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Bison Burgers with Smoky Red Pepper Sauce

Disclaimer: Everything I’m about to say is an accidental admittance of my finicky personality.

Every summer, usually around mid-July, I stare at my car’s thermometer slowly climbing above 110° while the leather of my car seat is melting onto my legs, and I think, “this isn’t so bad. This summer has definitely been cooler than last year.” Positivity is essential to prepare for August. That tricky final month of summer inevitably means a constant desire to climb into a walk-in freezer without clothes on, just to cool off. During those muggy (read: horrible and disgusting) August days, I dream of throwing on sweaters and scarves before I can step outside.But once cold weather arrives, I drag myself around in sweatpants carrying fleece throws like a reluctant toddler unwilling to give up his safety blanket. I would make an excellent picture example for a definition for “sloth.” I hate being cold, and so, then I long for the summer.As I type, I have a scarf tightly wrapped around my neck to fight against the (for me) chilly 50° temperatures outside. I’ve entered my longing-for-summer mode. Last night, however, it was a perfect 75°, which seemed like a great reason to use the grill for, possibly, the last time this year.When I saw this recipe in my every-other-hour daily food search, I knew I had to cook it soon. It was one that I’d be daydreaming about constantly until I could eat it. I can never say no to a burger, and I’m a sucker for roasted red peppers. The fiery color makes any dish suddenly beautiful and festive. They’re like the fairy godmother, and their Cinderella is whatever dish they happen to grace. Of course, their flavor is incredible, too.When you can make burgers like this on a slow, Monday night, it makes the following cold morning more bearable. If you need me, I’ll be sitting here under my blanket dreaming about warm weather and cookouts.

Bison Sliders with Smoky Red Pepper Sauce
Serves 2
Adapted from Epicurious

For Sauce
1 red bell pepper
1 garlic clove
1 cup buttermilk dressing
Rounded ¼ tsp hot paprika
¼ tsp salt

For Burgers
1 lb. ground buffalo
salt and pepper
1/4 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 tsp Tabasco
1 tbs ketchup
4 Challah rolls, split

There is absolutely nothing wrong with buying jarred roasted red pepper. But if you want to roast it yourself, it’s incredibly easy. Choose a pepper than is relatively flat and symmetrical; this lets it lie flat on the grill on all sides and char evenly. Heat the grill to medium-high and cook, turning, until each side is charred. Place the pepper in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow it to steam for at least 20 minutes. This makes it easy to peel. Once you’ve peeled it, pull the pepper apart from the bottom; this tends to leave the seeds attached to the stem, making your job slightly easier.

Put the roasted pepper and other ingredients in a food processor and purée until smooth. Transfer the sauce to a jar and refrigerate until ready to use.

In a separate bowl, gently combine buffalo meat with the Worcestershire sauce and ketchup. Form into four 1-inch thick patties that will fit on the Challah rolls and sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides. Grill for about 5 minutes until medium done and serve with sauce.

Picnic tip: Make the patties and sauce at home. Keep the patties in a cooler until about 10 minutes before the grill is ready.

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