Cook the Book: Buffalo Burgers with Pepper Jack Cheese

Cook the Book: Buffalo Burgers with Pepper Jack Cheese

Book CoverThis 4th of July, why not grill burgers made from America's original red meat, buffalo? Available in most butcher shops and many high-end supermarkets, buffalo is lower in fat than beef, and has less cholesterol than chicken breasts. In addition, bison are natural prairie grazers, raised without growth hormones or stimulants. The tender, juicy meat, slightly gamey in flavor, also makes excellent steaks, roasts, and even sausages.

Today's Cook the Book recipe, excerpted from Grill Every Day, is for Buffalo Burgers with Pepper Jack Cheese, but you can substitute any cheese or other topping you like. Serve with buttery grilled corn on the cob and plenty of napkins.

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  • Yield:4 servings


  • 1 1/2 pounds ground buffalo
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon Grill Every Day Spice Rub (recipe follows)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4 slices pepper jack cheese
  • 4 sesame-seed hamburger buns, split
  • 4 lettuce leaves
  • 1 large tomato, sliced
  • 1 walla walla or other sweet onion, sliced
  • Mayonnaise
  • Ketchup
  • Relish
  • Pickles
  • 1/4 cup kosher or sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 3 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon


  1. 1.

    Prepare a fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill on high.

  2. 2.

    In a large bowl, combine the ground buffalo with 2 tablespoons of the spice rub, mixing well. Divide into 4 equal portions, and shape each portion into a patty 1 inch thick. Pat each patty on both sides with a teaspoon of the spice rub. Refrigerate the patties while the grill heats.

  3. 3.

    Oil the grill. Brush the burgers on both sides with the canola oil. Place the burgers directly over the hot fire and sear on one side, about 4 minutes. Turn and sear on the other side until juicy and medium-rare, about 4 minutes more. About a minute before the burgers are done, place a slice of cheese on top of each burger, cover the grill, and let the cheese melt. Place the buns, cut side down, on the grill to toast during the last minute the burgers are cooking.

  4. 4.

    Serve the burgers on the toasted buns with the lettuce, tomato, onion, and mayonnaise. Pass the ketchup, relish, and pickles.

  5. 5.

    Grill Every Day Spice Rub

  6. 6.

    - makes about 1 1/4 cups -

  7. 7.

    In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, coriander, cumin, paprika, thyme, chili powder, sugar, and cinnamon. Stir well to blend. Use immediately, or transfer to a jar with a tight-fitting lid and store away from heat and light for up to 6 months.