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Bunless Bison Burgers

June 4, 2012

In an effort to be more conscious about the things we eat, my husband decided he wanted to make bunless bison burgers for dinner one night.  Without the bun, we’d be cutting down on the carbohydrates that we were intaking in our diet.  There’s a time for bread products, and there’s a time where they really aren’t necessary, and he figured this was one of those times that we really didn’t need the bun in order enjoy our burgers.

A few weeks prior, we had purchased, from our local Costco, frozen bison patties.  We had noticed that our local grocery store, where we normally get our ground bison meat for bison burgers had stopped carrying ground bison and only had bison steaks.  That was disappointing since we figured we wouldn’t be able to have bison burgers anymore.  Then, walking the aisles of Costco one day, we saw frozen bison burgers.  We immediately grabbed a couple of boxes.  When we were checking out, both the person in line behind us and the cashier were curious about the bison.  The guy behind us said that he had often wanted to try bison burgers but wasn’t sure how they tasted, but said that he was game for non-traditional meats.  We told him that he should give bison a try since it was much leaner than ground beef, which means that it’s much healthier for you.  Also, we told him that bison meat isn’t gamey at all.  If you enjoy hamburgers and the taste of the chargrilled meat, then bison is definitely for you because the flavor of the meat is really the star of the show.  Bison burgers have a meatier flavor to them than hamburgers.

The nice thing about purchasing these frozen patties was that even though there are 6 patties to a box, they are individually wrapped, so you only have to thaw as many as you’re going to eat without having to waste patties or make more burgers than you are planning on eating.  As soon as the meat has thawed, they are ready to be thrown right on the grill.

Time to get the veggies for the bison burger together.  We used green leaf lettuce as the wrap for our bison burgers, sliced tomatoes as a topping for the bison meat, and grilled white onions for some extra flavor.

Start by thinly slicing a whole onion.  Throw the onion into a heated skillet with a little bit of olive oil and some melted butter for color and to help the onions caramelize.  Stir the onions around so that they are coated in the oil/butter mixture and just let them cook.  You want the onions to become translucent and start to turn a little brown.  The natural sugars in the onion will start to caramelize it and make it a perfect topping to the meaty bison.

When the bison is ready, put the patties right onto the hot grill and allow them to cook.  We seasoned our patties ahead of time with pepper, salt, and garlic powder.  Since bison meat is much leaner than ground beef, there’s not the oil to help cook and flavor the meat, so you will want to season your patties ahead of time.  Make sure to grill the meat all the way through.

As soon as the patties were done, we topped each patty with the grilled onions we had made.

And what would a burger be without cheese?  So we topped each patty with a slice of colby jack cheese.  Of course, you can use any kind of cheese that you’d like.  We just happened to have colby jack in the refrigerator.  Let the patties sit for about a minute on the grill in order to soften the cheese.  As soon as the cheese begins to melt, take the patties immediately off the grill so that you don’t end up with a melted cheese mess everywhere.  Even off the grill, the cheese will continue to melt due to the heat from the bison meat and the grilled onions that you sandwiched in between.

As this is a bunless burger, we used green leaf lettuce leaves as our “bun”.  Leaf the lettuce in advance and thoroughly wash it to make sure that any dirt that may be stuck in between the leaves is removed.  While you’re grilling your bison meat, soak your lettuce leaves in a bowl of cold water and some ice cubes.  This will help to make your lettuce leaves nice and crisp.  The crispness of the leaves will be a nice contrast to your bison burger.  When the patties have finished grilling, lay a leaf of the lettuce down on a plate and transfer the bison patty directly onto the green leaf lettuce.

Top your burger with whatever you’d like.  We used sliced tomatoes and some ketchup.  You can use whatever flavors you like; mustard, mayonnaise, relish, sauteed mushrooms, fried onions, fried egg, whatever you choose.

Take another leaf of lettuce and top the burger.  Try to wrap the lettuce leaves around so that they become a blanket over your burger.  Your bunless bison burger is done.

If you like burgers, you’ll like the bunless version of the bison burger because it really helps to accentuate the flavor of the bison meat.  Because you’re not diluting the flavor of your burger with a bun, you can really taste the bison meat, the grilled onions, the melted cheese, and all the condiments you put into your burger.  And it’s so much healthier for you.  I’m not saying we won’t make burgers in the future with buns, but we definitely will continue to make bunless burgers in the future because these were soooo good!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 5, 2012 6:19 am

    We have a bison farm not far from our summer cottage in Maine where we buy our bison products. Bison is delicious and not gamey at all…more people should try it. Were you happy the the frozen patties from Costco?

    • June 6, 2012 8:32 am

      I love bison meat. I agree that it’s not gamey at all. And it’s lean and healthy! The Costco bison meat was quite good! Since the majority of bison meat here in California comes from bison farms in Montana, buying packaged meat at a grocery store or Costco is the best we can do here.

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