Recipe: Smoked Cheddar Bison Burgers

Recipe - Smoked Cheddar Bison Burgers

Recipe: Smoked Cheddar Bison Burgers

by Chef Ned Bell

Bison meat is leaner and significantly lower in cholesterol than beef, so your guests will forgive you should you get lavish with the roasted garlic mayonnaise. Serves 8 (makes 24 mini burgers)


1/2 cup cloves garlic, peeled
1 tsp olive oil
11/2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 cup mayonnaise

Jalapeño Ketchup
1 small jalapeño pepper
Vegetable oil
2 cups diced (1 inch) tomatoes
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
2 Tbsp malt vinegar
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 stick cinnamon

Bison Burgers
11/2 tsp oil
1 Tbsp roasted puréed garlic
1/2 cup diced (1/4 inch) white onion
1/2 cup diced (1/4 inch) celery
1/2 cup diced (1/4 inch) red bell pepper
1/4 cup ketchup
1 Tbsp + 11/2 tsp Dijon mustard
11/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp horseradish
3 eggs
2 cups fresh bread crumbs
11/2 tsp salt
11/2 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp + 11/2 tsp Cajun spice
21/2 lbs ground bison meat
24 mini-burger buns
1/4 cup jalapeño ketchup
24 slices smoked cheddar cheese
72 leaves lettuce
1/4 cup roasted garlic mayonnaise
Mini dill pickles for garnish


Preheat the oven to 350˚f. Toss garlic with oil in a bowl, then spread out on a small rimmed baking sheet. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown on the outside and soft inside. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Place roasted garlic, lemon juice and salt in a blender, then purée. Set aside 1 Tbsp of the roasted garlic purée for the bison burgers.

Place mayonnaise in a bowl and whisk in 1/4 cup of the roasted garlic purée. Cover and refrigerate. Will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Jalapeño Ketchup
Preheat the barbecue or oven broiler. Rub jalapeño with a little oil and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Place on the barbecue or under the broiler for 2 to 3 minutes, turning to char all sides. Remove from the oven, place in a bowl, cover and allow to cool. Remove and discard peel.

Place roasted jalapeño pepper and all of the remaining ingredients in a large pot on medium-low heat and simmer for about 1 hour, or until thick and dark red in colour. Remove and discard cinnamon. Purée in a blender or use a hand-held blender. Allow to cool, then refrigerate. Will keep for up to 2 weeks.

Bison Burgers
Heat oil in a pot on medium-high heat. Add garlic, onion, celery and red pepper, then cook for 5 to 6 minutes, or until caramelization begins and vegetables are soft. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Place the vegetable mixture, ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish and eggs in a bowl and mix well. In a second bowl, combine bread crumbs, salt, pepper and Cajun spice. In a third bowl, thoroughly mix the wet vegetable mixture and the dry bread crumb mixture with ground bison meat. Make twenty-four meatballs and flatten them to fit the buns you are using.

Preheat a grill or ridged pan on the stovetop to medium-high. Grill burgers for about 5 minutes on each side, or until cooked through (165˚f on a meat thermometer).

To Serve
Cut mini-burger buns in half sideways. On the bottom half of each bun, spread jalapeño ketchup, then top with a cooked burger, a slice of cheese, 3 leaves of lettuce, some garlic mayonnaise and the top half of the bun.

Place three mini-burgers on each warmed plate or arrange all of them on a warmed platter. Garnish with mini dill pickles.

Le Vieux Pin Époque or Apogée reds

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