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Bison burgers, also known as buffalo burgers, have become a popular alternative to traditional beef burgers due to their leaner composition and unique flavor. These mouthwatering burgers pack a punch of taste and nutrition, making them a worthy addition to your recipe book!

We can all agree that an all-time favourite meal would be the classic hamburger, especially during the summer! Nothing beats a juicy burger grilled on the BBQ but it is always nice to have some alternative options to try for dinner.

Why We Love This Recipe

There are so many reasons to love this recipe! Bison meat is not only delicious but also healthier than traditional options. It is lower in fat and higher in protein, making it a smart choice for those who want to enjoy a satisfying meal without the excess calories or concerns that typically accompany a beef burger.

The use of bison meat offers a tasty alternative to conventional beef, resulting in a juicy and flavorful burger that stands out from the crowd.You can also try this recipe as a meat alternative for my yummy Portobello Stuffed Mushrooms recipe.

Where To Find Bison Meat

Our family is lucky enough to have grass-fed bison meat accessible just outside of our small town which makes this recipe very easy and convenient for us. Those of you living in larger areas should be able to find buffalo meat at most specialty butchers or farmer’s markets these days!

Ingredient Substitutes

I always advice trying the recipe as written the first time and then feel free to change it to your liking after that!

If ground bison meat is unavailable or you prefer a different meat, consider ground beef, turkey, or chicken as alternatives. They can be substituted in equal amounts for the ground bison. If you are looking for a plant-based option, try using a veggie burger patty made from ingredients like black beans or lentils.

 For seasoning alternatives, or if you want to explore beyond the standard salt and pepper, consider using spices such as cumin, smoked paprika, or garlic powder. For an earthy flavor, try adding fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, or oregano. 

What Makes a Great Buffalo Burger

Buffalo or bison meat is very lean and low in fat which can sometimes cause this burger to be a bit dry if prepared and cooked incorrectly! The key to making a burger that stays juicy and delicious is making sure you add enough liquid ingredients! If you find the recipe below still not moist enough for your liking, simply add more BBQ sauce and Worcester sauce to the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 lb or 32 oz. ground buffalo or bison
  • 1lb or 16 oz. ground pork (optional) or add a touch of bacon fat for moisture
  • 2 tbsp BBQ sauce
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp of paprika
  • 1 tsp Italian Seasoning
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Pepper
  • Dill (fresh or dried)
  • 2 tbsp. Worcester
  • 1/4 cup diced onion or a hand full of chives
  • 2 tbsp. flour – Cocoanut flour will work as a gluten-free option
  • Vegetable Oil for brushing on burgers before grilling.
  • Cheese (optional – for melting on burgers)

Optional Sauce

  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp BBQ sauce

This recipe calls for 2 lbs. of ground meat but you can always adjust to the number of people you are cooking for!

Directions

  1. Mix together ground buffalo meat, spices, BBQ sauce, Worcester, herbs, and diced onion or chives. Then add the flour to help bind the meat together. Be sure you don’t overwork the bison meat as it has a tendency to dry out quickly when overhandled.
  1. Grab approx. 1/3 cup bison burger mixture and roll together between hands. Roll until the meat forms a nice ball and then flatten between hands to form a patty. If time allows cover buffalo burgers and place them in the refrigerator for a few hours. This allows the meat to marinade and take in the flavours of the spices.
  1. Preheat the BBQ or smoker to medium-high heat. Lightly oil the grill if desired. Pull burgers from the fridge and brush on vegetable oil like you would BBQ sauce. 
  1. Grill buffalo burgers on each side. Cook for approx. 4-5 minutes per side or until desired. To determine the correct doneness, use an instant-read thermometer and aim for an internal temperature of 140-145°F (60-63°C) for medium-rare. When the patties reach their desired temperature, immediately remove them from heat to prevent overcooking.
  1. In the last two minutes of cooking, place a slice of cheddar cheese on top of each patty and let it melt. Simultaneously, toast the hamburger buns on the grill or skillet for a minute or two to add some crunch (spread butter on buns before toasting).
  2. While the bison patties are cooking, it’s time to prepare the toppings. Begin by thinly slicing a shallot and set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together BBQ sauce and Dijon mustard to create a tangy and flavorful spread for the buns.
  1. To assemble the burger, spread the BBQ-Dijon mixture on both sides of the toasted hamburger bun. Place a bison patty with melted white cheddar cheese on the bottom half of the bun, and then layer with the thinly sliced shallot and a piece of crunchy romaine lettuce. Finally, place the top half of the bun on the assembled ingredients, pair with this delicious salads and enjoy!

