Smoky Buffalo Burger

Smoky Buffalo Burger

5 Reviews
From: EatingWell Magazine, May/June 2008

Here we flavor sweet, beefy buffalo (bison) with smoked cheese and smoky barbecue sauce. Instead of being melted on top, cheese is used here to season the meat—adding moisture and smoky flavor inside the burger. Wild rice bulks up the serving size (and adds vitamins and minerals), while keeping it lean. Plus the flavor and chewy texture are a wonderful complement to the meat. If you can't find buffalo in your store, substitute 90%-lean ground beef.

Ingredients 4 servings

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Original recipe yields 4 servings
Nutrition per serving may change if servings are adjusted.
  • 1 pound ground buffalo, (bison)
  • ½ cup cooked wild rice, (see Tip)
  • ½ cup shredded smoked cheese, such as Cheddar, Gouda or mozzarella
  • 2 tablespoons smoky barbecue sauce, divided
  • 1 tablespoon paprika, preferably sweet Hungarian
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon sweet pepper relish, or pickle relish
  • 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
  • 4 whole-wheat hamburger buns, toasted
  • 4 slices tomato
  • 4 thin slices sweet onion, such as Vidalia


  • Active

  • Ready In

  1. Preheat grill to medium.
  2. Place meat, rice, cheese, 1 tablespoon barbecue sauce, paprika, mustard, garlic, pepper and salt in a large bowl. Gently combine, without overmixing, until evenly incorporated. Form into 4 equal patties, ½ to ¾ inch thick.
  3. Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon barbecue sauce, mayonnaise, relish and horseradish in a small bowl.
  4. Oil the grill rack (see Tip). Grill the burgers until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 155°F, 5 to 6 minutes per side.
  5. Assemble the burgers on buns with the barbecue mayonnaise sauce, tomato and onion.
  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate the barbecue mayonnaise (Step 3) for up to 5 days.
  • Tips: Be sure to plan ahead for cooking the wild rice—it takes 40 to 50 minutes. To cut down on cooking time, look for “quick” wild rice—a whole-grain rice that cooks in less than 30 minutes—or “instant” wild rice that's done in 10 minutes or less.
  • To oil a grill rack, oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the rack. (Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill.) When grilling delicate foods like tofu and fish, it is helpful to spray the food with cooking spray.

Nutrition information

  • Per serving: 456 calories; 21 g fat(8 g sat); 5 g fiber; 38 g carbohydrates; 32 g protein; 31 mcg folate; 78 mg cholesterol; 9 g sugars; 1,297 IU vitamin A; 5 mg vitamin C; 157 mg calcium; 4 mg iron; 797 mg sodium; 310 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (26% daily value), Iron (22% dv)
  • Carbohydrate Servings:
  • Exchanges: 2 starch, 3½ lean meat, 1 fat

Reviews 5

March 15, 2015
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By: EatingWell User
I wasted a pound of ground bison and the prep time, when I tried to flip them, they completely disintegrated. I hope my grill liked them, the recipe is a time and money waster. Thanks. Pros: none Cons: Fell apart on the grill
April 24, 2012
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By: EatingWell User
Juicy with rich flavor! I'm saving this recipe for use with turkey burgers and regular beef burgers...great flavor! I used brown rice, and I enjoyed the consistency that rice gave the burgers. Didn't have any of the smokey cheese or BBQ sauce, but did grill them and got a hint of smoke that way. This is a keeper! Pros: Moist, slighty spicey, held together well when grilling
April 27, 2010
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By: EatingWell User
My family loves these burgers. Even my father-in-law, who was skeptical about bison asked for the recipe so they could make these at home. I substitute quinoa or plain rice if I don't have time to cook the wild rice.
March 08, 2010
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By: EatingWell User
Even my young kids love these. But my husband hates that they fall apart on the grill. Next time, I might omit the rice and more finely shred the cheese to see if that helps.
November 14, 2009
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By: EatingWell User
I actually haven't made this with buffalo, but use ground yak instead. It is better grilled on my Traeger than cooked indoors, but still very good. I suggest chopping the wild rice roughly to break up the big grains and allow it to incorporate more into the burger. A favorite of everyone I have served it to.
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