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Western BBQ Bison Burgers

Western BBQ Bison Burgers
Usually when I make something big and meaty that would be really nice to wash down with a cold beer, I get comments like "oh, my husband/boyfriend/man would love this" and "that is some man-pleasing food". Ummmmmmmm...okay. I get it. My guy totally appreciates brat-topped pizza, sticky ribs, and fat burgers. But, you know what? So do I!

Those are what one would call backhanded compliments, right? Inadvertent or not, I tend to get a little indignant when I read them. Apparently, as a woman, I should be massaging my kale and frosting my dainty cupcakes. I do like kale. A lot. But that's not the point. Why must I feel shame for enjoying an extremely fat, extremely juice, extremely flavorful burger right alongside my man?

Fortunately, when it all seems too much, I can count on ladies like Kita at GirlCarnivore to have my back. She knows the joy in not only making, but devouring, some perfectly cooked meat. I mean, she is the mastermind behind #BurgerMonth, so obviously this girl is all about enjoying epic burgers and such.

I'm thrilled to be taking part in Burger Month 2015 with these Western BBQ Bison Burgers, inspired by the flavor profile of my oldest son's favorite Steak 'n Shake burger. I mixed crumbled bacon right into these fat burgers (but you could totally put it on top if you wanted to), then seasoned it well and glazed it in some smoky bbq sauce. Served on a bun that's piled high with onion rings, how could a girl (or guy) resist?

Western BBQ Bison Burgers
Bacon-studded bison burgers, topped with Pepperjack cheese, smoky barbecue sauce, and crispy onion rings.
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Western BBQ Bison Burgers
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Keywords: grill entree nut-free American bison barbecue onion rings bacon beef summer

Ingredients (6 burgers)
  • 2 pounds ground bison (or ground beef 90/10)
  • 12 ounces smoky bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled or diced fine
  • 1 teaspoon smoked sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Spiceologist Cowboy Crust™ Spice Rub (or similar) 
  • 1 pound thick-sliced battered onions rings, homemade or storebought (such as Nathan's)
  • 1 cup Mesquite Smoke Barbecue Sauce, homemade or storebought (such as Kraft)
  • 6 large slices Pepperjack cheese
  • 6 pretzel buns
  • 6 lettuce leaves
Preheat your grill. Cook onion rings according to recipe instructions or package directions.

Combine ground bison, finely crumbled bacon, sea salt and black pepper in a large bowl and use your hands to combine everything. Form into six 1/3-pound patties. Sprinkle Cowboy Crust spice rub on both sides of your burgers.

Cook burgers on your preheated grill until done to your liking, brushing with some of the barbecue sauce towards the end (if you put it on too early, it will burn). Add a slice of cheese to the top of each burger and let it melt. Toast your buns on the grill, if you wish.

Serve on pretzel buns with more barbecue sauce, lettuce, and as many onion rings as you can fit on each one, about 4-6 (serve the remaining ones on the side). Enjoy immediately!

If you prefer, you can skip crumbling the bacon slices and just add 2 slices to the top of the finished burger as you build it.
Western BBQ Bison Burgers