For Saturday I made another burger from Wicked Good Burgers: All-American Double Bison Cheeseburgers which had a couple interesting twists to it. The first was the meat: bison (buffalo). I’ve had this meat out in restaurants, but I’ve never cooked it myself. The second twist was the cooking method. The directions specifically called for you to use a cast iron griddle or a cast iron frying pan. The last twist was what you did with the meat when it was on the griddle: you smashed the patties flat with the spatula. This violates the conventional wisdom that you don’t press on the meat because it will squeeze out the juices. The author’s said they were skeptical before trying it, but many diners cook burgers this way & the authors said you get a great sear.
I was cooking double cheeseburgers for 8 people (16 patties). I didn’t feel comfortable putting more than 6 on at a time where I needed to whack them with the spatula. I’d cooked up a test burger the day before for myself and the patties moved a bit when I whacked them flat. So I cooked them up in 3 batches of 6, 6 & 4 patties to leave room for movement. I ran the just cooked burgers inside and folks took turns eating them while they were hot. I mention this because you will notice some pictures have 4 patties and some 6. I also had fun with my guests-I didn’t mention anything about the meat. Interestingly enough all but one person knew it wasn’t beef, but had no idea what it was. They noticed the meat was “sweeter” than ground beef or had a finer texture. Some noticed both. I had bought onions & tomatoes to slice up and serve with these burgers. But my dry run burger the day before told me these were tasty enough and so I skipped using the onions & tomatoes. The burgers had a great flavor which I think was a combination of the meat & the great crust formed cooking them on the griddle and smashing them flat.
I was going to buy bison meat & grind my own meat. But the ground bison seemed to have more fat & marbling than the bison steaks. I needed to buy 8 pounds of meat and the ground bison was also $1.00 a pound cheaper which made it a no-brainer. Another nice thing about these rectangular shape packages is I could take the meat out and slice it into quarters with a knife. I get 1/4 pound servings of meat without having to use a Kitchen scale.
The meat has been formed into meatball sized rounds, the rolls have been brushed with melted butter & slices of American cheese have been counted out.
The meat was divided into 1/4 pound portions, rolled into balls & the tops were seasoned with Kosher salt.
The Egg has been set up with 2 half moon CI griddle grates. I was glad I’d done a test run the day before because it allowed me some time to get the temps straight. I’d used an infrared thermometer to shoot the temps of the grill grates as the Egg heated up. When I heat up the Egg I keep the chimney wide open and I was able to use this opening to shoot the grill grate without needing to raise the lid. I found that to get a griddle temperature of 550, the dome temperature was 350. On Saturday I was able to just preheat the Egg to 350 dome temp & I was good to go.
At 550 degrees you had to stay on top of the buns. It took under 15 seconds to toast them up. Essentially when you dropped the last bun onto the griddle, the first one was done. For food safety reasons I toasted all of the buns first, then did the batches of bison patties.
The round patties went on the griddle salted side down. At this point you pressed them down slightly.
After the roundish patties cooked for a minute, you smashed them down to 1/4” thickness with the spatula, salted them and cooked them for an additional two minutes.
After three minutes total cooking time on the first side the burgers were flipped, topped with cheese & cooked for two minutes on the second side.
The cookbook said NOT to place the finished burgers on a serving platter because you’d loose the crispy crust. So I had a series of half sheet pans fitted with wire cooling racks that were used to run the batches of burgers into the house. Meanwhile I’d start the next batch.
Time for my burger. I had set out a bunch of condiments: various mustards, relishes, ketchup etc. People picked what they wanted. Here is how I made my double bison burger: Step one was I put a patty on the bottom bun...
..I topped the lower patty with some sweet pickle relish...
...the second patty went on next...
...the second patty was topped with Dijon mustard....
...and lastly the top bun went on.
These burgers had great flavor and a nice crispy outer crust. They are actually quite easy to make and I plan to make them again soon.
Everyone loved these burgers. Several said they liked the buffalo better than ground beef. I had been a bit worried about bison, which is often leaner than ground beef, not having much flavor. As I said my trial burger showed me sliced onions and tomatoes were definitely not needed, these burgers already had great flavor which deserved to be front and center. When I mentioned this to my guests, they all agreed.