Beer & Bison Burgers with Garlic Pub Cheese and Bacon & Egg Potato Salad

Ground bison can be shaped into burgers and grilled just like ground beef, but the result is a substantially looser, leaner burger, much lower in fat than its ground-beef cousin. On a hot grill, bison burgers have a tendency to fall apart; we use rolled oats to bind the patties with the beer just a little bit. Because they are so lean, they tend to get a little dry, which is where our homemade pub cheese enters the picture. Eating a lower-fat burger justifies spooning what is essentially cream cheese on top, and as soon as the pub cheese hits the hot burger, it runs and drips in rivulets throughout the grassy, Earthy, protein-rich meat. It’s a delicious alternative to your basic burger, and is perfect for days with nothing to do but sit around the grill, drinking beer and thinking about America.

Beer & Bison Burgers with Garlic Pub Cheese
Adapted from a recipe in Sunset magazine


  • 1 lb. ground bison
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup amber ale, such as Gritty’s Vacationland, divided
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 large garlic cloves
  • 4 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 cup grated sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 4 hamburger buns or soft Kaiser rolls
  • 2 tbl butter
  • 2 cups alfalfa or broccoli sprouts


Mix bison, oats, and 2 tablespoons ale in a large bowl. Form into four 1/2 inch patties, brush with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. For the pub cheese, pulse garlic in food processor until diced. Add cheeses and continue pulsing until smooth. Grill burgers, turning once, about 6 minutes total for medium. While burgers grill, brush buns with butter and grill until lightly browned. To serve, arrange burgers on bottom of buns and top with sprouts. Spread bun tops with cheese mixture and serve immediately.

Jillian likes her potato salad jammed up with vegetables, accoutrements, and condiments. Feel free to add more potatoes, if copious quantities of starchy tubers are more your thing.

Bacon and Egg Potato Salad


  • 16 oz fingerling potatoes
  • 4 hard boiled eggs, chopped
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1/2 cup yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 4 strips of bacon, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • splash of Worcestershire sauce
  • dash of paprika, dill, garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp lemon juice


Cube and cook the potatoes in salted, boiling water until fork-tender; toss with lemon juice and spiced. Combine gently with other ingredients and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Malcolm Bedell is co-author of the critically acclaimed "Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road," as well as the junk food blog "Spork & Barrel," and "Brocavore," a blog about food trucks and street food culture. His contributions include Serious Eats, Down East, Eat Rockland, L.A. Weekly, The Guardian, and The Huffington Post and his food truck, "'Wich, Please," was named "Hottest Restaurant in Maine" for 2015 by Eater. Finally, he finds it very silly to be trying to write this in the third person.


  1. If you ever find yourself up Bangor-way you need to try the Pub Cheese at Geaghan’s. I could eat a meal of just pub cheese there (if you ask nicely, they’ll give you a little tub of it with a pile of individually wrapped crackers to snack on while you wait).

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