Smoky Buffalo Burger

May/June 2008

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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.

"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. "
Smoky Buffalo Burger

Makes: 4 servings

Active Time:

Total Time:


  • 1 pound ground buffalo, (bison)
  • 1/2 cup cooked wild rice, (see Tip)
  • 1/2 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
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 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


  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, 1/2 to 3/4 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.

Tips & Notes

  • 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.


Per serving: 434 calories; 19 g fat (7 g sat, 2 g mono); 65 mg cholesterol; 36 g carbohydrates; 29 g protein; 5 g fiber; 721 mg sodium; 301 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (25% daily value), Iron (20% dv), Calcium (15% dv).

Carbohydrate Servings: 2

Exchanges: 2 starch, 3 1/2 lean meat, 1 fat

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Recipe Categories

Ease of Preparation
Total Time
45 minutes or less
Main Ingredient
Preparation/ Technique
Health & Diet Considerations
Low cholesterol
High calcium

May/June 2008
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