Buffalo Burgers

Ahh, summer. It's too hot to cook inside, especially here, but from what I've been hearing, it's hot just about everywhere. Even our family in Latvia have been hit by some major heat. Me, I'll be glad when it's the end of September and temperatures return to something I can deal with on a day-to-day basis.

Still, despite the heat, July is a busy month if you live in Utah. Not only does Utah celebrate Independence Day like the rest of America, but there's also another excuse for a cookout - Pioneer Day on the 24th. It's basically the day when Brigham Young showed up in the Salt Lake valley with his famous, "This is the place" speech.

So, I took three things that are very common here in Utah and happen to go together really well:

** Buffalo, which I love for it's strong beefier-than-beef taste, still (kinda) roam in my state - they have a preserve on Antelope Island alongside said antelope. In Grantsville, near where we live, several people keep buffalo instead of cows. (And boy, when you see those massive giants off the side of the road, you look twice!)

** Burgers, quintessentially American, can be even better when made partially or fully with ground buffalo meat.

** Fry sauce. A Utah original, this is one of the things my state is definitely known for besides awful recipes made with Jello. There's several different ways to make it and most restaurants who serve fries will also serve fry sauce (of varying quality). In its most basic form, it's a 1:2 ratio of ketchup to mayo. I like mine with bbq, personally.

We wind up with a Pioneer Day special: buffalo burgers with oven fries and fry sauce. I love adding strong cheeses like blue cheese, roquefort, feta or chevre to the mix. The strong flavors of both cheese and buffalo play off of each other beautifully.

(You know how I said it's too hot to cook inside? I still bake the fries, even in this heat. I just like 'em better that way. But I bet some enterprising grillcook could throw these puppies in a foil packet onto the grill and get 'em good and tasty.)

Buffalo Burgers with Fries and Fry Sauce [printable recipe]

Makes 2 1/3 lb burgers

  • 2/3 lb ground buffalo
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire or soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
  • 2 oz chevre, feta or blue cheese, crumbled
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • salt, pepper
  • 1 recipe New and Improved Garlic Sauce or Garlic Cheese Sauce (for extra cheesiness)
  • Ciabatta buns or rye rolls
  • Toppings: tomato, red onion, cucumber, avocado, etc.
  • Homestyle Oven Fries
  • Fry Sauce: ketchup, barbecue sauce and sour cream

Mix ingredients from buffalo through salt and pepper together well and form into two equal patties. Grill until done to your liking. Spread garlic sauce on buns, layer on toppings and enjoy.

On a Foreman grill, it takes about 6 minutes per patty to cook to well-done.

To make one of my takes on Utah-style fry sauce - mix 1 part barbecue sauce to 2 parts ketchup to 4 parts sour cream in a small bowl.