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These Sliders Are Made with Lean Meat You’ve Probably Never Bought Before (But Should)

Updated

This football season, we’ve partnered with Taste of the NFL and their favorite tailgating experts to share great game-day recipes for an even greater cause.  Join these chefs in raising awareness and funds for hunger relief across the country by taking the Kick Hunger Challenge with your favorite football team and making a donation to their local food bank. And be sure to check PEOPLE.com every Thursday for a new game day recipe from your favorite celebrity chefs. Here, Ray Lampe, Dr. BBQ shares a recipe for his Bison Sliders with Cheddar, Bacon and Balsamic Onions.

When it’s a special occasion, like the big game, I like to cook things that are familiar but with a unique and tasty twist. Everyone likes sliders on game day but I’m not going to serve the same old burgers with the same old toppings. Let’s do something special for this special day.

For this dish I’ve used bison for the patties. It’s lean and healthy and has a meaty bold flavor. Look for ground bison at any good supermarket. That big bison flavor pairs well with my tangy and savory topping of the caramelized balsamic onions. Add a slice of sharp cheddar and a little bit of bacon to complete a gourmet experience on a little slider bun. Those sweet Hawaiian rolls are perfect.

I’d serve these with homemade potato chips seasoned with a spicy blackening rub and some little cornichon pickles on the side or skewered on top of the buns.

RELATED: Rick Bayless’ Game Day Queso Fundido Burgers Will Make You Melt

Bison Sliders with Cheddar, Bacon and Balsamic Onions

Serves 8

8 mini burger buns
1 lb. ground bison meat
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 red onion, halved and sliced thinly
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
4 slices bacon
8 small slices sharp cheddar cheese
Shredded lettuce
Salt
Pepper

RELATED: Cheeseburger Dumplings Are Your New Must-Eat Food in Life

WATCH THIS: We Tried It: A Burger Cleanse

1. In a large skillet over medium heat, toast the bun halves on their cut side, and then set aside.

2. Form the bison into 8 equal size mini patties. Season them with salt and pepper on both sides and set aside.

3. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook stirring occasionally until the onions are tender, about 5 minutes.

4. Add the balsamic and continue cooking until nicely browned and soft. Remove from heat and set aside.

5. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until crispy. Remove from the pan and drain on a paper towel.

6. Add the burgers to the pan with the hot bacon fat. Cook until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes, then flip. Top each burger with cheese and cook another 2-3 minutes.

7. Transfer each burger to a bun bottom.

8. Break each slice of bacon into 4 pieces and place 2 pieces on top of each burger. Top the bacon with 1/8 of the onion mixture and a bit of the shredded lettuce.