Buffalo Apple Burgers with Sage-Jalapeño Pesto
4th of July is around the corner and it’s time to fire up the grill. Here’s a great burger recipe that celebrates the American West. This is a lean mean tasty burger. I say lean because buffalo has 70 to 90% less fat compared to beef, and 50% less cholesterol. Buffalo is also leaner than both pork and chicken, and has fewer calories to boot. On top of that, buffalo is higher in protein, iron and all the omega and amino acids. We’ve been fans of buffalo meat for years, going back to the mid 90’s when we were introduced to our first buffalo burger at Joe’s Garage in Minneapolis. You can pick up buffalo pretty much at any grocery store or Whole Foods. Because buffalo is high in protein, it’s also very filling, so 1-pound is perfect for a family of 4. We serve these burgers up on mini brioche buns and they’re the perfect size.
These burgers taste like comfort food, seriously, they’re full of flavor from the apple and sage burger patties to the sage-jalapeno pesto that tops them. Top them with a bit of smoked blue cheese, and you’re in for one gourmet burger that tastes like it should be a guilty pleasure, but isn’t. My kids loved the sage-jalapeno pesto, seriously. They were a bit reluctant to try it, but when they did they both agreed that it gave a certain “wow” factor to the burger. My kids were not fans of the blue cheese, so instead we topped their burgers with some white cheddar. These burgers have been made 3 times in the past month, so you know they’re good.
buffalo apple burgers with sage-jalapeño pesto:
recipe from the Gouda Life
makes 4 burgers
for the burgers:
- 1 pound ground buffalo (also called bison)
- 1 small apple, peeled and grated (see my note in the post below) – I used a fuji apple
- 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh sage, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- fresh ground pepper
- smoked blue cheese (also called Blue Haze) to top the burgers – if you can’t find smoked blue cheese, a Danish blue will work well
- mini Brioche buns
for the pesto:
- 1 jalapeño, ribs and seeds removed, cut into large pieces
- 1 cup fresh sage, loosely packed
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan (optional, but tasty)
- salt and pepper
Let’s first start off by making the buffalo patties. I always make the patties ahead of time, so when dinner time rolls around I can chill out a bit. Peel your apple and then grate your apple using the large hole side of a grater. If you use the smaller holes to grate your apple, it will result in mush.
Rinse and mince up your sage. To mince sage, I first roll up the leaves.
Then slice the sage into thin slices.
I then take the sage slices, gather them together and then finely mince them up.
In a medium bowl, gently combine (with a fork, spatula or gently with your hands) your ground buffalo, grated apple, 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar,1 teaspoon dijon mustard, 1/2 tablespoon minced sage, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and some freshly ground pepper.
Gently form the mixture into four patties. Don’t over-mix or you will have tougher burgers.
Tip: use your thumb to create a dimple or well in the center of the patty, as this will ensure the burgers cook evenly without plumping up. Start cooking the burgers indentation side up.
Cover the plate with tin foil and put them in the refrigerator, if storing the patties till dinner.
Now, let’s move onto the pesto!
Wash, de-seed and chop up your jalapeño, measure out your sage leaves, peel your garlic clove and measure out the 1/4 cup of olive oil.
Get out a mini-prep or food processor and add in the chopped jalapeño, sage leaves, peeled garlic clove and 1/4 cup olive oil.
Add in the 2 tablespoons shredded parmesan and a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. There you have it, easy pesto!
Store the pesto tightly covered in the refrigerator if not using right away.
Grill up your burgers, we tend to grill ours up 4-5 minutes per side, but if you like them on the rarer side, then grill them for less. It’s all about individual taste here. I actually like using my cast-iron skillet to sautee up these burgers! It’s a super quick and easy way to cook up burgers if you don’t have a grill!
Toast up your brioche buns either on the grill or throw them under the broiler until they brown up. I always add a bit of butter to the bottom of the buns, so they brown up nicely!
Top the bun with the burger, a nice slather of the pesto and a bit of blue cheese.
Here’s a burger that tastes like it should be guilty, but isn’t.
22 thoughts on “Buffalo Apple Burgers with Sage-Jalapeño Pesto”
Sounds so good! Such a bummer that Joe’s Garage closed in March-very sad day!
