I'm a big fan of bison meat. It's lean. The fatty acid profile is significantly better than conventionally raised beef (with a more natural balance between Omega 6 and 3). And it's got the delicious taste of wild "game" even though it's farm raised.
The only downfall of bison, and other very lean meats, is how easily they can dry out. It's not really a problem. It just means you have to learn suitable cooking techniques.
One of my favorite ways to prepare ground bison is my famous Delicious Sweet-Hot Chipotle Bison Burgers (OK-they're not really famous-but I really like them).
Here's what you'll need:
- 2 lbs ground bison
- handful fresh parsley
- 1/2 small onion
- 1 or two packets stevia (to taste)
- 1 or 2 chipotle peppers (with a couple tbs of sauce)
Roughly chop your parsley and onion and then throw them into a food processor. Whiz them until they're almost a pulp.
Put your chipotles in a bowl with their sauce and dice them up finely with a fork and a sharp knife. Mix in the stevia then add the rest of the ingredients and start mashing. Get your hands in there and squeeze everything through your fingers until it is thoroughly mixed together.
Form the mixture into patties according to your taste. I like to make fairly large patties and I find making them relatively thin works better. They end up cooking faster without drying out.
Heat your BBQ as hot as you can get it. Put the burgers on and leave the heat high to sear one side. Keep an eye on them. This can take as little as 45 seconds. Flip them and turn your flame almost all the way down. The residual heat will sear the other side but then the grill will cool so the inside can keep cooking without burning the outside. Leave them for a couple minutes and then flip one more time (yes-my timing is very scientific-just keep an eye on them).
I like to cook mine medium rare. I know and trust the origin and handling of my meat, so sometimes I'll even cook it rare. Anything more than medium and bison is ruined though.
Here's a trick to check your doneness. Press your thumb together with your middle finger (the one you use to flip the "bird"). Now press the pad of flesh below your thumb in your palm. Then press your burger. If it feels similar, it's medium rare. For rare, press the thumb to the index finger and use the same method.
Here's an illustration of what I'm talking about from Simply Recipes. They also have the corresponding finger tests for all the other levels of doneness.
What keeps the burgers moist?
The pulped parsley and onion isn't just there for taste (although there IS that), they also add a ton of moisture to the mix and make for super juicy burgers. Especially if you get the searing step right, as this traps the moisture inside the burger. The juice from the chipotles serves the same purpose.
A final tip for juiciness is to let your burgers sit for a couple of minutes once you take them off the grill. This somehow seems to allow the juices to settle into the meat (again-I realize my explanations lack scientific rigor-I just do it...).
I often eat mine on their own with a bit of dijon mustard on the side. But if you want the conventional burger experience you can throw it in an Ezekiel sprouted grain bun with your favorite fixin's.
I'll follow this up at some point with some tips for getting bison steak right on the barbie and also for cooking a mean pot roast in no time using a pressure cooker. Let us know if you have your own favorite bison recipes.