A good meat thermometer goes a long way when grilling! 

Cook Time for Grilling 

 When grilling a buffalo burger, it is best done on medium to medium-high heat! The grill gives these burgers a wonderful char and brings out the natural flavours of the meat. When the burger is done, it should be brown on the outside but can still look dark pink in the middle. Here are some guidelines to use when grilling at medium heat:

  • 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare
  • 5 to 6 minutes per side for medium
  • 6 to 8 minutes per side for well done

Alternative Bison Burger Cooking Methods

Although it goes without saying, that grilling or smoking a bison burger is the tastiest method of cooking. In fact, cooking bison on an open fire is even better but we all don’t have those options readily available all of the time so here are a few other easy options to cook buffalo burgers.

Cast Iron Pan Fried

Begin by preheating a cast-iron skillet on the stove. Aim for a medium-high heat, which will help achieve the desired medium-rare level of doneness. Place the bison patties on the skillet and cook for about 4-6 minutes per side. To determine the correct doneness, use an instant-read thermometer and aim for an internal temperature of 140-145°F (60-63°C) for medium-rare. When the patties reach their desired temperature, immediately remove them from heat to prevent overcooking.

Oven

To cook a bison burger in the oven, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Place the burger patties on a greased baking sheet or dish and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F (71°C). Flipping the patties halfway through can result in a more even cooking.

Air Fryer

To make bison burgers in an air fryer, preheat the air fryer to 360°F (180°C). Arrange the seasoned patties in the air fryer basket, ensuring they don’t touch. Cook for 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway, until they reach an internal temperature of 160°F (71°C). Be cautious not to overcrowd the basket to ensure even cooking and crispy edges.

How to Store

Place the cooled burgers in an airtight container or if you are using plastic wrap, be sure to wrap the burgers tightly to protect them from outside contaminants

Refrigerate the leftovers promptly to prevent bacterial growth. It’s important to consume refrigerated leftovers within three to four days to ensure they remain safe to eat.

To freeze the burgers, individually wrap each burger tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, then place them in a sealed freezer bag or an airtight container. Make sure to label the container with the storage date before placing it in the freezer. Frozen bison burgers typically last up to three months without compromising quality and taste.

Shop Favorites For the Grill

Tips and Tricks for Making Buffalo Burgers

  • Handle bison meat with care. Due to its lean nature, bison has a tendency to dry out quickly, so avoid overhandling or overcooking it. 
  • It’s essential to cook bison at a lower temperature compared to beef, making a skillet or grill an ideal choice for cooking.
  • Press a slight indent in the center of each bison patty using your thumb. This trick helps the burgers cook evenly and prevents the center from bulging out. Take special care not to press too hard, as delicate bison meat can fall apart.
  • Consider mixing in a grated onion, which not only adds moisture but also enhances the flavor of the bison. To counter any gamey taste, try incorporating herbs and spices, such as garlic, rosemary or thyme, into your bison burger recipe.
  • Another twist that you can take with these burgers is infusing them with cheese. Take a smaller amount of meat and form a thin patty. Place a chunk of cheese in the centre of this patty. Roll a second thin patty and place it on top of the cheese. Pinch the edges together to hold in the cheese!
  • Give your bison burger a chance to rest once it’s off the heat. Allowing the burger to sit for a few minutes before serving helps retain its juices and ensures a tender bite. This brief rest period will allow the meat to continue cooking, solidifying its spot within the desired temperature range.
  • Looking to make your burger gluten-free or just another bun option? Grab a few pieces of lettuce and enjoy your bison burger on a lettuce “bun.”

