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.
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.
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.
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.