Grilled Bison Burgers

holding grilled bison burger

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Bison is a fantastic meat for burgers and a great way to switch it up the next time you grill. 

Bison is known for being super lean, but it’s still packed full of flavor. It’s not overly gamely but has a lot of similarities in flavor to standard beef burgers, but with a heartier flavor profile.

It’s also extremely rich in protein, has fewer calories and less saturated fat than beef making it a healthier choice for burgers. 

I love a great grilled bison burger, and today I’m going to share my recipe along with some tips and tricks so you can grill tasty bison burgers right at home!

What is bison?

American bison, not to be confused with buffalo, is a large animal that can be found all over the United States and parts of Canada.

Buffalo is found throughout Asia and Africa, though people often confuse the two species.

Bison live in open grasslands and are not domesticated or bred commercially, which makes bison a bit harder to find than beef.

Where can I buy bison meat?

Bison meat has gained a lot of popularity in recent years and can be found in many grocery stores and supermarkets.

The ground bison I used in this recipe was from my local HEB grocery store, a brand called Force of Nature. They offer 100% grass-fed ground bison, along with other game meats such as venison and elk.

If you are unable to find ground bison in your local store, you can purchase premium quality ground bison from Crowd Cow.

How should bison burgers be cooked?

Because bison is extremely lean meat and only contains about 10% fat, it should never be cooked further than medium. Medium-rare to rare is recommended for bison to prevent the patties from drying out.

If you’re not a fan of a rare burger, this might not be the best option for you. I do urge you to try it, and remember the red juice you see isn’t actually blood!

To keep an eye on the temperature of your bison patties while grilling them, I recommend using an instant-read thermometer. I like to use the ThermoWorks ThermoPop for this application. It takes temperature very quickly and accurately, and preventing me from overcooking or keeping my smoker open too long.

How to make Grilled Bison Burgers

1. Make the patties

a jar of djon mustard, packet of ground bison neat and a glass jar of spices
The seasonings I used were Kosher salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and chili powder.

Combine the meat, mustard, and 1 teaspoon of each seasoning. It’s important not to overwork your meat, though, as this will affect the texture of your burgers, and not in a good way.

raw bison meat and seasoning on a marble board
The mustard will add flavor to your burgers, as well as add additional moisture to the meat. This is important because, as I mentioned before, bison is a very lean meat.

Once combined, use your hands to form 2 half-pound patties.

raw bison patties on a white plate
Sprinkle the remaining salt and pepper onto the top and bottom of the patties before they hit the grill.

2. Grilling

Fire up the grill to 500°F (medium-high heat).

For this recipe, I used my Napoleon Freestyle 425 propane grill. I love using a propane grill for burgers because I am able to get nice, even heat across the grates and ensure my burgers cook evenly.

You can also opt to use a charcoal grill for this recipe as long as you can maintain a steady temperature.

Place your burger patties directly on the grates.

raw bison burgers on the grill

You are going to let them cook for about 5 to 7 minutes per side until they reach an internal temperature of 135°F for medium rare.

bison pattie on the grill

In the last 2 minutes, add a slice of Swiss cheese to the top of each burger and close the grill to let the cheese melt.

two bison patties on the grill with a slice of swiss cheese on top

Place the buns with the inside down and let them cook for 2 to 3 minutes until they are golden brown.

burger buns toasting on the grill
I also like to toast my buns directly on the grill grates to get them nice and toasty.

3. Build your bison burger

Once your burgers are cooked and your buns are toasted, you are ready to build your burger.

Just like any regular beef burger, you can add whatever toppings you like.

burger bun with lettuce, patty, cheese, tomato and onion rings on a wooden board

I decided to keep it simple with a bit of shredded lettuce, sliced tomato, sliced red onion, and a nice smear of Dijon mustard on the top bun. I find that the combination of Dijon mustard and Swiss cheese is a killer combination on a burger!

What should I serve with Grilled Bison Burgers?

Just like a traditional beef burger, a bison burger pairs perfectly with fries, tater tots, and a number of other great barbecue sides.

Here are some great side dishes we recommend:

grilled bison burger

Grilled Bison Burgers

A burger built with grilled bison patties, lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, onions and a lick of Dijon mustard.
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 22 minutes
Servings: 2
Calories: 646kcal
Author: Breanna Stark

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground bison (90/10)
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper ground
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 burger buns

Instructions

  • Preheat your grill to 500°F.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the meat, mustard, and 1 tsp of each of the seasonings. Do not overmix the meat.
  • Using your hands, form 2 half pound patties.
  • Season the top and bottom of the patties with the remaining kosher salt and black pepper.
  • Place your burger patties directly on the grates of your grill and let them cook for 5 to 7 minutes per side, until they reach an internal temperature of 135°F.
  • While your burgers are cooking, toast your burger buns on the grates for 2-3 minutes.
  • In the last 2 minutes of cooking, add a slice of Swiss cheese to the top of each burger patty.
  • Remove the patties from the grill and build your burger with your favorite toppings.

Nutrition

Calories: 646kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 48g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 159mg | Sodium: 2788mg | Potassium: 847mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 806IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 109mg | Iron: 8mg
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