Traditional recipes

Best Bison Burger

Best Bison Burger

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Serving Size: 4.4 oz (124g)
Prep Time: 10 min
Total Cooking Time: 10 min


  • 1 Pound ground bison
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 shakes Tabasco brand pepper sauce
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 Teaspoon black pepper
  • Olive oil spray, to coat


Preheat grill. In large bowl combine all ingredients and form into 4 patties.

Lightly spray or coat the outside of the burgers with olive oil to prevent sticking to the grill surface.

Grill on a charcoal or gas grill on the first side until the juices just start to come through. Turn and cook to desired doneness (160 degrees internal temperature).

Let burgers rest for 5-10 minutes to allow the juices to settle back into the meat.

Serve on a bun with your favorite garnishes and condiments.

Nutritional Facts


Calories Per Serving273

Folate equivalent (total)14µg3%

10 Best Ground Bison Recipes

These easy ground bison recipes are lean, healthy, and so delicious!

Although not one of the more commonly eaten meats in the United States, bison began gaining popularity in the early 2000s when Ted Turner opened the first Ted&rsquos Montana Grill in Ohio.

If you&rsquore considering experimenting with the protein &ndash or if you&rsquore a longtime fan &ndash these ground bison recipes are a few of my all-time favorite bison dishes.

Bison meat is high in iron, and it has a lighter, slightly sweeter, and more delicate flavor than ground beef.

It&rsquos also leaner and has fewer calories than beef, so it&rsquos a good choice if you&rsquore dieting.

Dieting or not, I heartily urge you to give these recipes a try.

Best Bison Burger

It's time for ground beef to step aside. Bison burgers are where it's at this summer. The thick, juicy patty gets topped with buttery caramelized onions and white cheddar for the best burger ever.



1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1/2 shallot, finely chopped

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

2 large onions, thinly sliced

8 slices white cheddar cheese

Romaine lettuce, for serving



In a large bowl, combine bison, Worcestershire sauce, shallot, garlic, salt, pepper, coriander, and ground mustard. Form into 8 patties that are slightly larger than your hamburger buns. Let sit at room temp for 30 minutes.

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, 20 minutes. Remove from skillet and place on a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.

Return skillet to heat and cook patties for 3 minutes, flip, add cheese and cook for 3 more minutes for medium. Work in batches as necessary. Place patties on a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and oregano. Spread mixture on bottom buns, top with romaine, burgers, caramelized onions, and top buns.


This has become a go-to recipe for making burgers in my house. While we love bison, it can be expensive, so we also sometimes make the burgers with beef. Also, we’ve tried grilling them (delicious) and doing sous vide then finishing on the grill or with a butane torch (awesome for when we forgot to defrost the patties we make ahead of time). Highly recommend.

These were amazing burgers! The onions were to die for. Will definitely make these often!

The best burger ever! Made recipe exactly. Have repeated many times.

Bison, though very meaty tasting, is lower fat than ground beef and can result in dry burgers. The shallots and thyme - I used fresh - really elevate this to something very flavorful and juicy. And, gentle mixing is key.

Delicious recipe, the thyme really makes it shine. I added

1tsp/burger of bacon fat to help it stay moist.

First time in my life I have ever attempted to make bison and it was amazing! followed the recipe exactly. the only thing I added was my own homemade Aioli yum yum!

This was really delicious. I could have eaten the onions by the spoonful and normally I'm not much of an onion fan at all. I used spinach leaves instead of escarole.

The Cabernet Onions were great! The Bison was tender and packed with flavor, no wonder they served Bison at the White House last night.

I used our elk. I don't know if I just wasn't hungry, but this was very rich. I'm wondering if it were the onions?

Amazing! In the directions it doesn't say what to do with the shallots, so I mixed it in with the meat. I recommend dicing the shallot so it is easier to form patties. Also I used fresh thyme (about 2 tsp), and a little ground pepper. I used an apple wood smoked cheddar, and we put these on the grill. They came out perfect.

Pretty much followed the recipe verbatim. and we all LOVED. Happy 4th of July!

Used locally grown bison and lucky enough to be less than 25 miles where Bob Wills of Cedar Grove Cheese makes the perfect Wisconsin white cheddar (you can get it if you don't live here:'tis a matter of taste and I love bleu and gruyere, but I'm sayin') served with locally made whole wheat buns and fresh thyme (the only modification I made to as written and it was a lovely subtle layer of flavor) produced the most divine burger. It just doesn't get any better than this, and then you get to polish of the wine with them. Ahhh.

Love these -- here's my blog post about them:

Really liked this. I made it as sliders and had it with the mustard roasted potatoes, and they went well together.

