Wednesday, August 13, 2014

South of the Border Style Bison Burgers

I was lucky enough to spend the weekend in Washington, D.C. with one of my best friends from high school, Emily, and her husband, Rob. Emily and I have been cooking and baking together since we were about 12 years old. Fortunately, our skills have progressed past skim milk "whipped cream," which,  as it turns out, is just frosting. Emily is truly and expert baker, so we decided to collaborate on a few meals for the weekend, much to Rob's delight.

Emily had never tried bison before, and, since it's one of my absolute favorite meats, it had to be included on the menu. If you've never tried bison, I strongly encourage it. The flavor profile is slightly gamier than beef, but not as strong as lamb. Also, bison is even leaner than chicken or salmon, making it one of the healthiest meat options out there. It really makes a delicious burger. One word of caution: because it is so lean, it cooks FAST and is much better served medium or medium rare than well done.

We were also looking for a dairy-free recipe for this occasion, so I went with my favorite dairy-free flavor profile. The spiciness of the chipotle chilies complemented and didn't overwhelm the bison, and, let's be honest, avocado with lime is always delicious. Some quick-pickled jalapenos replaced traditional pickles for an all around great dish. We served these burgers with a side of grilled patatas bravas style potatoes and chili lime grilled corn.

Emily made these 40 minute buns from scratch, and they were delicious! Honestly, I don't know if I'll ever buy hamburger buns again. These appeared to be really easy, even for a non expert baker like me, and they were unbelievably delicious.

Serves 4

Bison Burgers

  • 1 lb ground bison meat
  • 1 tsp chipotle chili powder (you can substitute regular chili powder mixed with a bit of cayenne)
  • 2 tbsp onion, grated
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 large vidalia onion, sliced into steaks
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 beefsteak tomato, sliced into steaks
  • 1 c avocado spread (see recipe below)
  • pickled jalapenos, to taste (I cut this recipe in half, and let them marinate for the full 2 hours)
  • 4 hamburger buns (Emily made )
Preheat grill or grill pan to medium high heat. Gently mix bison meat with chili powder, onion, oregano, paprika and salt until incorporated. Evenly split meat into 4 sections and form into patties. Make sure the patties have a dent in the middle, almost like a doughnut but with a dent instead of a hole. This will ensure a flatter patty. Brush the sliced onions and the patties with olive oil. Grill the onions for approximately 6 to 8 minutes per side. Grill the patties for approximately 4 minutes per side for medium. These cook super fast! Spread each bun with 1/4 c of the avocado spread, top with 1 patty, 1 stack of onions, pickled jalapenos and sliced tomatoes.

Avocado Spread
  • 1 1/2 ripe avocados
  • juice of 1 lime (at least 1 tbsp)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Mash all ingredients together until well incorporated. 


  1. Can I come for dinner? I adore bison and this recipe has me drooling! But i have no clue where to look for bison down here in ATL. Any ideas there?

  2. Thanks! You'd be surprised at how widely available bison actually is. I can buy it from my local grocery store here, so I'm guessing that either Publix or Kroger would carry it. You can also find it at Trader Joe's (often in the freezer section).