I have eaten a lot of burgers in my time, and have never, ever succeeded in making a burger at home that rivaled a restaurant burger…until now. For me, the best home cooked burgers are the backyard burger variety – ketchup, mustard, lettuce, tomato, a grill. That’s all fine and dandy for a summer barbecue, but we can do so much more! This bison burger with caramelized onions and bacon, is that succulent, food coma inducing burger that we all crave. And it’s really easy.
I have seen bison on the shelf at grocery stores but never really thought much of it. I have had bison burgers before and remember enjoying them, but usually they were covered in so many other goodies that I wasn’t sure if the choice of meat had made much of a difference. I recently read Larry Olmsted’s book Real Food, Fake Food, and loved every second of it. (I highly recommend – it isn’t scare tacticky, but very fact based)
Without getting into the nitty gritty details of what he had to say about beef, he made an interesting point about how the bison market is not as competitive as the beef market. At all. He more or less argues that because of the smaller size of the bison industry, their designations of their products are more likely to be true (i.e. the unregulated use of “grass fed”). So anyway, long story short, he got me thinking about bison. I figured I should give it a go and try cooking bison at home and see what I think.
Well, my verdict: bison is in fact delicious. The meat itself is so flavorful unlike store bought ground beef. It takes spices really well, locks in flavor, and to my surprise, is actually quite moist. I made these burgers once with 90/10 and again with 85/15. Both burgers were yummy, but there was a slight texture difference. The fattier mix was a little bit more crumbly, and the 90/10 held together a bit better. But both times, the meat was tender and juicy, and was so much more enjoyable than even the “grass fed” beef I buy from the same place.
For this recipe, I added some heat to the meat because of how well it balances with the sweetness of the onion and bacon. The caramelized onions with bacon are so sweet and salty, and the whiskey adds a fantastic burst of flavor. Between the cayenne in the bison meat, and the sugar and whiskey in the onions, this bison burger with caramelized onions and bacon is a flavor bomb.
What I love about this recipe aside from the taste is how simple it is. We made this and ate it in less than an hour, and we did not have to brave the freezing rain outside to use a grill. It’s a simple recipe, that really only requires two components. I hope you give this a try, or give bison a try in general, and let me know what you think!