We make bison burgers frequently as DH loves meat and watches his cholesterol. This is an excellent recipe. I liked it better than picky DH who prefers plain food (as in meat patties with ketchup. ). The carmelized onions reduced with wine are fabulous the really picky eaters may want to omit them. Quite aside from the onion topping, the additions of chopped shallots, thyme and salt to the ground bison resulted in fabulous burgers. I will add these ingredients to the burgers even if I don't make the carmelized onions in the future.

My favorite part of this recipe would have to be the onions. I cooked them a bit longer then suggested to really get them caramelized. Wow they were good. The cheddar was also amazing, it was important to use the Wisconsin. Good recipe and somewhat on the healthy side.

Grilled the burgers, which was excellent. You do need a HEAVY pan for the onions. I used a nonstick all-clad, and it was not heavy enough to keep the onions from blackening. They were still very good, I just deglazed early with some cab. Didn't cook them the full time or they would have been ruined.

I'm rather prejudiced towards Longhorn beef, having raised them. Also very low in fat. This recipe was delicious and Hubby liked it so will make again.

I don't mean to be picky but how does someone give four forks to a "Bison Burger' that omits the bison and substitutes skinless chicken sausage. Is it just me.

We were all in agreement, This is a great burger, but no one particulary cared for the wine and onion.So we remade the batch and grilled the onion and drank the wine! Other than that it was gooooood for us carnivores maximus!

incredible and made as written. you must try this recpie. we bought a large ciabatta loaf and cut individual "buns" out of it - out of this world good.

Big hit with my family of four. The only variation I made was to use a local cheddar in place of the Wisconsin white. I did have an issue with the way the recipe was written. My husband thought that you were supposed to serve the onions chilled, but that did not seem like it could possible be right to me.

This was simply delicious - I made mine with ground Penzey's shallot pepper because that's what I had and put them on whole wheat english muffins. The onions are divine. Next time I'll swing for gruyere, I think itɽ really take this burger over the top.

These were good, but I didn't think they were as spectacular as others did. I will make them in the future, but probably try using bleu and balsamic.

How to season these burgers

As with all burger recipes, the seasonings in this bison burger 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.

Bison Burger Recipe #1: On the Grill

There’s nothing like grilling bison burgers , especially on warm spring or summer days. To make this recipe, start by preheating your grill to medium-high heat. This is especially important if you prefer charcoal grills, which require time to reach the ideal temperature. While you're preheating the barbecue, gather the following ingredients:


  • Ground bison
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Olive oil
  • Barbecue sauce of your choice


  1. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
  2. Combine ground bison, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, and sea salt. The exact measurements of each spice are entirely up to you, so play with your combinations until you find what you like! A quarter- or half-teaspoon of onion powder and garlic powder per burger should be adequate, but again, you decide.
  3. Mash the meat and seasonings into a ball, then flatten it to create a patty.
  4. Baste the burgers with olive oil, and place them on the grill. Leave the patties on the open flame for six to seven minutes, then flip.
  5. After the first flip, baste the burger with barbecue sauce and cook for another six to seven minutes. This will create a medium-well to well-done burger.
  6. Flip the burger one more time, baste it with barbecue sauce on the other side, and then transfer it to the top rack. Put the cheese of your choice (we like pepper jack, but it's up to you) on the patty and allow it to melt in place before serving on a sourdough bun. Voilà.

If you’re in a pinch, you can also use pre-made bison burger patties. Simply sprinkle seasonings on top, throw them on the grill, and follow the instructions as usual.

I walked outside this morning to a brilliant golden-yellow sunrise and a flock of robins. Humid air was only the last hint I needed to determine that here in Florida, spring is on its way.

Beautiful weather means grilling weather. Spring and fall are the perfect grilling seasons it’s neither too hot nor too cold to be outside, making it a joy to fire up the grill and soak in the sunshine.

For that very reason, I’ve been working on my grilling game specifically, on grilling bison burgers. An added bonus is that any bison burger recipe can be a healthy bison burger recipe, because bison meat is lean, high in protein, and chock-full of iron with a slightly sweet flavor profile that’s excellent for burgers.

Plus, my friends over at Fire & Flavor are helping me transform into a grillmaster with a supply of all natural premium charcoal and fire starters.

Fire & Flavor Lump Almond Wood Charcoal

I decided to use sweet, subtle, and nutty almond wood charcoal for today’s grilling adventure. It’s pure lump charcoal, which is simply pieces of wood burned down to charcoal lumps.

Getting a fire going is simple with just a few squares of odorless, tasteless, and chemical-free fire starter tucked into the charcoal.

Fire & Flavor Charcoal Fire Starters

They work great with any charcoal, whether it’s lump or briquette.

Once you get your grill to temperature, all you have to do is maintain it at medium heat, or 350°F, the best temperature for grilling bison burgers.

