Napa Valley Bison Burger with Roasted Garlic Aioli

Napa Valley Bison Burger with Roasted Garlic Aioli
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About This Recipe

In the heart of Napa Valley, where gourmet flavors meld with local ingredients, I discovered the magic of the bison burger recipe. As a resident of this picturesque region, I've been fortunate enough to indulge in the myriad of flavors it offers. One such culinary adventure led me to create the Napa Valley Bison Burger with Roasted Garlic Aioli. If you're a home cook searching for the best bison burger recipe or a food enthusiast keen to delve into healthy recipes that encapsulate the spirit of Napa, then this is a must-try.

Bison stands out as a lean yet delectable meat, making it an excellent choice for those on the lookout for healthy hamburger meat recipes. The secret to a juicy burger recipe, particularly one that's also a healthy burger, lies in the quality of ingredients. I source my ground bison from trusted local farms, ensuring not just freshness but also sustainable farming practices. Merging this with a splash of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon in the burger mix ties in the local essence and lends a profound, earthy undertone that meshes wonderfully with the meat.

To accompany this healthy hamburger meal, consider lighter side dishes. A crisp green salad dressed in a zesty vinaigrette or grilled seasonal vegetables, perhaps drizzled with olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt, are both splendid choices. Keeping up with the wine country motif for dessert? A homemade Cabernet Sauvignon sorbet or a rustic peach galette, featuring peaches directly from a neighborhood farmer's market, can round off the meal beautifully, echoing Napa's cherished farm-to-table philosophy.

Wondering where to procure these first-rate ingredients? The Oxbow Public Market in downtown Napa stands as a treasure trove. Not only can you find a plethora of high-caliber, locally-sourced items, but you might also stumble upon hidden culinary jewels like The Fatted Calf, a renowned charcuterie and butcher hub.

For wine aficionados, Napa Valley remains unrivaled. Given bison's hearty flavor profile, I often pair this bison burger with robust red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. Wine houses such as Stag's Leap Wine Cellars, Silver Oak Cellars, and Turnbull Wine Cellars showcase these varietals, each offering an immersive tasting journey that allows you to engage with the region's rich heritage.

As you savor the flavors of the Napa Valley Bison Burger with Roasted Garlic Aioli, pause and reflect on the vibrant culinary legacy of this area. From the visionary pioneers who planted the first vineyards to the modern chefs crafting groundbreaking dishes, Napa Valley stands as a beacon of culinary innovation. Whether you're a Californian gourmet, wine enthusiast, or simply someone scouting for wholesome and flavorful meals, this bison recipe, among many others from our valley, promises to inspire. So, as you sit back and appreciate the sunset over the sprawling vineyards, let the distinct tastes of our region tantalize your palate. Here's to all your future Napa Valley-inspired gastronomic exploits! Cheers!

Hero Ingredient Spotlight: Bison

Bison, often hailed as "the other red meat," is no mere substitute for beef. It’s a lean, nutrient-dense meat packed with protein, iron, and essential fatty acids. The unique taste profile of bison—a sweet, rich flavor with hints of earthiness—is a testament to its grass-fed upbringing and the absence of antibiotics or hormones in its rearing. Bison's lean nature means it's lower in fat, calories, and cholesterol than its beef counterpart. Moreover, sourcing bison, especially from local farms, champions the ethos of sustainable and ethical farming, ensuring you're not only treating your palate but also advocating for a better environment.

How to Perfectly Shape and Grill Bison Patties

Bison meat, given its lean profile, can be a bit tricky to handle compared to beef. But with a few pointers, you can master the art of making the perfect bison burger.

  1. Gentle Mixing: When incorporating wine, onions, and herbs, use your fingertips and ensure you mix gently to avoid compacting the meat. Overmixing can lead to tough burgers.
  2. Patty Formation: For even cooking, aim to create patties of consistent thickness—preferably an inch thick. Remember to make a slight indentation in the center of the patty; this prevents it from puffing up during cooking.
  3. Grill Prep: Given bison’s low-fat content, it's essential to preheat your grill adequately. A hot grill ensures the meat doesn't stick and gives it a flavorful sear.
  4. Cooking: Bison should be cooked to medium or medium-rare for the best flavor and texture. Beyond this, the meat may become dry due to its lean nature.


  1. Can I substitute beef for bison in this recipe? Absolutely. While bison offers a unique flavor, beef can be used as a direct substitute in terms of quantity and cooking process.
  2. What if I can't find Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon for the mix? Any dry red wine can serve as a substitute. However, a regional Cabernet Sauvignon is recommended to capture the essence of the Napa Valley.
  3. How long can the Roasted Garlic Aioli be stored? The aioli can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  4. Are there any gluten-free bun recommendations? Yes, many bakeries and grocery stores offer gluten-free burger buns these days. Just ensure they are toasted well for best texture and flavor.
  5. Any tips for a vegetarian or vegan version of this burger? For a vegetarian alternative, consider using portobello mushrooms marinated in red wine. Vegan aioli substitutes are available in most stores, or you can make your own using vegan mayo.

Tips for Success

  1. Freshness First: Always prioritize fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. Bison, in particular, should be as fresh as possible to capture its full flavor profile.
  2. Resting the Patties: After shaping the bison patties, let them rest for about 10 minutes before grilling. This step helps in firming up the patty and ensuring it retains its shape while cooking.
  3. Toppings Galore: While the Roasted Garlic Aioli adds a delightful flavor, consider adding fresh lettuce, a slice of tomato, and perhaps a slice of aged cheddar or blue cheese to elevate the burger to gourmet status.

With these insights, you’re now well-equipped to master the Napa Valley Bison Burger. Dive into the experience, cherish the flavors, and most importantly, enjoy every bite. Happy cooking!

Recipe Overview

Napa Valley Bison Burger with Roasted Garlic Aioli
Lily Anderson
4-6 servings
Calories Per Serving:
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:

Ingredients List


For the Bison Burgers:

  1. 1.5 lbs ground bison
  2. 1/4 cup red wine (preferably a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon)
  3. 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  4. 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  5. 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  6. 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  7. 4-6 burger buns

For the Roasted Garlic Aioli:

  1. 1 head of garlic
  2. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  3. 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  4. 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  5. 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
  6. Salt and pepper to taste

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C). Cut the top off the garlic head, drizzle with olive oil, and wrap in aluminum foil. Roast in the oven for 35-40 minutes until soft and golden. Let it cool, then squeeze out the roasted garlic cloves into a small bowl.
  2. In the same small bowl, add the mayonnaise, lemon juice, dijon mustard, and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set the aioli aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine ground bison, red wine, chopped red onion, parsley, sea salt, and black pepper. Mix gently until all ingredients are well incorporated.
  4. Shape the mixture into 4-6 patties, depending on the size of your burger buns.
  5. Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Cook the patties for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until they reach your desired level of doneness.
  6. Toast the burger buns on the grill for 1-2 minutes.
  7. Assemble the burgers by spreading a generous layer of roasted garlic aioli on the bottom bun, then add the bison patty and any desired toppings. Finish with the top bun.

Share Your Results

Was it everything you dreamed it could be? Let me know how it turned out for you and share a picture on social media with the hashtag #LilyCooksNapa

Hello and welcome to Napa Home Chef! We're thrilled you're joining us to explore the vibrant world of wine country cooking. Our team has crafted bold, creative recipes inspired by Napa Valley's lush landscapes, bountiful harvests, and world-renowned wines. We hope you enjoy the journey with us!

Get ready to experience the rich flavors and unique culinary delights that embody the essence of wine country living. Happy cooking!

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