Buffalo is all the rage these days as a replacement for ground beef. It's a lot leaner than beef and has a fantastic, rich flavor that ground beef just can't deliver.
Since I grew up in Wyoming, I've actually been eating buffalo for a while now. These days you can find it ground in a good number of supermarkets throughout the U.S. Since demand has been exploding for this tasty meat, supply hasn't been able to keep up. This means that ground buffalo meat is pretty pricey these days and--at least for me--is for special occasions.
My special occasion on this day was…that I wanted a really good burger. What's a guy to do?
I spiced up the meat with some traditional flavors used in Buffalo wings: hot sauce, a touch of tomato paste, butter, and blue cheese piled high.
RECIPE: Buffalo Buffalo Burger
The thing to remember about buffalo meat is that it's naturally very lean. For me, a good burger needs some fat in it. There's just no other way to keep it nice and juicy.
So, when I'm using a lean meat to make burgers, I usually add in some fat by mashing in some butter. Of course, you could leave this out if you're watching your calories, but in my opinion, the end result is worth the few extra calories.
Making these burgers is easy. Just dice up a bit of onion and mix it with the ground buffalo along with a tiny bit of tomato paste and hot sauce. Season the meat well with salt and pepper and form four large patties out of the mixture.
When your patties are formed, use your thumb to put a divot in the middle of each burger. As the burger cooks, the center will expand and fill the hole, giving you a flat burger instead of a football-shaped burger.
It's winter, but I decided to fire up my grill anyway. You could also cook these in a cast iron skillet if you wanted. What you're looking for is high heat to really get a good sear on the burgers.
About four or five minutes per side should give you a perfect medium burger.
A minute or two before the burgers are ready to come off, add a big handful (about an ounce) of crumbled blue cheese. This finishes off the whole buffalo theme.
Once the cheese gets a bit melty, serve the burgers on toasted buns with a big piece of lettuce and few extra squirts of hot sauce for good measure.
I was a bit worried the hot sauce and everything would overpower the buffalo flavor, but I could still taste it just fine. If you've never buffalo meat, it's somehow meatier than beef. If you can imagine that. And it holds up just fine to lots of flavor.
If you can't find buffalo meat though, you can easily make these by substituting beef. Depending on the fat content of your ground beef, you may or may not need the butter.
Burgers don't get much better than this!Nick sang "Buffalo Soldier" the entire time he made these. He sings regularly while he blogs at Macheesmo and while he updates his Tablespoon profile.