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  • Writer's pictureJJ Bison

Bison Bao Buns

As part of our JJ Bison around the world food fun, we made bison bao buns! Bao buns originate from China in the 3rd century, and may have even been around much longer. Bao buns were allegedly made popular by Zhuge Liang after he returned home from war after hearing about how locals would sacrifice men and throw their heads into the rivers to allow them to pass through. Zhuge decided to make buns instead and throw them into the river which satisfied the river diety and parted the waters to allow Zhuge's army to pass through. Bao Buns are super delicious and we're excited to show you the recipe!


For the Filling:

  • 1lb bison roast chuck

  • 3 tablespoons ginger

  • 2 onions, quartered

  • 5 cloves of garlic

  • 2 cups beef stock

  • 5 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar

  • 1 cup shredded spinach

  • 1 thingly sliced red onion

For The Buns:

There are 2 methods for this recipe for the bun portion:

Easy mode: Buttermilk biscuits from Pillsbury or other biscuits


  • 1/3 cup warm water

  • 1/2 cup warm milk

  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast

  • 4 tablespoon sugar (2 for the yeast, and 2 for the flour)

  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • Cooking spray

  • Foil


The Filling (6 hours):

  1. In a slowcooker, add the ginger, quartered onions, garlic, beef stock, soy sauce, and sugar and mix it together.

  2. Add the roast chuck bison and cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 5.

  3. Once the filling is cooked, move the filling to a bowl and shred the bison.

  4. Stir in the spinach and onions.

Homemade buns (takes about 2 1/2 hours):

  1. In a medium-large sized bowl, consolidate water, milk, yeast, 2 tablespoons sugar, and oil, and whisk together.

  2. Cover the watery mixture in the bowl for 10 minutes with a dry towel.

  3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and salt.

  4. Pour the dry ingredients into the yeast mixture and stir until it becomes a loose ball. You may have some crumbs left over, and they will be combined in the next step.

  5. Take the dough out of the bowl and kneed on a couter for 5 minutes. The goal is to have the dough soft and elastic, so if you poke it, it bounces back up slightly without sticking to your finger.

  6. Spray the bowl with cooking spray, and place the dough in the bowl and cover tightly with foil for 2 hours.

Making the dumplings with homemade buns or store bought biscuits:

  1. In a stove-top steamer, line the steamer with parchment paper and bring water to a boil.

  2. On the counter, roll out the homemade or store bought biscuits into thin, 3 inch squares.

  3. Place the bison mixture into the middle of the 3 inch square, about 1 - 2 tablespoons.

  4. Grab the sides of the buns and bring two opposite sides together, and pinch to form a ball. Ideally the seams will be completely closed so when you steam them, nothing comes out of the bun.

  5. Place buns in the steam basket so there is no overlap for about 8 minutes, or until the dough is cooked all the way.

  6. Remove the buns carefully with tongs and serve.

  7. Enjoy!

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