These juicy and flavorful bison burgers are seasoned with lots of tasty spices, including onion, garlic, paprika, and parsley.
Quickly grilled, they are ready in just 20 minutes, making them the perfect weeknight dinner. Leftovers are excellent too!
I really like bison meat. I actually find that the flavor is very similar to beef. It's very mild - it's not gamey, and it's not bold-tasting like lamb burgers.
But you can definitely taste that it's leaner, especially when compared with ground beef. So you should cook it accordingly, which mostly means not overcooking it, or it could come out quite dry.
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make these tasty bison burgers. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Lean ground bison: I use a mixture of 85% lean and 15% fat.
Dijon mustard: This traditional French mustard is creamier, thicker, and less vinegary than yellow mustard.
Kosher salt and black pepper: If using fine salt, you should reduce the amount you use, or the burgers could end up too salty.
Spices: I like to use onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, dried parsley, and cayenne pepper.
Avocado oil for the grill: This oil has a neutral flavor and a high smoke point, making it an ideal cooking oil.
You should cook bison burgers the same way you would cook a beef burger, but for a slightly shorter time. Lacking fat, it dries out easily.
So if you usually grill a beef burger for about 8 minutes, consider grilling these burgers for a total of about 6-7 minutes, aiming for medium-rare or medium.
Keep in mind, though, that the USDA recommends cooking ground meats to well-done (160°F). I usually cook them to medium doneness (145°F). But you should make your own decision.
The detailed instructions for making these burgers are included in the recipe card below. Here are the basic steps:
You start by mixing the meat with the spices.
Next, divide the mixture into four equal parts and form them into patties. Make a dimple in the center of each patty. This will help the patties retain their shape while they cook.
Now, preheat your grill on medium-high and oil it.
Cook the burgers for 3-4 minutes per side, depending on your desired level of doneness.
Expert tip: handle them lightly
To ensure the burgers turn out juicy and tender rather than dense and tough, it's important to handle them lightly, both when you mix the spices into the meat and when you shape the mixture into patties.
Frequently asked questions
Bison is a grazing mammal. It belongs to the same family as the domestic cow and the buffalo (Bovidae), but those are three different animals.
Although they're both considered red meat, bison is noticeably leaner than beef and has finer marbling throughout the meat. In terms of its flavor, bison is very similar to beef. Its flavor is mild - it does not have a strong gamey aftertaste.
Because it's lean, it's best to cook it over medium or medium-high heat (not high) and to ensure your grill is well-greased to prevent sticking. Because of its leanness, it's also important to avoid overcooking it.
Variations and substitutions
As with all burger recipes, the seasonings in this recipe are very flexible. I use what I like, and you should use what you like and what you have on hand.
I like to use dried spices because it's so convenient. But if you have onions, garlic, and fresh parsley in the house, by all means, use them!
Two tablespoons of finely chopped onion, a tablespoon of garlic, and ¼ cup of finely chopped fresh parsley would be great in this recipe.
I like to serve bison burgers with jicama fries and with pickled red onions. If you happen to have some sauteed onions (or if you have the patience for making them), they make a great topping for burgers.
As for the bun, I use either cloud bread or English muffins as a bun. Both are excellent, but the English muffin is easier to make, so I tend to default to that.
On Instagram, Micah posted this gorgeous photo of her burger, which she graciously allowed me to post here. She says:
"These bison burgers turned out so good from @yumhealth 👍 I’m cracking up at how fat they are but that’s how I had to make them to fit on the sweet potato “bun”. So good!"
You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days. Reheat them in the microwave on 50% power.
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Juicy Bison Burgers
- 1 lb. lean ground bison
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried parsely
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Avocado oil for grill
- In a large bowl, use clean hands to mix the bison meat and spices together until well-seasoned.
- Form four patties, each weighing 4 oz, 3 inches in diameter, and ½ inch thick. Make a dimple in the center of each patty.
- Preheat a grill, a grill pan or a George Foreman Grill over medium-high heat, about 5 minutes. Spray or brush the grill surfaces with oil.
- For medium doneness, grill the burgers for about 4 minutes on each side, or for a total of 4 minutes on a dual-contact grill. Serve immediately.
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