Monday, May 18, 2009

elk, muskox, and bison burger mania.

As a regular regular of I’m Only Here for the Food, you would be pretty hard pressed not to notice all the burger shacks lately. The main problem with being enticed out to a restaurant, at least these restaurants, is that I don't live anyway close. If I lived in Vancouver I would definitely be out sampling the goods, but living 1400 or so kilometers away I'm left to drool on my keyboard.

Instead of sampling a few local establishments I decided to purchase some ground meat from Buffalo Valley. With a nice selection of game to choose from, I decided on bison, elk, and muskox.

Bison has always been fairly regular meat for me and it wasn’t out of the norm to make some bison burgers. I’ve prepared elk meat a few times but never as burgers, so that would be new. Musk Ox was new from the start, and I didn’t have any idea what taste to expect or how it would work in a burger.

It is quite easy to overcook these with their low fat content and almost every cook would say medium rare is the farthest you should go*. I find that on more occasions than not, people dry out their beef burgers, so with even less forgiving meat it's nice to BBQ my own to a nice juicy pink center.

I think I ended up cooking 16 burgers (not all for me ^--^) over a week-long period. Most of the meat was treated very simply with salt and pepper, but a few were stuffed with various cheeses (a la Diners, Drive Ins and Dives) while a couple were spiced up with garam masala. The elk and bison burgers were the least gamey of all and I have a feeling that many diners wouldn’t even wonder or speculate they weren’t eating beef. The muskox was a different story; it was so different that it is hard to explain. It was the best of all three and I can only describe it as rich; I will buy this again.

I almost always put a toppings platter together that includes; mushrooms, onions, pickles, lettuce, and tomato. With so many burgers made I started some serious deviations, like the first picture in todays post which received some fresh cilantro and salsa. Unfortunately I was not always on the ball with my camera and a few pictures didn't turn out. :(

* I realize the canadian government recommends you should cook ground beef until no pink is left and the juices run clear, but I like a juicy and tender burger which typically means a little pink. Plus I personally like to believe that with better processed meats, the possibility of contamination goes down. I've also eaten my share of street meats in Latin America with no ill affects. So please, don't follow my lead and cook your burgers until the juices run clear. :)

** One last thing - does it seem strange I remove some of the 'bun' so that I can sit toppings and/or the patty in the bun with greater ease. For some reason, I like a pocket for toppings and it keeps a loaded burger in check without the ingredients sliding out down your arm. Am I strange?


brulee said...
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Anonymous said...

Your bread trick is a smart idea, especially if you're piling on the ingredients like that!

KimHo said...

Thanks for the plug! :D

Other than cleaning, dishes and what not, if you can prepare burgers like these, c'mon, would you go out of the way to a burger shack for one? Well, in my case, I guess gamier (sp?) meats are not as accessible... BTW, next time, any chance for kangaroo? XD

Chris said...

That's what I was thinking bruleeblog.

KimHo - I'll chat my meat guy up and see about some kangaroo meat!

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