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         The Umami Bison Burger - The Very Best In Taste and Flavor

Home Cooked Umami Bison Burger

After salty, sour, bitter and sweet, umami is considered our fifth sense of taste. Umami refers to the presence of glutamic acid, an amino acid with salty/savory characteristics. Its presence gives food more depth in flavor, or character. Umami is present in seafood products, Parmesan cheese, and meats - especially cured meats, like ham and bacon.

To add umami to our burgers we tried various oils, raw egg, and mayonnaise combinations and found they added some moisture to a burger but did little in the way of adding any depth of flavor to the bison.

Then by chance, (Isn't this how some of the best things happen in the kitchen?), we happened to try some rendered bacon fat. And that did the trick; the bacon fat put the bison burger into another realm of succulent excellence.
       
    INGREDIENTS

2 lbs
3/4 tsp
1/4 - 1/2 tsp
2 tbsp
 
 
ground bison, 80 to 90% lean, medium texture preferred
fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
rendered bacon fat, warmed slightly to a liquid state (from 6 slices of pan-fried side bacon).
cheddar cheese, sliced or grated (optional)
cooking oil (grape seed, peanut, or sunflower preferred) - DO NOT use Olive Oil*
     *Please see our SMOKE POINTS TESTS
     (Olive oil has a tendency to burn and can give bison an off-taste)
       
    DIRECTIONS


  • Break the ground bison up into small chunks by hand; spread the chunks evenly over a baking sheet. Sprinkle the ground meat with salt and pepper. Drizzle the rendered bacon fat over the meat chunks.

  • Shape the seasoned ground into 5 patties measuring about 4 inches in diameter and little over and inch thick. Try not to handle the meat excessively while shaping it into burgers. Over handling or compacting raw ground can result in a cooked burger that just doesn't have the right mouth feel to it. Density is increased and a lack of tenderness may be noticeable.

  • Place the bison burger patties on a baking sheet or large plate. Cover burgers loosely with some plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the patties to set. (Patties can always be made well in advance.)

    Bison meat broken up and ready to be made into umami burger patties. Bison meat formed into burger patties, ready to cook.

  • Preheat one side of the barbecue so that a medium-hot grill surface temperature of 475 to 500F is maintained on that side. The grill surface temperature can be checked using a grill surface thermometer or a laser thermometer. With the barbecue lid closed, even a regular coil style oven thermometer can give relatively accurate grill surface temperature readings.

    Laser Grill Surface Thermometer Coil Grill Surface Thermometer Coil Grill Surface Thermometers Oven Thermometer On Grill Surface

  • With the barbecue lid closed, the opposite side of the grill will have a grill surface temperature of approximately 325 to 350F.

  • If using charcoal, the hot coals should be distributed on one side of the barbecue so that similar temperatures are maintained -- 475 to 500F on the medium-hot side and 325 to 350F on the medium side.

  • Brush a very small amount of cooking oil on the top side of the burgers. Quickly grease the preheated medium hot side of the grill with a rag or paper towel soaked with some cooking oil.

  • Except when the burgers are being flipped over, the barbecue lid should remain closed during grilling. Grill the burgers on the medium-hot side for 4 minutes without disturbing. Flip the burgers over and continue to cook on the same side of the grill for another 3 minutes.

  • Then shift the burgers over to the medium heat side of the grill well away from the direct heat coming from the fire.

  • Cook the burgers for 6 to 7 minutes per side, or until an internal temperature of 155 to 156F is reached. Best to check the temperature with an instant-read digital stick thermometer to be sure. Although not inexpensive, the THERMAPEN is tops in design and accuracy. Accurate readings within 1 degree Fahrenheit can be obtained in less than 3 seconds.

    Thermapen Digital Probe Thermometer


  • For a cheeseburger, top burgers with grated cheese or cheese slices one minute before they come off the grill.

  • After coming off the grill allow the burgers to rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Within the first 5 minutes of resting the internal meat temperature for the burgers will reach 160F. They are well done and are at their best when done to this temperature-succulent and flavorful. Enjoy.




         Pecorino Romano Bison Burger - Another Great Umami Choice

A nicely balanced ingredient combination really complements the ground bison in this one. It makes for another super tasting Umami Bison Burger.
       
    INGREDIENTS

1
2 tsp
2 tsp
1 tbsp
1/4 to 1/2 tsp
2 lb
1/4 ounce
egg
Dijon mustard
Worcestershire sauce
prepared horseradish
ground black pepper
ground bison (80-90% lean, medium texture preferred)
freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese (about 1/3 cup loosely packed - Parmesan may be substituted)
       
    DIRECTIONS


  • In a small bowl whisk together the egg, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish and black pepper. Set this seasoning mixture aside.

  • Break the ground bison up by hand and spread the chunks evenly over a baking sheet.

  • Pour the set aside seasoning mixture over the bison. Sprinkle the Romano cheese over top. Using a pastry cutter, or food chopper, work the ingredients into the bison meat until well combined.

  • Shape the seasoned ground into 5 patties measuring about 4 inches in diameter and a little over an inch thick. Place the bison burger patties on a baking sheet or large plate. Cover burgers loosely with some plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours before grilling.

  • Preheat one side of the barbecue so that a medium-hot grill surface temperature of 475 to 500F is maintained on that side. The grill surface temperature can be checked using a grill surface thermometer or a laser thermometer. With the barbecue lid closed, even a regular coil style oven thermometer can give relatively accurate grill surface temperature readings.

  • With the barbecue lid closed, the opposite side of the grill will have a surface temperature of approximately 325 to 350F.

  • If using charcoal, the hot coals should be distributed on one side of the barbecue so that similar temperatures are maintained - 475 to 500F on the medium-hot side, and 325-350F on the medium side.

  • Brush a very small amount of cooking oil on the top side of the burgers. Quickly grease the preheated medium hot side of the grill with a rag or paper towel soaked with some cooking oil.

  • Except when the burgers are being flipped over, the barbecue lid should remain closed during grilling. Grill the burgers on the medium-hot side for 4 minutes without disturbing. Flip the burgers over and continue to cook on the same side of the grill for another 3 minutes.

  • Then shift the burgers over to the medium heat side of the grill well away from the direct heat coming from the fire.

  • Cook the burgers for 6 to 7 minutes per side, or until an internal temperature of 155 to 156F is reached.

  • After coming off the grill allow the burgers to rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Within the first 5 minutes of resting the internal meat temperature for the burgers will reach 160F - well done, but still succulent and very tasty.