Steven Raichlen's Barbecue! Bible


Bison Burgers

Recipe by Steven Raichlen


  • Yield: Makes 4 burgers (or 8 sliders)
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  • 2 strips bacon (2 ounces), cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slivers
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots (2 to 3 whole shallots)
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon or orange zest (optional)
  • 1 cup port or red wine
  • 1-1/2 pounds ground bison, venison or other game
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (optional)

For serving:

  • 4 brioche rolls or hamburger buns
  • Boston or romaine lettuce leaves

Step 1: Brown the bacon in a saucepan over medium heat, 3 minutes. Add the cranberries, shallots, walnuts, and lemon zest and cook until shallots begin to brown, 2 minutes more. Add the port, increase the heat to high, and boil until only 1/2 cup of liquid remains, 5 minutes. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.

Step 2: Place the bison in a mixing bowl. Stir in half the bacon-cranberry-pecan mixture and salt and pepper to taste: you’ll need about 1-1/2 teaspoons of the former and 1/2 teaspoon of the latter. Save the remaining cranberry mixture for serving.

Step 3: Wet your hands with water and form the meat mixture into 4 patties, each 3/4-inch thick. Arrange on a plate lined with plastic wrap until you’re ready to cook them. The burgers can be made several hours ahead to this stage.

Step 4: Set up your grill for direct grilling and preheat to high. Brush and oil your grill grate. Arrange the burgers on the grate and grill until browned on the outside and cooked to taste, 4 minutes per side for medium, turning with a spatula.

Step 5: Meanwhile, grill, toast, or pan-fry the buns, if desired.

Step 6: Serve the burgers on the buns lined with lettuce and the remaining cranberry mixture spooned on top.

Tips:

Don’t have any ground bison on hand? Try one of these tasty alternatives:

Build a Better Burger
The Great American Hamburger
Lamb Burgers
Raichlen’s Burgers!