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Bison Burger Cookout

4 to 6 hamburger buns (or sourdough rolls)

Let the meat sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat your grill to medium-high.

In a large mixing bowl, use your hands to combine the meat, bread crumbs, salt and egg, and mix well.

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Next, form the mixture into 4 to 6 patties. (Bison doesn't shrink much when cooked, so you can make them into regular-size burgers.)

Coat the grill with cooking spray.

Place the burgers on the grill and cook until medium done (still pink in the center), 4 to 6 minutes per side, depending on the size of the burger. (Do not overcook the patties; bison is very lean and dries out easily.) Add a slice of cheese if you prefer bison cheeseburgers.

Serve on buns or rolls. Makes 4 to 6 burgers.

Per serving (based on 6): 253 calories, 22 gm protein, 28 gm carbohydrates, 5 gm fat, 82 mg cholesterol, 1 gm saturated fat, 563 mg sodium, 1 gm dietary fiber

Don't want to cook? These restaurants answer the call of the wild:

2941 Restaurant. 2941 Fairview Park Dr., Falls Church. 703-270-1500. www.2941restaurant.com. For lunch, this swank place does a grilled bison tenderloin with tomato persillade and crispy Vidalia onion rings ($21). For dinner, you can try a pepper-crusted bison tenderloin, which comes with ostrich loin, red onion marmalade, yellow beets, Yukon potato galette and chickpea fries ($36).

Butterfield 9. 600 14th St. NW. 202-289-8810. www.butterfield9.com. On the lunch menu of this theater-district restaurant is a grilled bison steak with arugula salad and pommes frites ($15.50).

Leftbank. 2424 18th St. NW. 202-464-2100. This shiny new Adams Morgan hangout dishes up a buffalo burger with portabella mushrooms at lunch and dinner ($10).

Palette. 1177 15th St. NW. 202-587-2700. www.palettedc.com. The grilled bison burger at this artfully decorated downtown spot comes with applewood smoked cheddar cheese and hand-cut chips at lunch ($15).

Tragara Ristorante. 4935 Cordell Ave., Bethesda. 301-951-4935. www.tragara.com. This elegant, upscale restaurant regularly serves bison steak with polenta cake as one of its daily specials ($32.95).

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