What You Need To Pay Attention To When Cooking Bison Burgers

The quest to perfect your ultimate burger is going to involve a lot of variables even before you add a new meat like bison to the mix: Do you want the smokiness of a grilled burger, or is the hard sear of cast-iron more your calling? Then there are those all-important toppings where you can swing from the simplicity of ketchup and pickles or indulge in the savory sweetness of caramelized onions and sharp cheddar. And any hardcore burger lover knows it's not just enough to grab any ground beef — you have to know exactly what cuts you are getting and what kind of fat ratio you're dealing with.

Getting that meat ratio is crucial because fat is what is going to give you a juicy burger. As Serious Eats says, if you go for a cut like sirloin you are going to get a burger that's dry and grainy, but more fatty chuck can leave things lacking in the flavor department. Then there is the complication that sometimes the best beef for your burgers isn't beef at all. 

Bison can be switched out for beef in almost any recipe according to Kitchn, but it brings its own distinct flavor that you may even prefer to your normal burger mix.

Don't cook your bison burgers for too long

Bison meat can be used as a healthier alternative to beef because it's naturally lower in fat and calories, but that doesn't mean it's going to let you down in flavor or texture. The Spruce Eats explains that bison tastes a lot like beef, not gamey like some people expect, and it has a subtle sweetness to make it stand out. You just need to be careful with leaner ground bison because if you cook it like a beef burger it can end up dry. According to Serious Eats this is because bison's lower fat content will render out quicker and speed up the cooking of the interior. So make sure you brown your bison burgers quicker and check the interior temperature (125 degrees Fahrenheit is the goal for medium-rare).

So why would you want to use bison in your burgers if they overcook more easily? Well, despite the lower fat content, bison meat has a well-marbled texture, meaning it will still be juicier and more tender than equivalently lean beef, per The Spruce Eats. It's also just nice to mix things up. Overcooking is a problem that can be solved easily with a little proactive attention, and bison can bring new unique flavor to old favorites like burgers and chili

So next time you're planning to satiate your burger craving, don't hesitate to give bison a try — just be sure you treat it right and maybe make sure it wasn't previously mummified.