No. 237: Bison Burgers with Caramelized Onions

For our final night with guests, we wanted to make something delicious but also simple to finish out the long weekend.

I've long been a big fan of bison burgers and order them where I can. Buffalo/bison the original 'grass fed' beef option. It was my first time making it at home, though!


1 large onion, sliced into thin half moons
3 large/thick slices of bacon, diced
1 pound ground bison
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon olive oil
4 hamburger buns
4 slices sliced cheddar cheese
Dijon mustard and lettuce for serving

To make

Dice bacon and cook in a medium saute pan over medium heat until golden and crispy. Remove bacon from drippings with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Reduce heat to low. Add onions to the pan with the bacon grease, sprinkle with salt, and sauté until tender and golden brown, stirring often, about 35 minutes. Give yourself enough time to let the onions slowly 'melt' down and brown.

While onions simmer away, gently mix meat and next five ingredients (including oil) in large bowl.

Bison mix

Shape into four 1/2-inch-thick patties. Sprinkle burgers with salt and pepper and grill (over charcoal or in a grill pan is fine too) over medium heat. Cook until well browned, about 3 minutes per side for medium-rare.

Toast buns on the grill and then open and arrange, cut side up, on rimmed baking sheet. Place cheese slices on bun tops. Spread bottom halves with mustard. Top each with a few lettuce leaves, then burger. Spoon onions atop burgers, dividing equally. Cover with bun tops; press lightly.

The results

Man on man, were these good. These must have been the juiciest burgers we have had in a long time.


My original plan was just to crisp up bacon to go with the Brussels sprouts on the side, but when I realized I had all that yummy grease I decided to use it for caramelizing the onions. Best decision of my life. They were smokey and full of flavor.

Even better, when I removed the onions from the pan there was still plenty of yummy bacon oil for me to crisp up the sprouts.

I highly recommend trying out bison for your next beef substitute. We are definitely going to be trying it in a few other things this year.

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Amelia McCormick

Kansas girl transplanted to Asheville, North Carolina. Smiler, lover of great food and wine, facilitator, runner, storyteller, wife, optimist, and mother of sweet twins:)

Asheville, North Carolina