[Back in February, I had the chance to visit my good friend Loo #1 in Montgomery, Alabama. While she’s originally from California, she has lived in the South for two years now and it has certainly started to influence her style of cooking; enter the BBQ Bacon Bison Burger, created by Loo #1 herself]
The South is something else. Deep in the heart of Alabama, Spanish moss clung gently to the trees, swaying with the slight wind. The river was calm, creating a still line against the boat docks and distant trees. There were barely any sounds, other than the occasional gulp of a large fish or twit of a finch.
Neighbors knew each other and waved good morning. They shared breakfasts and suppers. They asked how each other was. They left their doors unlocked. That’s more than I can say for my experience in Seattle, where you brush past your neighbor (if you even see them) with a sullen nod.
Other than teaching me to be nice to strangers, the South also taught me how to grill. Turns out, grilling isn’t that hard. Not sure why the men in my family made it seem like this gargantuan task—it’s the easiest task there is. You just stand there and flip stuff when it’s ready. Grab some tongs and maybe an apron and get to grilling.
Today, you’ll bear witness to a Western/Southern experiment: this BBQ bacon bison burger blends the health-conscious mind set of the West Coast with the smoky flavors of the Deep South. The bison patty is incredibly lean and proves to be a comparable alternative to greasy beef. Topped with crispy bacon, a slab of melted cheddar cheese, and covered with Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce—I’m told it’s the best BBQ sauce there is—this burger is a true Southern delight, sandwiched between fluffy flour buns. For a sweet and crunchy bonus, add pickle rounds!
Keep in mind, that while Loo #1 and I were smooshing together the meat for the burgers, her great-aunt fed us copious amounts of Southern food: marshmallow fluff and cream cheese dip with fresh fruit; sour cream pound cake; chocolate dipped strawberries delivered that day by her neighbor; and freshly made and wildly delicious lemons bars with powdered sugar sprinkled on top.
Now, do me a favor, while you’re busy flipping burgers, practice your Southern expressions:
- When leaving the room after impressing everyone, say “Ya’ll be good now, ya hear” pronounced [YAH-LL bee guhd now, yeh heer]
- When addressing those younger than you, say “you whippersnappers”
- To insult someone for being dumb or naïve, say “oh, bless your heart”
ORIGINAL RECIPE for BBQ Bacon Bison Burgers
*Source: The genius of Loo #1 and her great-aunt
Servings: 4 humans
Time: 35 minutes
Difficulty: SO EASY IT’S STUPID
- 2 lbs ground bison meat
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce
- Fluffy flour hamburger buns
- Sweet sandwich pickle rounds
- 1 box fully cooked bacon (I used Wellshire’s)
- Sliced cheddar cheese
- Ketchup and mustard, if you want it
- Squish bish. Grab a large bowl and add the bison meat. Crack salt and pepper over the meat. Mix with your hands (oooooh, squishy!) until the salt and pepper is evenly distributed.
- Lump it up. Condense the meat into patties. To figure out the right size for the patty, hold up your fluffy hamburger bun and see if it would fit comfortably between it.
- Pat patties lovingly … and take note of all of the wonderful ducks that were in Loo #1’s great-aunt’s house. Oh and they had a pet goose. So there you go.
- Is it done yet? As Loo #1’s great-aunt says, you’ll know the meat is done when it releases juices on the outside and doesn’t look pink anymore. When this happens, grab your buns, stick ‘em on a plate or something, then add the patties to each one. Go back inside.
- Bacon, BACON, BAACCCOOON! The exact time it takes to watch that weird dog commercial, microwave the bacon for 30 seconds. That’s it.
- Cut the cheese. And yes, that was a fart joke… slice up the cheddar cheese as thinly as you desire and add on top of hot burgers.
- Get saucy. Dump the BBQ sauce on top of the meat and cheese. Add pickles, ketchup, and mustard if you desire. Loo #1 would scoff at you though. Just know that. (She hates those little pickle rounds for some reason…)
- Enjoy! And ya’ll be good now, ya hear?
Where in the World…Is Bison Meat?
Not every grocery store sells bison meat. I’d recommend checking out the fancy ones, such as Whole Foods, or going to a local grocery store that has an amply stocked meat section. You know, the stores that have ready to grill meat-and-veggie kabobs. Ask the nice folks at the counter (introverts, you got this!) and they’ll be sure to point you in the right direction.
Quick Clean Up
So, I’m going to be honest here. I have no idea how to clean a grill. Home Depot has some great thoughts about it though. I’ll leave the expertise to them.
Extra! Extra! Read All About It!
What else can you grill? Not just meat …
So…are bison buffalo? NO!!
Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo. This grammatically makes sense. Trust Wikipedia.