Let me start by sharing a story. I received an email today from one of my siblings to let me know that our mother is actually a good cook (you must read the ‘About Joe’ page to understand) I assume she was implying that I was bagging on my parents, specifically my moms, cooking skills.
To put the record straight, let me just say this… both of my parents are the best parents a person can have and they have given, and continue to give me everything that a son could want, really! Well they could have been rich and could have set up a trust for me, but… oh crap, I’m not bagging on them again, am I.
Seriously, my mother, who has a rocking sense of humor, cooked us a meal every night and it was always on the table at 5:00. All I’m saying is that she was not a master cook and most of the food we ate, though good, was basic. There were meals she made that I would die to eat right now… Chicken and Chinese Noodles, Lasagna, Raviolis and Meatballs to name just a few.
Oh one more thing on a personal note… My paintball game on Sunday was awesome and I ruled the day and marked 6 times as many enemies as I was marked.
On to the good part, Buffalo Cheeseburger. Since I made the buffalo meatloaf a few days ago I’ve been thinking about a buffalo cheeseburger. So I did some research last night and found out a few more things about buffalo meat.
Buffalo contains about 1/5th the amount of fat and only 65% of the calories as beef. Because it is very lean, it is easy to overcook, especially on the grill. In fact the meat does not contain the marbling that you will find in beef, very little fat on this animal. One solution is to include some ground chuck. About 75% buffalo meat to 25% chuck seems to be the answer. I’ve also read about adding olive oil to the meat before forming the patties. Didn’t try it, but it sounds interesting.
On to the ingredients, Nancy suggested I use Muenster cheese, which is a smooth textured cheese with an orange rind exterior and a white interior. It is made from cows’ milk and the orange color is derived from vegetable coloring. It has a very mild flavor and smooth, soft texture. I didn’t want to stop at another store, already stopping at the butcher to get the buffalo on the way home and she offered to pick it up at Trader Joe’s so of course I said yes. Oh and I purchased a huge brisket at the butcher that I’m going to cook this weekend, stay tuned for that one!
I wanted to include caramelized onions for sure and I choose red onions for the sweet mild flavor. I’m tired of burger buns so I went with English muffins which I intended to spread some butter on and toast ’em up on the grill. As to everything else, I felt simple was better since I really wanted to taste the Bison, not a million ingredients. The only other addition was some vine-ripe tomatoes, salt, pepper and some romaine lettuce that I had in the fridge.
Well, the question I know you want answered… were they good? Six people tried them and the vote was overwhelmingly positive with comments like “these are great”, “interesting flavor… I like it”, “wow first time for buffalo, good”. I thought they were good, very meaty tasting, not gamey, but meaty. The caramelized onions made the whole dish for me. The Muenster cheese was great, didn’t take away from the flavor of the meat, but added a creaminess to the dish which contrasted the onions and the romaine.
Try them out and let me know what you think… all comments welcome, well maybe not all comments. I don’t want to hear anything about the fact that I’ve become a food snob and how unappreciative I am! haha! Love you family!
Buffalo Cheeseburger with Caramelized Onions
- 1 1/2 pounds ground buffalo
- 1/2 pound ground chuck (15 to 20% fat)
- 2 cups of red onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons butter plus more to spread on English muffins
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 slices of muenster cheese
- 6 English Muffins
- Kosher Salt
First off get the grill warming and ready to go. Head back into the house and start the onions. In a large skillet, over medium heat, add the oil and butter. When hot, add the onions. Season with salt and pepper. Saute until caramelized, about 20 – 30 minutes, stirring occasionally watching to make sure you don’t burn them. While the onions are cooking start forming the burgers. Onions can be made 24 hours ahead and refrigerated.
Combine the buffalo and the chuck together (don’t overwork them, less is better) and form into patties about 3/4 inch thick. Season liberally with salt and pepper, press into the meat. Cut the tomatoes and lettuce and any other additions to the final product.
Don’t forget to check on the onions and stir them. Spread a small amount of butter on the inside of each English muffin. Head out to the grill, which should be medium high heat, about 500 or 550 degrees if the grill has a temp gauge. Grill for a total of 8 to 10 minutes depending on desired doneness. One minute before talking burgers off grill toast the muffins, butter side down and add cheese to the burgers, close lid and let melt.
Place burgers on muffin, top with tomatoes, lettuce and a healthy amount of caramelized onions. Eat them!
Serves 3 to 6 depending on the sides and how hungry everyone is.
A few notes – Give the ground meat a bit of time to warm up if you are taking them right out of the fridge. 15 to 20 minutes would be great on the counter. They will cook much more evenly inside. All times are approximate, cook the onions until they are sweet and soft. Taste a few out of the pan, not with your fingers, and test them while cooking. When they taste good take them off. If some are smaller than others and are burning take them out of the pan and put in a dish to await their thicker friends. As for the burgers, the internal temperature recommended by the government is 160 degrees for safety. I cook mine medium while there is a bit of red in the middle!