Recipe for History: BBQ Bison Sliders on Plantain Buns

When Paul and Donna from the Varmints! podcast asked me to come up with a recipe to pair with their episode about buffalo, how could I say no?! Bison is easily accessible in regular grocery stores these days and, being already ground, is ridiculously easy to prep, unlike that delicious rabbit I made for Easter dinner. Plus, what’s more decidedly American than a slider? Native Americans have eaten bison for centuries, even before the “America” existed. I’m assuming both Paul and Donna said they’d totally eat bison, and I hope both of them already have, because it’s delicious! So what did I come up with? BBQ Bison Sliders!

Why Bison?

If you like to be nice to animals while still wanting to eat them, bison meat is an excellent choice; bison are raised more humanely than most beef cattle. You’ll never find growth hormones used in bison, as it’s prohibited by the USDA.

It’s also lower in fat and higher in protein than regular beef, giving you a flavorful, slightly sweet, nutrient dense meat.

How to Keep It Moist

Bison meat is much leaner than beef, so you never want to cook it past medium. Because of it’s lack of fat, it also cooks much faster than beef, so the best way to avoid overcooking is to use a scorching hot cast iron skillet and just sear them for no more than 2 minutes per side for sliders. This, after a brief rest period, will bring them to medium, keeping them juicy and tender.

The Recipe: BBQ Bison Sliders on Plantain Buns

This bison sliders recipe is actually really easy. You might think making plantain buns would be complicated, but they’re definitely not! This is the tostones method, which makes baked plantain chips crispy, but the cooking time is shortened so you get a tender bite that holds together without crumbling. All you need is two plantains, olive oil spray, kosher salt, ground bison, sliced cheese and your favorite barbecue sauce.

bison slider ingredients

First, the plantain buns for the bison sliders! Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and line a cookie sheet with foil. Spray the foil liberally with the olive oil spray, then prep the plantains. You want medium ripe plantains so that they’re easy to peel but not too ripe. Peel each plantain and cut into 8 even pieces. Take each piece, lay it between plastic wrap and gently smoosh it flat.

plantain buns 1Carefully peel each slice off and lay out on the foil. Spray the exposed sides of the plantains with more olive oil spray and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown, flipping once. plantain buns 2Set a cast iron skillet on high heat and prep your bison and cheese. Cut two cheese slices into 4 squares and set aside, then divide the bison evenly into 8 pieces. Gently, very gently, mold the bison into sliders without using too much pressure. making the bison slidersOnce your skillet is screamin’ hot, set those sliders in and DON’T TOUCH THEM for 90 seconds to 2 minutes, TOPS.  Then gently flip and cook another 90 seconds. Remove from the heat and allow to rest for 3-5 minutes. Then top with a slice of cheese. Lastly, for each serving, lay down two plantain slices and squirt on a little barbecue sauce. Top with a slider, some more sauce, and finish with another plantain slice. Serve your bison sliders alongside your favorite cheeseburger sides. I INHALED my sliders: they were THAT good. The bison meat is complemented by the barbecue sauce and cheese and slight sweetness of the plantain. You really need to try these!

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Andrea Freitas