Buffalo Burger with Spicy Ketchup


New American Table

Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Buffalo Burger with Spicy Ketchup
Buffalo Burger with Spicy Ketchup
This image courtesy of Paul Brissman

Editor's Note: The next time you plan to cook burgers for a crowd, up the ante in a big way with this buffalo burger recipe. Buffalo Burger with Spicy Ketchup includes Napa cabbage and eggs, resulting in a delightful take on the traditional burger. This recipe calls for spicy ketchup, so feel free to use store-bought or whip up your own batch of homemade spicy ketchup. This dinner recipe for four people is one you'll want to use again and again this summer. If you've never purchased buffalo meat before, then pay a visit to your favorite local butcher shop. 

How do you take the most iconic American food and make it even more American? That was the question I asked myself when I set out to put my own mark on the classic hamburger.

My number one priority was to create a great interplay of textures among the bun, the toppings, and the patty itself. First, I decided to use buffalo meat as the basis of the patty. After all, there's no animal that's more American than the buffalo, which once roamed the plains in massive numbers. Because buffalo meat is so lean, I mixed it with flank steak to make a juicier burger, and instead of grinding the meat, I diced it to make a lighter, less dense burger. Next came the question of toppings. I don't think any burger is complete without cheese, but instead of just melting it on top, I decided to try mixing the cheese into the meat. The result was the juiciest burger I'd ever had.

In this version, the Napa cabbage lends a great crunch, while the fried egg adds an everyday elegance and sophistication that elevate the burger and make it special.

Serves4 Servings

Cooking MethodPan-frying


Total Timeunder 1 hour

OccasionGame Day

Recipe CourseMain Course

EquipmentGrill Pan

MealDinner, Lunch


Taste and TextureCheesy, Garlicky, Herby, Hot & Spicy, Meaty, Savory

Type of DishHamburger


  • 1 pound buffalo loin, fat trimmed cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • ½ pound flank steak finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped plus l garlic clove thinly sliced
  • 2 shallots chopped
  • ¼ pound Jack cheese shredded plus 4 slices Jack cheese
  • 5 drops Tabasco
  • 4 drops Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more for eggs
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for eggs
  • 1 teaspoon mild chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 Napa cabbage leaves cut in half
  • 4 potato buns
  • 4 large eggs
  • Spicy ketchup
  • 1 heirloom tomato cut into 4 slices
  • 1 red onion thinly sliced


  1. Place the buffalo meat and flank steak in a large bowl. Add the chopped garlic, the shallots, the shredded Jack cheese, the Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt, pepper, and chili powder and mix with your hands until well combined. Using wet hands to prevent the meat mixture from sticking, shape the meat into 7-ounce patties, about 4 inches in diameter and ½ inch thick.

  2. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the cabbage and the sliced garlic and saute for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and set aside.

  3. Heat a grill pan over high heat.

  4. Place the buns on the grill and toast. Remove from the grill and set aside. Place the patties on the grill and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Remove from the grill and let rest for 3 minutes.

  5. While the burgers are resting, heat a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Crack the eggs into the pan and cook until the yolks are set and only slightly runny. Season with salt and pepper.

  6. To serve, place a dollop of spicy ketchup on the bottom half of each toasted bun. Layer with the cabbage mixture. Place a burger on top of the cabbage and arrange a cheese slice, a tomato slice, and an onion slice on the burger. Place the egg, sunny side up, on the other half of the bun and serve with french fries.


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