Ground bison is a good alternative to regular ground beef. Try cooking bison burgers in the oven as an alternative to your everyday beef burger.
While a 3-ounce patty prepared from 70-percent lean ground beef has 235 total calories, 15.9 grams of fat and 6.2 grams of saturated fat, 3 ounces of cooked ground grass-fed bison is a healthier option, with features 152 calories, 7.3 grams of fat and 3 grams of saturated fat.
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In addition, the National Bison Association reports that bison meat is free of any added chemicals or hormones. You can substitute bison in any recipe that calls for ground beef. Tips for cooking bison burgers include cooking the meat more slowly, at a lower temperature.
Grill Up Bison Burgers
To grill ground bison burgers, you'll need to cook them over no higher than medium heat to prevent the patties from drying out and becoming tough.
For a gas grill, this is 350 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit; a charcoal grill has reached the correct temperature when you can only hold your hand 3 inches above the grate comfortably for four to five seconds.
Grill 1/2-inch-thick ground bison patties with the lid down for approximately two to three minutes on each side or until an instant-read meat thermometer registers 160 degrees F — the minimum safe temperature for consumption of bison meat, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Try Stovetop Bison Burgers
Use browned ground bison crumbles as a substitute for the same amount of browned ground beef in dishes like tacos, spaghetti sauce, soups, enchiladas or chili. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat, add the ground bison and allow it to cook, stirring it frequently. Do not raise the heat or the bison may scorch.
When the meat shows no visible pink, drain off any accumulated fat and use the cooked bison as desired. Although ground bison is lean, you can further reduce the fat content by putting the cooked meat in a colander, then rinsing and draining it with hot water before using.
Cooking Ground Bison Meat in Oven
Substitute ground bison for the ground beef in your favorite oven-friendly recipes like meatloaf or meatballs. After combining the ground bison with the rest of the required ingredients — breadcrumbs, eggs, milk, tomato paste, chopped onions and seasonings, for example — use your hands to gently mold the mixture into the desired shape.
Ground bison meatballs should be baked at 350 degrees F for approximately 15 minutes, while ground bison meatloaf needs about 60 minutes at the same cooking temperature.
Cook to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F for a medium-rare bison burger, according to the National Bison Association. However, note that this does not meet the minimum temperature of 160 degrees F that is considered safe for consumption of bison.
Read more: 5 Healthy Red Meat Recipes That Satisfy
Cook Under the Broiler
If you don't have a grill or the weather isn't conducive to outdoor cooking, use your broiler to prepare ground bison burgers. You'll need to position the patties farther away from the heating element than you would normally do for beef patties. According to the Wisconsin Bison Producers Association, bison tends to cook more quickly than higher-fat meats.
Place the formed ground bison patties on a rack positioned in a rimmed baking sheet. Put the baking sheet in the middle of the oven and broil for approximately 10 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F.
- National Bison Association: "Bison is Nature's Perfect Protein"
- USDA FoodData Central: "Beef, Ground, 70% Lean Meat / 30% Fat, Patty, Cooked, Broiled"
- USDA FoodData Central: "Bison, Ground, Grass-Fed, Cooked"
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: "Complete List of Cooking Temperatures"
- Wisconsin Bison Producers Association: "Bison Facts"
- National Bison Association: "How to Cook Bison"
- The Bison Council: Spicy Saucy Bison Meatballs
- The Bison Council: Pure Comfort Bison Meatloaf
- Wisconsin Bison Producers Association: Bison Cooking Tips
- Chow: Bison Bacon Cheeseburger Recipe