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These thick Grilled Bison Burgers are easy to make with 5 ingredients and in just 20 minutes. They’re lightly seasoned, are naturally mouthwatering, and an all-around healthier option for burger nights and backyard barbecues.
Is there anything better than a grilled homemade beef burger? There is, and it’s these Grilled Bison Burgers! Ground bison is lightly seasoned with soy sauce, garlic, salt, and pepper before being grilled to mouthwatering perfection. Top them with your favorite burger toppings and you have the ultimate summer meal!
So what’s the big deal about bison? Bison are members of the Bovidae family, meaning they’re genetically similar to cows but substantially larger. Their meat is a fantastic source of protein, is naturally lean, and contains less fat and calories than beef.
As for flavor, bison tastes similar to beef but is subtly sweet and a little grassy (no gamey flavor!). It’s innately more tender and juicy, no matter how it’s prepared. It’s a perfect meat for summer grilling nights and goes great when topped on a hamburger bun with chipotle aioli or added to a Whole30 burger bowl.
- They’re perfect for grilling season! Especially if you’re looking for a healthier alternative to ground beef.
- Bison burgers are lightly seasoned and taste lean, juicy, and delicious.
- Easy to make gluten free, paleo, and Whole30 with one simple substitution.
- Ground bison - For the best quality meat, choose pasture-raised or grass-fed bison that’s deep red in color and without any brown discoloration. Ground bison can be found in specialty meat markets, some major grocery stores, at farmer’s markets, or from a local ranch. Buying bison meat online is an option as well.
- Soy sauce - This enhances the rich meat with tangy umami undertones. You can also use Worcestershire sauce or, to make it gluten free, use gluten free tamari instead. As for paleo-friendly burgers, use coconut aminos instead of soy sauce.
- Garlic - Fresh is always best!
Step 1: Season the ground bison meat. Use your hands to mix the ground bison with soy sauce, garlic, salt, and pepper.
Step 2: Shape the burger patties. Scoop out ½ cup of the mixture at a time and form it into eight patties (about ¾-inch to 1-inch thick each)
Step 3: Grill the burgers. Preheat your grill (or a grill pan) over medium-high heat. Grill the burgers for 5 minutes on one side, then flip and grill for another 4 minutes on the other side.
Step 4: Serve! Serve each patty on a bun with your favorite hamburger toppings. Enjoy!
Tips and FAQs
- Similar to meatballs, ground burger meat dries out if it’s overworked. Mix the ingredients until just combined, then shape the patties without fussing too much.
- Make a small indentation in each patty with a spoon or your thumb. This keeps the burgers from shrinking on the grill.
- Ground bison is more delicate than beef burgers, so be gentle when it’s time to flip.
- Take the burgers off the grill when they’re 5 to 10 degrees away from being done. Let them rest for 5 minutes to seal in the juices and flavor.
- Want to make bison sliders instead? Shape each patty using ¼ cup of the meat mixture and grill or sear in a pan over medium heat (3 to 4 minutes per side).
How long does it take to grill a bison burger?
This will depend on the weight and thickness of your patties. For example, quarter-pound 1-inch thick bison burgers will take about 9 to 10 minutes when grilled over medium to medium-high heat.
How can you tell when they're done cooking?
Grill until the burgers are browned and the outside has a beautifully charred crust. The center of each patty can be cooked to medium (135ºF to 145ºF), however, the USDA recommends ground bison be cooked to well-done (160ºF).
Can you cook bison burgers in a skillet instead?
Yes, bison burgers are easy to cook in a skillet. To do so, preheat the pan over medium heat with olive oil or butter, then sear the patties on both sides until a light crust forms.
Can these burgers be made Whole30?
Bison is a fantastic lean protein option for the Whole30 program. To make these burgers Whole30 compliant, replace the soy sauce with coconut aminos. As for serving, wrap your burger in lettuce with tomato, red onion, pickles, avocado, and Whole30 mayo. Serve with homemade french fries and enjoy!
Are ground bison and ground buffalo the same?
No. Bison are native to North America, while buffalo belong to a different family found in Africa and Asia. However, ground buffalo meat also makes for very delicious burgers and you can use it instead of bison in this recipe.
Refrigerator: After cooling, keep any leftover burgers in a shallow, sealed container in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.
Freezer: The cooked burgers can also be frozen for up to 4 months.
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Grilled Bison Burgers
- 2 lb. ground bison
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 garlic cloves
- pinch salt and pepper
- Combine ground bison, soy sauce, garlic, salt, and pepper in a bowl, and use your hands to gently combine -- don't over-mix!
- Use your hands to form the mixture into 8 burgers, placing them on a plate.
- Using a grill or grill pan: heat grill on medium-high heat (approx. 400°) and cook the burgers for 5 minutes on the first side, then carefully flip (they'll be a little more delicate than traditional burgers), and cook for 3-5 minutes on the second side, or until they're done to your liking.
- Serve on a bun with your favorite toppings and enjoy!