Buffalo Burgers

Chef Andrew Dilda from Reata Restaurant in Sundance Square shares the recipe for juicy buffalo burgers.

Ground buffalo - 2 pounds
Kosher salt - to taste
Black pepper, coarsely ground - to taste
Canola oil - 2 to 3 tablespoons
Cheddar cheese - 8 slices (or cheese of your choice - ½ pound)
Hamburger buns - 4, sliced & toasted

Divide the raw ground buffalo into 4 equal portions, each about 8 ounces.

Loosely form each patty into a burger that's about ¾' thick.

Make a deep depression in the center of one side of each burger with your thumb.  The indention will allow the patty to hold its shape instead of swelling up in the center.

Season both sides of each burger with salt and pepper.


GAS OR CHARCOAL GRILL

Heat a gas grill to high or heat charcoal coals until they glow bright orange and ash over. Brush both sides of each burger with canola oil.

Grill burgers on the first side until golden brown and slightly charred - about 3 minutes - then flip.

Grill second side until golden brown and slightly charred - also about 3 minutes.


GRILL PAN ON STOVE

Heat a grill pan over high heat on top of the stove.

Brush both sides of each burger with canola oil.

Grill burgers on the first side until golden brown and slightly charred - about 3 minutes - then flip.

Grill second side until golden brown and slightly charred - also about 3 minutes.


SAUTE PAN ON STOVE OR GRIDDLE (PREFERABLY CAST IRON)

Heat canola oil in the pan or griddle over high heat until the oil begins to shimmer.

For an electric griddle, set to 350 degrees.

Cook burgers on the first side until golden brown and slightly charred - about 3 minutes - then flip.

Cook second side until golden brown and slightly charred - also about 3 minutes.


TEMPERATURE TIPS

There are certain tricks and visual cues that professionals use while cooking, however, the most reliable gauge is a thermometer.

Simply insert an instant-read thermometer through the side of the patty.

The perfect temperature to remove your burger from the heat is 150 degrees.

The meat will be slightly pink in the center and remain juicy.


TOAST BUNS

Brush the cut side on both top and bottom slices lightly with canola oil.

Place oiled side down on the grill or pan to toast until golden brown - approximately 1 minute, depending on the heat of your grill.


SUGGESTED BUFFALO BURGER TOPPINGS

Black Pepper Bacon

Apple wood smoked bacon - 1 pound
Light brown sugar - 2 teaspoons
Black pepper, coarsely ground - 1 teaspoon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lay bacon slices flat on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. 
In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar and black pepper together with your fingers.
Sprinkle the seasoning mixture over top of each bacon slice. 
Place in the oven for 10 minutes, or until desired crispness.

Caramelized Onions

Yellow onions - 2 large, julienne sliced
Canola oil - 1 tablespoon
Kosher salt - to taste
Black pepper, coarsely ground - to taste

Heat sauté pan over medium high heat.
Add canola oil to pan.
Add julienned onions.
Reduce heat to medium.
Sauté onions while stirring regularly, so they do not burn.
Cook until onions are golden brown.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.


BUILDING YOUR BURGER

While your buffalo burger is still on the grill, add 2 tablespoon of caramelized onions.

Top onions with 2 to 3 pieces of bacon.

Place cheese (2 slices - 2 ounces) on top of the bacon and onions.

Let the cheese begin to melt, then place top half of sliced, toasted bun on top of the melted cheese.

Carefully remove burger stack from the grill or pan with a spatula.

Place stack atop bottom half of sliced, toasted bun.                    

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