Basic BBQ Grilled Bison Burger
- 2 lbs ground bison, 80 to 90% lean, medium texture preferred
- 1 - 1 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/4 - 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- cooking oil (grape seed, peanut, or sunflower preferred) - DO NOT use Olive Oil
- Break the ground bison up into small chunks by hand; spread the chunks evenly over a baking sheet. Sprinkle the ground meat with salt and pepper.
- Shape the seasoned ground into 5 patties measuring about 4 inches in diameter and little over and inch thick. Try not to handle the meat excessively while shaping it into burgers. Over handling or compacting raw ground can result in a cooked burger that just doesn't have the right mouth feel to it. Density is increased and a lack of tenderness may be noticeable.
- Place the bison burger patties on a baking sheet or large plate. Cover burgers loosely with some plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the patties to set. (Patties can always be made well in advance.)
For Well Done Burgers
- Preheat one side of the barbecue so that a medium-hot grill surface temperature of 475 to 500F is maintained on that side. Check the temperature with a grill surfaced coil or laser thermometer. An oven thermometer can also be used, but is only accurate if covered for 2 or 3 minutes before the reading is taken. With one side of the barbecue at 475 to 500F, the opposite side of the grill with the lid closed will have a grill surface temperature of approximately 325 to 350F.
- If using charcoal, the hot coals should be distributed on one side of the barbecue so that similar temperatures are maintained - 475 to 500F on the medium-hot side and 325 to 350F on the medium side.
- Brush some cooking oil on the top side of the burgers. Quickly grease the preheated medium hot side of the grill with a rag or paper towel soaked with some cooking oil.
- Except when the burgers are being flipped over, the barbecue lid should remain closed during grilling. Grill the burgers on the medium-hot side for 4 minutes without disturbing. Flip the burgers over and continue to cook on the same side of the grill for another 3 minutes.
- Then shift the burgers over to the medium heat side of the grill well away from the direct heat coming from the fire.
- Cook the burgers for 6 to 7 minutes per side, or until an internal temperature of 155-156F is reached. Best to check temperature with a digital stick thermometer to be sure.
- After coming off the grill allow the burgers to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Within 2 or 3 minutes of resting the internal temperature of the burger will reach 160F - well done and very safe to eat.
- In our tests, a 90% lean bison burger with a starting raw weight of 6 1/4 ounces finished at 5 ounces when cooked this way. It was 1/2 ounce lighter than our medium-rare/medium burger, but still very juice and flavorful-even after 10 minutes of resting.
Grilling Bison Burgers to Medium-Rare or Medium Doneness
- Preheat the barbecue grill or prepare charcoal so that a medium-hot grill surface of 475 to 500F is maintained.
- Brush some cooking oil on the top side of the burgers. Quickly grease the preheated grill with a rag or paper towel soaked with some cooking oil. Place the burgers on the pre-heated grill, top side down.
- Except when the burgers are being flipped over, the barbecue lid should remain closed during grilling. Grill burgers for 4 minutes without disturbing. Open the barbecue lid, flip the burgers over and cook the opposite side for 3 minutes.
- Flip the seared burgers twice more over the next 4 to 6 minutes, or until an internal temperature of 135F to 140F is reached. Check with an instant-read digital stick thermometer to be sure. Approximate total cooking time: 11 to 13 minutes.
- After coming off the grill allow the burgers to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
- In our tests, a 90% lean 6 1/4 oz. bison burger finished at 5 1/2 ounces when cooked to medium-rare/medium doneness. Burgers were best 5 minutes off the grill, but they were acceptably hot and juicy after 10 minutes of resting as well.
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