Southwest Bison Burger/Sausage

Bison Meat Bloomington - BisonBurgerFrom Bruce Aidells, Founder of Aidell’s Sausage
The only thing that separates a burger from a sausage mixture is that sausage is a mixture of spices and other flavorings and ground meat, while a burger is ground meat sprinkled with salt and sometimes spices. If you want to turn this mixture into a full-blown sausage, then consider stuffing it into a sausage casing and twisting it into links. This is easily accomplished by slipping a sausage casing over the broad tip of a pastry bag. If you are the proud owner of a meat grinder, then use it to stuff the sausage mixture by purchasing a sausage horn that fits over the end of the grinder. For cooking links on the grill, follow the instructions for grilling patties, turning the links frequently over medium heat. It should take 10-12 minutes to cook the links to the medium well stage.
This burger/sausage sandwich is inspired by Mexican sandwiches called tortas. Tortas are usually made from roasted meats or chicken, but what makes these sandwiches really special are the layers of condiments including avocado or guacamole, salsa, chile mayonnaise and shredded lettuce or cabbage. Yes, they are messy to eat, but worth every stain on your shirt, blouse or pants!
(Makes four servings)

Bison Burger/Sausage Sandwiches

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground bison burger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup diced fire-roasted mild green chile, canned or fresh, about 1 whole (see note)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped green onion
  • 1 pickled jalapeño chile, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 avocado, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 4 slices Jack cheese (optional)
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, sliced
  • 4 slices red onion
  • 4 sweet Italian rolls – 6 inches long or Mexican bolillo rolls
  • 2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce or cabbage

Jalapeño Lime Mayonnaise

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeeze lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons grated lime zest
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped pickled jalapeño chile


  1. In a medium bowl combine bison with salt, chili powder, black pepper, cilantro, green chile, garlic, lime zest, green onions and optional jalapeño. Form into four oval patties roughly the size of the rolls and about 3/4-inch thick. Set aside.
  2. Make Jalapeno-Lime Mayonnaise by whisking together all the ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to medium high heat and grill burgers for four minutes per side for medium rare. Transfer to a warm plate and lay Jack cheese on top of each patty.
  4. To assemble the sandwiches, spread mayonnaise blend over the top and bottom half of each roll. Place burger cheese side up on bottom half of roll. Layer slices of avocado over each burger and then slices of tomato and red onion. Cover with a thin layer of shredded lettuce or cabbage and add top half of roll. Cut each sandwich into halves and serve at once.

To fire roast green chilies, place under a broiler or directly over a gas flame and cook until the skin is charred, turning frequently. Place in a plastic bag for 15 minutes to steam. Scrape off the charred skin and seed, stem, and chop.

Courtesy of National Bison Association (NBA)

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