Hope you enjoy these delicious Buffalo Burgers! If you try them, please let me know what you think in the comments below. 

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Frequently Asked

Are buffalo and bison the same thing?

Contrary to what so many people believe, bison and buffalo are not the same. The American bison was found roaming the hills of North America, whereas Buffalo are actually found in Africa and Asia. Bison have large humps on their backs and showcase a long beard whereas Buffalo don’t.

What does a buffalo burger taste like?

Buffalo meat tastes very different than beef. It has a lighter, almost sweet taste to it in comparison. It isn’t ‘gamey’ at all but more of a full-bodied taste, some describe it as ‘earthier’ than beef.  Depending on what you use for seasoning, Buffalo burgers offer a bold flavour that is a delicious alternative to other more common types of meat used for making hamburgers. 

Is eating buffalo meat healthy?

Buffalo or bison meat is a healthy alternative to most other types of meat used for hamburgers. It contains half the fat content of lean beef and is even lower in fat than chicken! Buffalo meat is lower in cholesterol and higher in mineral content plus it offers to be higher protein than beef making it an excellent choice for any health-conscious consumer. 

Are there any specific sauces that pair well with bison burgers?

Sauces can take bison burgers to the next level. Some popular options include garlic aioli, barbecue sauce, or a tangy mustard. You might also try a homemade chipotle mayo or fresh herb chimichurri. Experiment with different combinations to find the perfect pairing for your personal taste preference.

bison burger patty on a bun with mushrooms and shallots

Buffalo Burger

Bison burgers, also known as buffalo burgers, have become a popular alternative to traditional beef burgers due to their leaner composition and unique flavor. These mouthwatering burgers pack a punch of taste and nutrition, making them a worthy addition to your recipe book!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Course: lunch & dinner meals
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bison burger, buffalo burger, grilling recipe, How to grill a buffalo burger
Servings: 6
Calories: 627kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 lb ground bison
  • 2 tbsp BBQ sauce
  • 1 lb ground pork (optional)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika smoked
  • 1 tsp Italian Seasoning
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Dill fresh or dried
  • 2 tbsp Worcester
  • 1/4 cup diced onion or a hand full of chives
  • 2 tbsp flour – Cocoanut flour will work as a gluten-free option
  • Vegetable Oil for brushing on burgers before grilling.
  • Cheese optional – for melting on burgers

Instructions

  • Mix together ground buffalo meat, spices, BBQ sauce, Worcester, herbs, and diced onion or chives. Add flour to help bind the meat together.
  • Grab approx. 1/3 cup bison burger mixture and roll-together between hands. Roll for a few minutes so that the meat forms a nice ball. Flatten between hands to form a pattie. 
  • If time allows cover buffalo burgers and place them in the refrigerator for a few hours. This allows the meat to marinade and take in the flavors of the spices.
  • Preheat your BBQ or smoker. Pull burgers from the fridge and brush on vegetable oil like you would BBQ sauce. 
  • Grill buffalo burgers on each side. Cook for approx. 4-5 minutes per side or until desired. To determine the correct doneness, use an instant-read thermometer and aim for an internal temperature of 140-145°F (60-63°C) for medium-rare. When the patties reach their desired temperature, immediately remove them from heat to prevent overcooking.
  • In the last two minutes of cooking, place a slice of cheddar cheese on top of each patty and let it melt.
  • Toast hamburger buns on the BBQ (spread butter on buns before toasting).
  • Add toppings of your choice to the bun – ex … lettuce, pickles, avocado, onions, and chips (BBQ or dill pickles or plain ruffle chips are a great option that adds some crunch).    

Video

Notes

Be sure you don’t overwork the bison meat as it has a tendency to dry out quickly when overhandled.
If time allows cover buffalo burgers and place them in the refrigerator for a few hours. This allows the meat to marinade and take in the flavours of the spices

Nutrition

Serving: 100g | Calories: 627kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 49g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 163mg | Sodium: 1118mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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