All-American Double Bison Cheeseburger
Excerpted from Wicked Good Burgers, by Andy Husbands, Chris Hart & Andrea Pyenson
What says American diet more than a double cheeseburger? If one of something is good, two is better, right? How about making that cheeseburger with bison meat? Bison is leaner than beef and lower in calories (so you can afford both that extra meat and the extra cheese). And some people say it has a slightly sweeter flavor. In this recipe, we recommend using the “smash” technique, employed at some of the country’s best quick-serve burger joints, because it creates a fabulous, crispy crust. Big. Sweet. Crispy. Make it a double. —Husbands, Hart and Pyenson
Yields: 4 burgers
2 pounds ground bison (a blend of bison cuts that will yield an 80/20 meat-to-fat ratio)
Kosher salt to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, for cooking
4 large potato buns
8 slices yellow deli-style American cheese
Garnishes: Jarred sliced pickles, sliced onion, ketchup, mustard,
Special Sauce (recipe follows)
For the Special Sauce:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon pickle relish
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
In a small bowl, mix all the special sauce ingredients together using a whisk. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
Divide the ground meat into 8 equal portions and shape each into a ball about the size of a golf ball. Salt the tops of each bison ball.
Heat a skillet over high heat until very hot. If you have an infrared thermometer, the skillet should register at least 500°F (250°C). Or test by brushing on a bit of oil. When the skillet starts to smoke, it is ready.
If your skillet is not big enough to accommodate all of the burgers at the same time, cook them in batches. Line a platter with butcher paper or a large piece of a paper grocery bag. (We don’t think paper towels are sturdy enough for this job; they absorb too much moisture and destroy the crust.) Open your windows and/or turn on your oven fan. There’s gonna be some smoke!
Place the burgers in the skillet, salted side down. Press gently and cook for 1 minute. After 1 minute, using a sturdy spatula, smash each burger until it is about 1/4-inch thick. Salt the tops of the smashed burgers before flipping them.
Cook for 2 more minutes and then flip the burgers. Lay a piece of American cheese on each burger and cook for 2 more minutes.
If cooking in batches, transfer the burgers to the platter. Repeat until all the burgers are cooked. Note that this method cooks the burgers almost through with just a bit of pink in the center. We sacrifice our usual preference for rare-ish meat in order to get that wonderfully crispy exterior. Once you have transferred the burgers to the platter, don’t cover them or put them in the oven. You want to preserve what you worked so hard to achieve.
To serve: Place 1 patty on the bottom half of a bun. (If you have some burgers resting from an earlier batch, place them back on the skillet for a minute to warm them up.) Stack another burger on top, and garnish with pickles and onion. Spread mustard, ketchup and Special Sauce on the other bun half, place that on the burger and serve.