A new organic grocery store opened about 15 minutes away from my house, and I couldn’ t be more excited. Yes, I’m being serious. I love exploring new grocery stores! Call me weird if you want, but I love perusing each and every aisle for new products, so I was thrilled to have the chance to do just that recently.
On my first trip, one of the things that caught my eye (and that I subsequently came home with) is organic ground extra-lean bison. Have you ever tried bison before? Up until a few months ago, I hadn’t. Naturally, I did some research (hello Google!) and was pleasantly surprised to find that bison is leaner than beef, pork, chicken, and most fish. In addition, it is higher in iron and protein than beef, and is lower in fat and calories. Sounds good to me! Oh yes, and it tastes good to boot 🙂 I think we have a winner on our hands!
Today seemed like as good of a day as any to do something with the bison, and so I figured burgers would be the perfect fit. I don’t know about you, but burgers seem to be one of those things that I always either love or hate…no middle ground. I was spoiled fortunate to grow up in a household where homemade burgers were the norm, but not the kind that some people in the 80’s grew up with involving equal parts sawdust bread crumbs and ground beef. No no, my parents used the good stuff – Lipton onion soup mix and lean ground beef! They always tasted great, but were predictable. I like a little more variety in my meals that my parents do (sorry, Mom and Dad), so since I think that the meat is really just a starting point I try to experiment a little more. Upon opening my fridge tonight, I found some blue cheese that I figured would be a natural complement and so blue cheese bison burgers were born. Hmmm…what else? I think that many things are better with bacon in them, and since burgers are no exception why don’t we throw some in to the burgers too? No objections? Good – I just love it when you agree with me.
What’s that? You think they sound great? Me too. So let’s get cooking already!
Here’s what we’re going to need:
Ground bison (I think that’s about 1lb), parsley, red onion, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, blue cheese, bacon, stampede bbq seasoning, salt and pepper.
To get things started, go ahead and chop up 4 slices of bacon…
…and go put on elastic waist pants. You’ll thank me later.
Using a food processor or your superior knife skills, finely mince some red onion so it goes from this…
Add about 1/4 c of the minced onion to the bison, and then throw a handful of parsley into the food processor and do the same thing.
Add about 1/4 to the bison and red onion, and then throw 3 cloves of garlic into the food processor…
Ok, I’ll stop. You know the drill.
Add about 1 TBSP of Worcestershire sauce too, for good measure.
Did you notice that I’m actually using a measuring spoon instead of just pouring a glug in and calling it a tablespoon? I’m trying to be more duplicatable. And you’re welcome.
Wait a minute! What about the bacon?!?! Can’t forget about it!
Whew…just in the nick of time. If I burnt the bacon, I would be very, very sad. Remove the bacon to a paper-towel lined plate and let it drain for a few minutes. This is a HEALTHY burger we’re making, after all.
Back to the burger. A few months ago I picked up a bottle of PC BBQ Stampede Seasoning (or something along those lines), and I figured I might as well try it out in (on?) these burgers. So I did. I added one tsp to start.
Mix everything up gently. Don’t be shy, use your hands already! Just wash them first, ok?
Now, it’s time to add the cheese and bacon. Since blue cheese is strong, I’m going to start with adding 1/4 c of crumbles and see if it needs anymore. Let’s add the cooked bacon now too, just cause we can.
Ok, you caught me: the truth is I didn’t want to write down the “recipe” as I was going, so I figured if I added 1/4 c of everything it would be easy to remember. Sorry. Sort of. Ok, not at all. Does this change how you feel about me?
Gently mix in the cheese and bacon…
Now, here’s where making burgers is tricky. It LOOKS good, but we all know that looks can be deceiving. If you’re the type to taste raw meat, go right ahead, but if you’re not (and I’m not, for the record), make up a small tsp sized patty and fry it up to check the seasoning levels. It may seem like an extra step, but its better to know now than to cook under-seasoned burgers. Trust me. I’ve done it. And I want you to learn from me.
Besides, it only takes a minute or two. Think of it as an amuse bouche of sorts.
Hmmm…lets see. I was holding back on the seasoning due to the BBQ Stampede Seasoning since I didn’t want them to be too salty, but these definitely need some salt and pepper. Let’s add a generous pinch of salt, some freshly cracked black pepper, and another tsp of our seasoning blend. Yes, I think that should do the trick.
Gently incorporate the additional seasonings, and then shape the meat into a giant ball. Divide into 4 equal sized portions, or more/less depending on how big you like your burgers.
If you’re like me and you realize that your BBQ is out of propane (oops – how terribly irresponsible of me), shape each portion into a round patty and put them on a foil-lined baking sheet.
Broil for 8-10 minutes or until they’re done to your liking. Since bison is leaner than beef, you’ll want to watch these so they don’t dry out.
Meanwhile…let’s talk about burger toppings, shall we? Hmm…what do do, what to do…
Remember the bacon that we made a few minutes ago? You didn’t think I was going to let the bacon grease go to waste, did you?
Ah – so much better!
Oh ya – now we’re talking!
The burgers should be almost done, so let’s build a better burger, ok?
Let’s start with the bun. To toast or not to toast? That is the question.
For me, the answer is to toast, but you can decide what it is for you. I won’t judge. On purpose, anyways.
Remember the red pepper chutney I demonstrated about a month ago? I think that would be fabulous on the burger, so let’s start with some of that. Then add the burger on top, and some carmelized red onions for good measure.
Couldn’t you just take a big bite right now?
Wait a minute!
I turn my back for a minute, and someone must have added extra bacon and blue cheese on top of my burger! And then, to top it all off, they had the nerve to steal my camera and take a picture for you all to see! Oh the horror! I will take one for the team this one time. Sigh. The torture that is my life.
Alright – nothing to lose (except for any hope of a girlish figure) so I’ll take a bite. YUM – The sweetness of the chutney is the perfect complement to the sharpness of the cheese, and the meat is perfectly cooked. These burgers, my friends, are definitely a good thing.