While your grill is heating up, you can get your burger patties ready. Remember to handle the meat gently and minimally excess handling will dry it out. Ground bison is leaner and little more crumbly than ground beef. A little spritz of nonstick olive oil cooking spray will help form an exterior crust and prevent sticking. Top with burger seasoning just before you grill.

Raw bison burger patty ready to cook

You’ll know your bison burgers are done when their internal temperature is 135°F to 140°F. They might even be a little pink inside that’s OK, because color is not a reliable indicator of doneness for burgers. Use an instant-read thermometer for accuracy.

You can serve the bison burgers any way you like, but for a healthier spin, try a lettuce bun!

Double stack bison cheeseburger on a lettuce bun

Be sure to check out Fire & Flavor for grilling and smoking supplies, recipes, and more.

How To Make Home-Ground Bison Burgers

This content series is sponsored by The Bison Council with a goal of educating the public about the culinary, health and taste benefits of eating bison.

I've got a cousin who sort of freaked me out the first few times I met him. It might have been something in his crazy eyes, or in his motorcycle stories, or perhaps his way with moonshine. I gotta admit: it took three or four family reunions before I finally figured that his eyes weren't crazy, they were intense. His motorcycle stories weren't reckless, they were just eccentric. His moonshine wasn't. well, his moonshine was still moonshine, but it was the smoothest damn moonshine in Pennsylvania. You've probably all got a cousin or two like that, don't you?

Bison is a bit like the crazy cousin at the ruminant family reunion. It's similar to beef in appearance, flavor, and cooking methods, but it's just eccentrically different enough that you'll need to go through a bit of a how's-your-father session before you're 100 percent comfortable working with it.

The American bison industry has been picking up recently with ground meat and other cuts becoming more regularly available in standard supermarkets. Over the next few months, I'll be going over some of the major cuts of bison that you're likely to encounter in the wilds of the meat department and how to deal with them to maximize deliciousness.

Bison, Beef, and Burgers

What are the main difference between bison and beef? It largely comes down to flavor and fat content. Bison has a reputation for being much gamier than beef, but in reality, modern bison is only very mildly gamey. Indeed, I've had cuts of bison that I'd have trouble differentiating from beef in terms of flavor. A lot of this has to do with the fact that bison by its nature is a leaner meat, and many of the identifying flavor compounds in various meats are stored in their fat.

So why would someone want to use a leaner meat? Well there's health reasons, of course, and I've found that a lean bison tends to be of higher quality—better flavor and more tender—than equivalently lean beef. It's also a nice changeup. A lean bison ribeye or burger, when cooked properly, is perfectly tender and moist and makes for an interesting change from the norm.

Of course, you'll need to make some adjustments in the way you form and cook hamburger patties to compensate for the lower fat content.

Packaged ground bison is readily available. Just like packaged ground beef, it suffers from being overly compressed in its plastic wrapping—it's compressed and dense even before you start working with it, which means that for skillet-fried or grilled patties in which a lighter, looser texture is desired, it's not the best option.

But for certain applications, it's a perfectly acceptable product to use. Of all the types of burgers in my repertoire, smashed burgers and sliders are the two that work best with pre-ground meat. With smashed patties, you end up compressing the meat anyway, and with sliders, the patties are so thin that texture doesn't really come into play.

For grilled or skillet-fried burgers, you'll need to go with a different tack: grind the meat yourself. By grinding meat fresh and handling it with care, you create a much lighter, almost fluffy patty full of internal nooks and crannies that are essential for capturing the dripping juices that can make even a lean burger taste juicy and moist.

Sound daunting? Don't worry, it's not! All you need is a food processor or a stand mixer with a grinding attachment, and a bit of know how.

Dicin' Bison

I tested a number of different cuts of bison for grinding, both on their own and with some extra added bison fat, and I found that chuck was the best all-around option. It makes sense—it's the single cut of beef that I'm most likely to grab for my burgers as well. As with beef chuck, bison chuck is one of the most intensely flavorful cuts on the beast with a decent balance of fat and lean meat (though obviously bison is leaner).

Nothing will gunk up a meat grinder or food processor blade faster than tough connective tissue, so when breaking down your chuck, make sure to trim out as much tough silverskin and tough connective tissue as possible while leaving in the fat (you're going to need all the help you can get in keeping things juicy).

The easiest way to do this is to start by splitting open a rolled chuck and butterflying it so that it lays flat, working as much as possible by cutting between muscle seams, which will expose connective tissue that you can remove with the tip of a sharp boning knife.

Once you've cleaned up the butterflied sections, cut them into long, thin strips, which should expose even more connective tissue to trim.

Finally, cut across the long strips to form cubes that are between an inch and two inches on each side. For the meat grinder, you can go on the larger side, but for the food processor you'll want to cut them a little smaller.

