Welcome to week 41 of Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday. This week we welcome Montana, who joined the union on November 8, 1889. Sorry this one is actually coming up on a Thursday. I was travelling last week and still trying to get back into my normal routine. Add an illness to the mix of my elderly father (he’s 93!) and well, you get the picture.
First, I would like to give a big shout out to the state of Minnesota. I know it is Montana’s turn, but I spent a whole week in the Twin Cities and had a great time. From sticking my toes in the Mississippi River, to seeing Adele in St Paul (I know, you’re envious about that one), to seeing both The Lion King and South Pacific, and a visit to Paisley Park, it was a whole lot of fun. I even got to spend the Fourth of July with my nephew Travis. Oh, and I had a Juicy Lucy! Lots of memories, all good.
Alright, on to Montana. Montana is the 4th largest U.S. state by area, behind Alaska, Texas and California. Interestingly, it is one of the least populated, with only 6 people per square mile. And although the name Montana comes from the Spanish word montaña, meaning “mountain”, it has the lowest elevation of any of the Rocky Mountain States.
When I think of Montana, I think of Indian Territories and Bison. In 1908, the National Bison Range was created to protect bison, which were nearly extinct at that time. Protected, nearly 500 live in the range today.
And here is an interesting fact; especially in light of the pretty warm temps here is Philly this week. The coldest temperature in the lower 48 states ever recorded was -70°F in Rogers Pass, MT on January 20, 1954. In January of 1972, Loma, MT, broke the national record for the greatest temperature change within a 24-hour period by recording a 103 degree climb from -54°F to 49°F. I have no right to complain about weather…ever.
In looking for a recipe for this week, I discovered that Montana is really known for only two things; Rocky Mountain Oysters and Bison Burgers. In case you do not know, a Rocky Mountain Oyster is not seafood. It is a deep fried bull testicle. Not only are they not available in the greater Philadelphia area, I wouldn’t eat one if you paid me. So I went with the Bison Burger.
Bison meat is very lean and I like the flavor. I know that making a burger from bison can result in something very dry, so I went looking for a recipe that would help it with both flavor and fat content. What I settled on was a recipe that uses Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce, along with a little bacon fat. The result was very tasty, served with some melted cheese and caramelized onions.
A very simple dish but with loads of flavor, I would highly recommend swapping out your everyday ground beef for some bison. A nice change, it comes together very quickly and I would make it again. This gets a solid A.
Thanks for your patience! I promise to be more timely next week when we move on to Washington State. See you Tuesday!
Recipe for Montana Bison Burger:
½ tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp melted rendered bacon fat
1 lb. ground bison
Toasted sesame rolls
Combine all the burger ingredients. Form into 4 patties and refrigerate for 2 hours (if you have the time) to meld the flavors.
Preheat a grill pan over medium high heat. Add a little oil, and then fry the patties until your desired done-ness. I recommend about 3 minutes a side, making the burger about medium done.
Serve on toasted rolls with your choice of condiments. I recommend the onions and bacon.