Nothing says summer like burgers on the barbecue. This twist on standard grilled fare is made with ground buffalo—a healthier and higher protein alternative to beef—and is loaded with spicy, Asian flavors. For those folks on a high-protein/low-carb diet like Atkins, we’ve included a second version that’s encrusted with black sesame seeds and served with grilled zucchini slices (and no bun).
The sesame seeds form a really nice crust on the burgers.
This is one of The Angry Chef’s signature recipes. He’s been making them for years and they’re always one of the first things to disappear when we have a barbecue.
His mouthwatering spice mixture includes ground peppers, chilis, onion, garlic, and star anise. Teriyaki and mushroom soy add an earthy note to the burgers. They get a decent amount of heat from Tabasco and ground chipotle peppers.
An Atkins-friendly way to barbecue
Buffalo meat is some of the leanest, healthiest meat out there. Because of that, it’s a great staple in any kind of high-protein Atkins-type diet. And because buffalo is so lean, fast, high-heat cooking methods like grilling help keep the meat juicy and moist.
Well, hello! I may not look like it, but I’m delicious!
This article includes instructions for making an Atkins-friendly burger that’s encrusted with black sesame seeds. We like to serve it with Cumin-Dusted Grilled Zucchini, since zucchini is one of the lowest-carb veggies out there.
Diet aside, zucchini is just plain delicious grilled like this. I mean, slices of zucchini bathed in olive oil, dusted with cumin and garlic salt, then grilled to smoky perfection? Yes, please!
Is buffalo better than beef?
More and more markets in the Boston area are carrying ground buffalo meat. Here are a few reasons to give ground buffalo a shot:
- Buffalo has 70% to 90% less fat (depending upon the cut of the meat.)
- Buffalo has an average if 50% less cholesterol than beef.
- Buffalo is 30% higher in protein and has less calories than beef.
One word of caution: Beware of overcooking buffalo meat. It’s really lean, which means it can dry out faster than beef because of its lack of fat. Keep an eye on the grill, and you’ll be just fine.
The best tool to flip a burger
It may sound silly, but one of The Angry Chef’s secret grilling weapons is, well, a fish spatula. Not something you normally see next to a grill, but it’s one of the best tools we’ve found for burger flipping.
It’s thin and flexible, which helps you turn the meat without any damage to the burger. (Which is just why it’s great for delicate fish.) It’s also nice and wide, and will securely fit most burgers.
I’ve had this spatula for years, and I can’t say enough about it. I got mine at the Lamson Sharp factory outlet in Shelburne Falls, MA. (If you’re ever in the area, definitely swing by this place. It’s packed to the gills with great deals on quality kitchen tools.)
Amazon also sells them here for about $23. A wee bit steep for a spatula, but totally worth it.
Can I get a cocktail with that, Miss. Mouse?
Why, certainly! How about a refreshing, juicy lime cocktail? (Lime juice + Fresca + Triple Sec + vodka.)
Coming right up!
Alrighty! Let’s fire up the grill!
Spicy Buffalo Burgers
1 1/2 lbs. ground buffalo
1 1/2 Tbls. garlic powder
1 Tbls. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. white pepper
1 Tbls. dried parsley
3/4 Tbls. Chinese star anise
1/2 tsp. smoked Spanish paprika
1 tsp. chipotle
1/2 tsp. chili powder
2 1/2 Tbls. mushroom soy sauce
2 Tbls. Teriyaki sauce
Tabasco sauce, to taste
Black sesame seeds, optional
Sliced cheese (we used a blend of Munster, American, and Swiss)
Yields 2 monstrous burgers, or 3-4 smaller ones
Cumin-Dusted Grilled Zucchini
Serves 3-4 as a side
Make the buffalo burger mixture
Grab your ground buffalo.
Add the garlic powder, onion powder, garlic salt, white pepper, dried parsley, star anise, paprika, chipotle, and chili powder to the ground buffalo.
Knead the spices into the meat with your hands until the mixture is uniform.
Drizzle on the teriyaki sauce and mushroom soy.
Splash on some Tabasco, to taste.
Knead the mixture again with your hands to work the liquids into the meat.
Form the buffalo burger patties
Split the meat up into 2 even hunks (or 3 or 4, depending on how many burgers you’re making). Form each hunk into a ball.
Then smoosh and shape each ball into a patty. Make them as thick or thin as you like.
For the Atkins-friendly version of this burger, sprinkle the patties with black sesame seeds.
Press the seeds into the meat. Roll the patty to coat the edges, as well.
Set your patties aside on a plate.
Prep the zucchini
Grab your zucchini. Give them a rinse under cold water and pat them dry.
Cut each end off one zucchini. Stand it on end and cut it into long slices.
You want them to be maybe about a quarter-of-an-inch thick.
Repeat with the other zucchini. Drizzle the slices with olive oil.
Sprinkle with a little ground cumin and garlic salt.
Mix the slices with your hands to distribute the oil and spices.
Fire up the grill!
Now that you’ve prepped the meat and veggies, it’s time to hit the grill. Heat the grill for about 15 minutes until it’s at least 425 to 450 degrees.
Drop on the burgers and spread out the zucchini slices.
The zucchini slices will only take a minute or two.
Flip them when you see nice, black grill marks underneath.
The zucchini will be done before the burgers. That’s just fine. Transfer them to a plate and set them aside.
We like to serve this dish at room temperature, kind of like a salad.
After a few minutes, flip the burgers. (Ultimately, how long you cook ‘em will depend on how thick they are.)
Let them cook on that side for a few minutes. If they’re not done to your liking, flip ‘em one more time. (At the most, try to keep it to 2 flips per side—a secret to having your burgers stay intact is to not excessively molest them.)
Top with cheese when they’re just about done.
Leave them on the grill for a minute or two so the cheese can melt.
Serve hot (with or without bun/zucchini).