Backyard Smoked Bison Burgers

A smoked bison burger on a golden bun with lettuce, onions, tomato and cheese.

Smoked Bison Burgers are the easiest thing to make when learning how to smoke meat. Here’s how to make the tastiest bison burgers in under an hour. They’re the ultimate backyard barbecue treat.

Smoked Bison Burgers

Have you had the chance to experiment with Bison meat? Since Bison farming runs in the family I sometimes have the opportunity to make delicious meals out of purely organic grass fed Bison on a semi-regular basis. In this post my husband and I finally brought out the smoker to make these mouthwatering Smoked Bison Burgers.

Our yard is slowly coming together but it has been a tough go. Mother Nature’s timing was off this year and she threw us all out of whack! We endured huge dumps of early Spring snow than suddenly the weather turned hot and there was absolutely no ‘in between’ for a while. I actually thought that maybe Spring wasn’t going to happen. Despite the strange weather (or perhaps because of it) I was able to get my garden planted during the second week of May but the rest of the yard sat untended to for what seemed like quite a while.

Our First Smoker

When June comes around, well…it’s a totally different story. I love sunny June weekends; the kind where I can spend a day puttering around the back yard. Sunday was that day. We did some backyard planting, followed by an inaugural smoke session in our new smoker.

By ‘new’ I mean that it arrived to me as a Christmas gift from my husband. I have serious doubts about the intent of the gift (RE: He’s the barbecuer in this house!). It’s a very rudimentary smoker (not a fancy one with timers and a pellet feeder). He just seemed a bit too eager to give it to ME for Christmas.

I knew right away that I wouldn’t be the one to use it. However, I’ll be the one dreaming up recipes and ideas and that is entirely okay with me.

After much deliberation, we decided burgers were an easy item to start our smoking adventure with so we thawed two pounds of minced Bison from my uncle Glenn’s Bison farm. The Bison burger mixture wasn’t much different than what we usually add to our regular burger meat but I put a bit more thought about the extra delicious bits surrounding my Smoked Bison Burger.

The Ultimate Backyard Smoked Bison Burger for your hot summer night barbecue #barbecue #smokedburger #bisonburger #burger

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The slightly wild flavour of the Bison really mingled with the smoke and I didn’t have to search too far to find the right condiment to accompany the burgers.

Every year I put up a batch of homemade Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce  and the sweet, sour, slightly spicy sauce was a perfect match. It’s very similar to ketchup but because it’s made from rhubarb, it is entirely night shade free (though obviously I am not…love my tomatoes!)

The Ultimate Backyard Smoked Bison Burger for your hot summer night barbecue #barbecue #smokedburger #bisonburger #burger

Smoked Bison Burger Toppings

Since the smoker was going anyway, my husband sliced a half of an onion and wrapped loosely in foil so that it would also pick up some smoke flavour while it cooked. Though it was a great idea, the onions definitely needed a bit more time to be fully smoked and softened.

On any burger, cheese selection is of utmost importance and I wanted a cheese that could stand on its own but also compliment the dominant flavours of Bison and Rhubarb.

Locally produced Sylvan Star Medium Gouda was my top choice and readily available at our nearest grocery store. It’s a bit too early yet for my lettuce to be up in the garden produce gorgeous but I did find a reasonable local greenhouse grown facsimiles. 

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The Ultimate Backyard Smoked Bison Burgers for your hot summer night.

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Yield: 6 burgers

Backyard Smoked Bison Burgers

A smoked bison burger on a golden bun with lettuce, onions, tomato and cheese.

The Ultimate Smoked Bison Burger for your hot summer night backyard barbecue.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes


  • 2 lbs ground Bison
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg; beaten
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1/3 cup onions; finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • half a large Vidalia onion
  • butter


  • Medium Gouda, Tomato, Lettuce, Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce



  1. Slice the half onion into rings.
  2. Season with Salt and Pepper.
  3. Arrange in a single layer, drop a few pats of butter over the onions.
  4. Place on a large sheet of Aluminum foil and cover loosely.
  5. Cook over medium heat for about an hour depending on how soft you prefer them.


  1. Place ground Bison and seasonings in a large bowl. Add spices, egg, and breadcrumbs.
  2. Mix thoroughly and divide into 8 equal amounts. Flatten into burgers and refrigerate until smoker is ready.
  3. Soak your wood chips in a bowl of water.
  4. Light about half your charcoal in a charcoal chimney using paper as a starter.  It takes about 20 minutes for the charcoal to be red hot.
  5. Load the rest of your charcoal to heat the smoker for 1.5-2 hours and mix in the hot charcoal so it can spread.
  6. When the smoker is up to temperature (medium-high) add wood chips onto the coals, fill the water pan and place on lower rack..
  7. Cook burgers for 45-60 min (depending on how hot your smoker is) to target internal temperature of 65C (150F) check with meat thermometer.
  8. Optional, when you are close to being done the burgers (estimate 5-10 min) place slice of cheese on top and let it melt.


To make the Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce check out this post HERE.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 469Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 167mgSodium: 355mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 2gSugar: 5gProtein: 40g

Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.

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  1. Denise Pare-Watson

    There is something about smoked meat that is just irresistible, right, Bernice? I’ll just bet that your Smoked Bison Burger created a food memory for you to remember for years to come. I am sure it was absolutely delicious! I do not have a smoker, but I think I could duplicate your idea with a foil pellet pack in my bbq? You have me thinking now 🙂


    1. Bernice Hill

      hi Denise…you sure can smoke on your barbecue! They have these cast iron boxes with holes in them that hold the wood chips. You just place it in the BBQ and there you go. I think you would also need to have the heat way low and place your meat on the opposite side as the lit burner.

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