Saturday, August 18, 2012

Bison Burgers - A Rant.

Cheap, Sustainable, Delicious: Bison-Feta Burgers
If you're going to eat a burger, bison is a better choice than beef. (Photo: Ian Knauer)
I write this as a true-blue patriot. Sometimes I even like to say it out loud: I love America. Still, there are so many things I just don’t understand about this country. I don’t get why so many of my fellow Americans make the choices they make.

Here’s an example: Why would anyone choose not to vote? That’s just nuts! People die, DIE (not just in a figurative way, but in a very real way) for the right to vote. Yet, many of us make a choice not to vote because we’re disenfranchised or busy or lazy or just don’t care. What’s worse is when our elected politicians actually don’t want us to vote and publicly say so, like my home-state Senator Mike Turzai recently.

I just don’t understand why those of us who do vote would vote for someone who doesn’t want all of us to vote. It’s so not the democratic way! (For the record, I happen to think showing ID to vote is not a bad thing. After all, we have to show ID to exercise other constitutionally granted rights, like buying guns. We should focus on getting everyone an ID and encourage people to vote. God Bless America!)

Here’s another thing I just don’t get: Why don’t we eat more buffalo? 

American buffalo have been making a resurgence recently after near extinction in the 19th century. That’s good news, not only for the buffalo, but for those of us interested in sustainable eating. It’s also good news because bison meat is delicious. I mean, really, really delicious.

Bison is considerably less fatty than beef (2.42 grams of fat to beef’s 10.15 grams), partially because it’s grass-fed instead of corn-fed. That means it’s not only better for the environment, but a bison burger brings all the satisfaction of a burger without that familiar gut-bomb feeling.

(For the record, I happen to love a good burger like any other true-blue patriotic American, but don’t like feeling sick after I eat one.)

Take this as encouragement to make all-American bison burgers tonight for dinner—and also, to vote.

Bison-Feta Burgers
Makes 4 burgers
1 garlic clove
1 large shallot, finely chopped
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried hot pepper flakes
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
1 pound ground bison

Accompaniments: hamburger buns; lettuce; sliced tomato; sliced cucumber; mayonnaise; ketchup

Preheat grill.

Mince and mash garlic to a paste with a generous pinch of salt then transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in shallot, Worcestershire, pepper flakes, feta, salt and pepper, then mix bison into feta mixture. Form 4 patties.

Grill bison burgers to desired doneness, 6 to 8 minutes for medium-rare.

Serve burgers on buns with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, mayonnaise, and ketchup.