tried it, but she swore by it. Will put on my too try list!

Anonymous said...

Bison burgers are fantastic! Can also be used to make an excellent Chili! Moose burgers and chili are nice and lean, like bison, as well.

I've friends that hunt moose up in Canida and always share moose meat with us, but I've never seen it in the grocery stores. ;-)

J.W.

The Food Hunter said...

That burger looks so good. I wish I had one right now.

Gloria said...

Paula thhis look so yummy and tasty!! xGloria

Mrs. L said...

They sell bison at our local safeway here. We've bought it a couple of times and used it to make burgers but haven't tried any other recipes. Might have to think about that!

Bridgett said...

I have yet to try a bison burger but you make it look absolutely delicious. The mushrooms and onions would definitely get me to try it immediately.

Rebecca said...

This is a very off -topic comment, but your blog came up while I was researching square foot gardening. I was wondering if you could share a bit more about the soil mix you used? It looked like you got a big load of something - was it the mix that the author calls for? Thanks!

Deborah said...

I've never had buffalo, but I've actually seen it at Target here. I'll have to give it a try!

Peter M said...

The alliteration is spot-on...great looking burgers. Bison is so flavourful!

Chris said...

Bison is one of my favorite meats and we use quite a bit of it. I usually get bison as stew meat, round steak, sirloin, ground, hot dogs and brats. A friend raises buffalo so I buy from her.

I like the fact that when I cook up the ground meat for a hot dish or something like that, I don't even have to drain it. There is almost no fat in the pan, just some juices that add flavor to whatever I'm making.

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