Our First Smoke – Smoked Bison Burgers
Smoked Bison Burgers are the easiest thing to make when learning how to smoke meat. Have you had the chance to experiment with Bison meat? Since Bison farming runs in the family I sometimes have the opportunity to make delicious meals out of purely organic grassfed Bison on a semi-regular basis. In this post my husband and I finally brought out the smoker to make these mouthwatering Smoked Bison Burgers.
Our yard is slowly coming together but it has been a tough go. Mother Nature’s timing was off this year and she threw us all out of whack! We endured huge dumps of early Spring snow than suddenly the weather turned hot and there was absolutely no ‘in between’ for a while. I actually thought that maybe Spring wasn’t going to happen. Despite the strange weather (or perhaps because of it) I was able to get my garden planted during the second week of May but the rest of the yard sat untended to for what seemed like quite a while.
When June comes around, well…it’s a totally different story. I just love sunny June weekends, the kind where I can spend a day puttering around the back yard; shovels and watering cans in hand. Sunday was that day, a day of backyard planting followed by plans to celebrate a beautiful spring evening with an inaugural smoke session in our new smoker. By ‘new’ I mean that it arrived to me as a Christmas gift from my husband…though I have serious doubts about the intent of the gift (RE: He’s the barbecuer in this house!). It’s a very rudimentary smoker (not a fancy one with timers and a pellet feeder) and it seems like he was a bit too eager to give it to ME for Christmas. I knew right away that I wouldn’t be the one to use it…I’ll be the one dreaming up recipes and ideas for how I would like said recipe smoked and that is entirely okay with me.
After much deliberation, we decided burgers were an easy item to start our smoking adventure with so we thawed two pounds of minced Bison from my uncle Glenn’s Bison farm. The Bison burger mixture wasn’t much different than what we usually add to our regular burger meat but I put a bit more thought about the extra delicious bits surrounding my Smoked Bison Burger.
The slightly wild flavour of the Bison really mingled with the smoke and I didn’t have to search too far to find the right condiment to accompany the burgers. Every year I put up a batch of homemade Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce and the sweet, sour, slightly spicy sauce was a perfect match. It’s very similar to ketchup but because it’s made from rhubarb, it is entirely night shade free (though obiviously I am not…love my tomatoes!)
Since the smoker was going anyway, my husband sliced a half of an onion and wrapped loosely in foil so that it would also pick up some smoke flavour while it cooked. Though it was a great idea, the onions definitely needed a bit more time to be fully smoked and softened. On any burger, cheese selection is of utmost importance and I wanted a cheese that could stand on it’s own but also compliment the dominant flavours of Bison and Rhubarb. Locally produced Sylvan Star Medium Gouda was my top choice and readily available at our nearest grocery store. It’s a bit too early yet for my lettuce to be up in the garden produce gorgeous but I did find a reasonable local greenhouse grown facsimiles.
Get GRILLING with Dish ‘n’ the Kitchen:
Backyard Smoked Bison Burgers
Backyard Smoked Bison Burgers
- 2 lbs ground Bison
- 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 egg; beaten
- Salt and Pepper
- 1/3 cup onions; finely chopped
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
- half a large Vidalia onion
- TOPPINGS: Medium Gouda, Tomato, Lettuce, Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce
- Oak Bourbon Barrel wood chips, charcoal briquettes, water
MethodFOR THE ONIONS:
- Slice the half onion into rings.
- Season with Salt and Pepper.
- Arrange in a single layer, drop a few pats of butter over the onions.
- Place on a large sheet of Aluminum foil and cover loosely.
- Cook over medium heat for about an hour depending on how soft you prefer them.
- Place ground Bison and seasonings in a large bowl. Add spices, egg, and breadcrumbs.
- Mix thoroughly and divide into 8 equal amounts. Flatten into burgers and refrigerate until smoker is ready.
- Soak your wood chips in a bowl of water.
- Light about half your charcoal in a charcoal chimney using paper as a starter. It takes about 20 minutes for the charcoal to be red hot.
- Load the rest of your charcoal to heat the smoker for 1.5-2 hours and mix in the hot charcoal so it can spread.
- When the smoker is up to temperature (medium-high) add wood chips onto the coals, fill the water pan and place on lower rack..
- Cook burgers for 45-60 min (depending on how hot your smoker is) to target internal temperature of 65C (150F) check with meat thermometer.
- Optional, when you are close to being done the burgers (estimate 5-10 min) place slice of cheese on top and let it melt.