Food

CL Approved: Buffalo Girl Cooks Bison by Jennifer Bain

By: Canadian Living
Canadian Living
Food

CL Approved: Buffalo Girl Cooks Bison by Jennifer Bain

By: Canadian Living
Jennifer Bain, cookbook author and food editor for the Toronto Star, wants everyone to love bison. According to Bain,  "Bison is a lean, wildly delicious alternative red meat that comes from heritage animals that are humanely raised and no longer endangered. You can raise bison, but you can't domesticate them. They're wild. They breed naturally. As ranchers like to say, you can lead a bison anywhere it wants to go." [caption id="attachment_14893" align="alignnone" width="620"] Buffalo Girl Cooks Bison by Jennifer Bain Photo by Ryan Szulc; courtesy of TouchWood Editions.[/caption] Up until recently, my only taste of bison, also known as buffalo (the names are interchangeable) was a delicious bison burger bought from a food truck many years ago. So when Buffalo Girl Cooks Bison arrived in the Test Kitchen, I was intrigued. The cookbook includes many recipes for ground bison, including an amazing burger (see below), but it also includes recipes for roasts, steaks, ribs, sausages and odd bits. Bain's love of bison inspired me to try bison again, and this time I wanted to try a roast. Bain was kind enough to supply ground bison and a blade roast from her ranch in Foremost, Alberta. With the blade roast I made pulled bison. The bison is rubbed with a brown sugar, cumin, cayenne and coffee dry rub then braised in the slow cooker. I piled the shredded bison meat on a fresh Kaiser bun and drizzled on some of the reduced cooking juices (pulled pork sandwich style). The pulled bison was very good, the flavour was similar to beef, but taken up a notch. Someone in the Test Kitchen even referred to it as "a stampede of flavour!" Pulled Bison sandwich Bain offers this advice when cooking bison, "...bison cooks faster than beef. Be gentle and you'll be fine. And don't worry - the meat doesn't taste wild or gamy. It is slightly sweet, rich, and very flavourful." With the ground bison, I made these Mustard-Smashed Bison Cheeseburgers + Saucy Onions. Bain refers to these as her perfect burger. The mustard-smash technique comes from famous burger joints as In-N-Out Burger in the US, and Burger's Priest in Toronto, among others. As promised, the burgers were super flavourful and not gamy tasting at all. To me, the secret sauce pushes these burgers over the top. I even made extra sauce to dip the burger before each bite. Mustard Smashed Bison Cheeseburgers + Saucy Onions Mustard-Smashed Bison Cheeseburgers + Saucy Onions Makes 4 burgers Fried Onions: 2 onions (yellow, white or red), chopped or halved and thinly sliced 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil Secret Sauce: 2 Tbsp mayonnaise 1 Tbsp ketchup 2 tsp sweet green relish ½ tsp granulated sugar ½ tsp white vinegar Cheeseburgers: 1 lb ground bison Kosher salt Prepared yellow mustard 2 slices cheddar 4 small, soft white hamburger buns (such as Wonder), warmed in the microwave 2 slices tomato 4 small leaves green leaf lettuce Ketchup   Place the onions in a large nonstick skillet. Drizzle with the oil. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring, for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking, stirring often, until the onions are nicely browned, about 25 minutes. For the sauce, in a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, ketchup, relish, sugar, and vinegar. (Makes about ¼ cup.) You can refrigerate the onions and sauce until needed. When you're ready to eat, put the onions and 2 tablespoons of sauce (or more/less to taste) in a small skillet and warm over medium heat. Or microwave until warm. Or stir together and serve cold. For the burgers, heat a large cast-iron or heavy skillet (or the flat side of a cast-iron griddle if you have one) over medium heat for at least 15 minutes. Divide the meat into 4 equal portions and gently form loose (not compact) balls. Sprinkle the tops with salt. Squirt a generous dollop (about 2 teaspoons) of mustard on each ball. Place the balls 2 at a time in the hot skillet, mustard sides down. Cook undisturbed for 1 minute. Using two metal spatulas, crisscrossed to give you leverage, quickly flatten each ball with a firm "smash" to form patties that are 4 inches in diameter and about ¾ inch thick. Cook for 2½ minutes. Carefully flip the burgers, using one the spatulas to scrape up any crusty brown bits with the meat. Top each patty with a cheese slice. Cook until the burgers are no longer pink inside and their juices run clear, or until a digital thermometer reads 160°F, about 2 to 3 minutes. Place 1 patty on the bottom half of each bun. Top each with saucy onions, tomato, lettuce, and ketchup (in that order). Cover with the top halves of the buns. ~ Where to buy bison: Ask at your local butcher shop. If they don't have it in stock, they may be able to special order it for you. Farmer's markets and natural food stores may have some frozen bison, and occasionally it is available in some grocery stores, including Costco. Also try  The Canadian Bison Association website. Bain recommends buying directly from a rancher and have it shipped to you directly. Want to cook bison? Click here for our flavourful  Stout-Braised Bison Short Ribs, or here for more recipes and bison cooking tips!   Cover photo, excerpts and recipe courtesy of TouchWood Editions. Photography (pulled bison and bison burger) by Leah Kuhne  
Share X
Food

CL Approved: Buffalo Girl Cooks Bison by Jennifer Bain

Login