Bison sliders with blueberry BBQ sauce and pickled onions

Hearty bison pairs beautifully with this blueberry BBQ sauce!

At DMK Burger Bar in Chicago, you can make any burger a bison burger. Owner Michael Kornick originally created this recipe as a summer offering using Michigan blueberries, but it has earned itself a permanent place on the menu. This recipe also can be used to make regular-size burgers. Simply adjust the amount of cheese and toppings that you use.

Bison sliders with blueberry barbecue sauce, goat cheese and marinated red onions

Makes 8 sliders


1 lb ground bison
2 tbsp minced garlic
1/4 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
8 tbsp chèvre (fresh goat cheese), at room temperature, divided
8 slider buns (each about 2 1/2 inches in diameter), toasted, grilled or warmed
Marinated red onions (recipe follows)
Blueberry barbecue sauce (recipe follows)


In a medium mixing bowl, combine the bison, garlic and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well by hand and then divide the mixture into 8. Gently form into patties, each about 2 1/2 inches in diameter. If time allows, refrigerate, covered, for at least 1 hour to let the patties firm up.

In a large non-stick skillet or grill pan over medium-high, heat the oil. Add the burgers. Cook just until no longer pink inside, about 3 minutes per side. Burgers should be cooked to 160 F. Alternately, heat the barbecue to medium-high and grease the grill. Place the burgers directly on the grill, cooking just until no longer pink inside, about 3 minutes per side.

To assemble, crumble or spread 1 tablespoon of chèvre on the bottom of each bun. Top each with a small portion of marinated onions and a burger. Top each burger with a generous dollop of barbecue sauce and more onions, if desired. Cover with bun tops.

Blueberry barbecue sauce

Makes about 1 1/4 cups


1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped onion, preferably Spanish or other sweet variety
1 tbsp minced jalapeno
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tsp hot sauce
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries


In a medium saucepan over medium-high, heat the oil. Add the onion and jalapeno. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the brown sugar, ketchup, mustard, rice wine vinegar, and hot sauce. Bring to a simmer, stirring. Add the blueberries. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature for about 1 hour.

In a blender or food processor, purée the cooled sauce. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, discarding the solids. (If seeds don’t bother you, skip this step.) Refrigerate the sauce, covered, until ready to use.

Courtesy Jennifer Bain
Buffalo Girl Cooks Bison


Pickled red onions

Makes about 1 1/2 cups (375 mL)
One serving: 2 tbsp (30 mL)


1 large red onion, don’t substitute
2/3 cup (175 mL) white vinegar
1/4 cup (60 mL) granulated sugar
1/2 tsp (2 mL) iodized salt


Peel and thinly slice red onion. If you have a mandolin, use it. If not, slice the onion really thinly and ask Santa for a mandolin for Christmas.

Separate rings and place onions in a clean 2 cup (500 mL) mason jar.

In a small saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, stir to dissolve sugar. Pour over onion slices.

Cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate. Will keep up to 1 month refrigerated.

Per serving: 24 calories, 0 g fat, 96 mg sodium, 0.2 g carbohydrate, 5.6 g fibre, 0.4 g sugars, 0.1 g protein

Courtesy Barb Holland
Homegrown: Celebrating the Canadian foods we grow, make and produce