They are really tasty girl! I heard that Joe’s Garage was going to reopen this summer! Fingers crossed! xoxo, Jackie
Fantastic burger recipe! I’ve been meaning to try buffalo for a while now – simply delicious looking. Thanks for your comment – we planted the nasturtiums mainly because they are gorgeous to look at and have great sentimental value for me as my mum grew them in the garden in England where I grew up. Then we realized we could eat them and how great they are for you – it’s so fun!
Hi Mary! I knew it was you when you spoke of the flowers. Try buffalo, you and your girls will love it and they probably won’t be able to tell the difference between buffalo and ground beef. How cool is it that you planted the flowers for their beauty and now you find that they’re also nutritious to eat as well. It’s a win win! xoxo, Jackie
So sorry my other comment came up as anonymous!!
Apple in a burger what a great idea. Fuji’s are my favorite. I’ve don’t eat bison but subbing in ground turkey would probably work just fine. Have you had any luck freezing leftovers of this?
I think ground turkey would be great! My friend Wendy is going to try using turkey tonight, (if this rain ever clears) so I will let you know how it turns out. I typically don’t freeze my burgers, as we always just eat them when I cook them up. You could always half the recipe if your concerned with it making too much. The original recipe called for 2 pounds of ground bison and I halved the whole thing as 2 pounds is just too much for 4 people. xoxo, Jackie
I am going to make this tonight but with ground Turkey, I’ll let you know how that works. Its supposed to stop raining around 4 so we should be able to grill.
Hey girl! Yes, please let me know how they turn out using turkey meat. I hope this weather clears up! 🙂
Hey Jackie … apple , buffalo , sage in burgers ? Who knew these would be fabulous ? and with a pesto on top ? Oh My so ooooo mouthwatering!! On my goodness- we are coming to YOUR House for the 4th – so add a couple more plates !!
Hey gals! I know, who knew, but they taste amazing together. I was so glad I stumbled on this recipe. I’m actually not cooking for the 4th, believe it or not! Friends are having us over for dinner, I’m just in charge of bringing my skillet cookie 🙂
your photos jackie are just beautiful…the sage rolled up just love that. And your tip for putting dent in the top of the burger i never knew that. i will admit i am not the burger maker/griller in our family i leave the grill to the hubby so i will make sure to pass this tip along to him. i’ve never cooked with bison before but have seen at our local health store…i am more along the lines with reba and would try with turkey…or even more that beautiful asparagus on the plate 😉
Hi Angela! I’m not the grill gal either. John does all the grilling. I once singed my eyebrows turning on the grill, so I’m a bit scared of it. Bison is not scary at all, unless you’re a person who’s not into red meat, and that I totally get. It’s really tasty and totally good for you! Sometimes I just need and crave red meat and this does it for me! Have a great day girl! xoxo, Jackie
Mmm, I love burgers and this one looks so good with all the flavors! I love apple, blue cheese, jalapenos, AND sage – what a creative combo. The white cheddar would be a good sub for the blue cheese too if someone didn’t like it. I don’t think I’ve tried a buffalo burger before and if I did it was so long ago I don’t remember. I bet the apple adds more moisture to the lean buffalo. Yet another MM recipe I want to try! xoxo, Sharon
I love your burger recipe, especially the sage. Look so yummy! I’ll try to make it for my family some time. Thanks for the recipe, Marin Mama!
Thanks so much! I can’t wait to hear what you think when you make the burgers up for your family! Thanks for stopping by and saying hi 🙂 xoxo, Jackie
These sound amazing! I love the combination of apple and sage! We are big fans of buffalo as well!
Loved the sound of the jalepeno pesto! Such a great idea. I’m making burgers tomorrow – my husband will love this. They’ve started selling buffalo in our local farmers market as well.
Yaay! Let me know how you both end up liking these. It’s one of our favorite burgers next to our favorite turkey burgers. They are both winners! Burgers and summer go together! 🙂 xoxo, Jackie
OMG jackie the blue cheese i think sets this off wonderfully… XOXOXO
Thanks Tom! The blue cheese is amazing on these burgers. 🙂
Sounds so good! Thank you very much for this information
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