Whether you're grinding beef, chicken, bison, mammoth, dolphin—heck, when you're grinding anything—the most important thing to remember is to keep everything ice cold.

Let me repeat that: keep everything ice cold.


The colder your meat, the firmer it is, and the better it will chop. The idea with grinding meat is to chop the meat, minimizing the amount you mush and smear it. Both of these actions will ruin its texture, and more importantly with bison, it'll cause it to shed moisture faster as it cooks.

I store my meat grinder in the freezer at all times so that I have it ready to grind at moment's notice. To keep things extra cold, I place the chunked up bison in the freezer for a short period until it's nearly frozen but still slightly pliable.

If you go the food processor route, you'll want to make sure that the pieces don't touch each other when freezing them so that they freeze evenly from all sides

With the grinder attachment, I grind the meat at a relatively high speed (on my Kitchenaid I go at a setting of 6 or 7) so that it gets ground before it begins to warm up. If you choose to grind it twice for a more uniform texture, make sure that it gets chilled again in between grinds if it begins to warm up.

In the food processor, you'll want to go in small batches, pulsing just until ground and dumping the ground meat out onto a rimmed baking sheet so you can pick through for any larger un-ground chunks that can go back into the processor with the next batch.

Once the meat is ground, minimum handling is the key to maintaining good texture. You just spent all that time and effort getting yourself some light, airy, fluffy, freshly ground meat to save you from using the pre-packaged stuff. The last thing you want to do is compress it!

I form patties directly on a rimmed baking sheet by dumping the ground meat out onto it and forming it into even piles, which I then gently form into shape, pressing the meat together just until it holds its shape and is flippable without falling apart.

Once you've got your patties formed, the only other thing to remember is that leaner bison burgers will cook a little bit faster than equivalently-sized beef burgers—fat is an insulator and will slow down the transfer of heat energy through a burger patty.

What does this mean? It means you'll want to really blast it with high heat in order to be able to get a nice char on its outer surface before it ends up overcooking in the center. To guarantee the juiciest, moistest interior, you'll want to check your burgers with an instant read thermometer and pull them off the grill when they hit around 125°F, which will guarantee a medium-rare center.

With really excellent meat, I often like to serve my burgers naked with nothing but perhaps a swipe of mayo and a slice of cheese. Of course, onions and pickles never hurt anyone.

Except maybe my cousin. If you ever meet him, ask him how he got those crazy eyes.

About the recipe

Like all burgers, I find the least amount of handling creates the best burger flavor. And simple flavors for this burger are best.

With this brand of ground bison, I’ve found no reason to add anything else to the burger to flavor it other that salt and pepper. So you can put away your panko crumbs, egg yolks and Worcestershire sauce. We’re having burgers tonight friends, not meatloaf.

Because the meat is 85% lean, the right cooking time is important. Just like other meats, bison cooking standards are 160 degree internal temperature. That DOES NOT mean you have to cook it to a charred, well-done burger puck. A few minutes on each side on a hot grill will keep your burgers meaty and juicy. Delish.

I was inspired to keep with the healthy flavors by making this burger California-style. And what’s more California-style than avocado, fresh tomato and sprouts.

Ketchup, mayo and even my beloved pickles are shelved in favor of spicy Dijon mustard, leafy green lettuce and a few thick slices of onion.

If you want to make this true California-style, go In-n-Out-style and make it “protein-style” and leave out the bun and wrap yours in an extra large leaf of red leaf lettuce instead.

And don’t forget the cheese! A slice of creamy Havarti adds the perfect mellow, melty cheesiness every burger needs.

If you try this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment below, or take a photo and tag it on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.

Recipe Summary

  • 2 pounds freshly ground bison meat
  • 3 teaspoons Ted's Special Spice Mixture
  • 4 cornmeal-dusted kaiser rolls, split
  • 8 slices cheddar
  • 4 leaves iceberg lettuce
  • 4 slices vine-ripened tomato

Preheat a griddle to medium-high. Make 4 equal-size hamburger patties from the ground bison meat, taking care not to overwork the patties.

Season both sides of each patty with 1/4 teaspoon of Ted's Special Spice Mixture, and place on griddle. Cover the burgers with a stainless steel bowl or other heat-proof, dome-shape object, and cook for 6 minutes. Turn the burgers over, and season the top of each burger again with 1/4 teaspoon of the spice mixture. Cover with the dome and continue to cook for 4 to 5 minutes, for medium.

Place 2 cheese slices on each burger and cook until the cheese melts. Butter the cut side of the rolls and place, cut side down, on the griddle. Cook until lightly toasted. Serve each burger on a roll with 1 lettuce leaf and 1 tomato slice per burger.