Try It Today: Bison

by in Healthy Tips, February 3, 2009

Bison Steak

These days, you might find bison burger, bison steaks and even bison pate served at your favorite restaurants. “Bison?” you might wonder. Don’t be wary. Bison is lean protein that’s worth a try.

Back in the Day
The great American buffalo (species Bison bison) grazed the Great Plains for hundreds of years. Hunted in the 1600s for their fur and later for their bones and meat, the bison was almost extinct by the late 1800s. Today, bison meat, which comes from managed ranches, has been making a comeback as the “new red meat.”

The Nutrition Facts
This meat is such a nutrition powerhouse that it’s no wonder the U.S. demand for it keeps growing. A three-ounce bison rib eye steak contains 150 calories and is very low in cholesterol. With just under five grams of fat and two grams of saturated fat, it has a much lower fat content than any other meat on the market. Bison meat is also an excellent source of zinc, irons and vitamin B-12.

Bison vs. Beef
Bison tends to have a richer and sweeter flavor than beef. When raw, it has a deeper red color because there is no marbling (i.e. the white layers of fat found in beef). Bison comes in identical cuts to beef, which makes shopping for it easier. You will find choices such as flank steak, brisket, ground and tenderloin.

Grass-Fed Bison vs. Grain-Fed Bison
Grass-fed means the bison is let out to graze, rather than given feed mix, which might have added hormones or antibiotics. Grass-fed bison has yellow fat (as opposed to white) because it has more beta-carotene and has slightly lower fat, cholesterol and calories and a higher percentage of omega-3 fats than grain-fed bison meat.

Handling and Preparing
While not widely carried yet, farmers’ markets and some supermarkets or specialty stores sell bison meat. You can also order it online and have it delivered. Use refrigerated bison meat within five days or store it in the freezer. Defrost frozen meat overnight in the refrigerator or run it under cool water.

Since bison meat is very low in fat, it cooks faster than other red meats; this means it can also easily overcook. As a general rule, use a low heat (325°F) and longer cooking times. Braising or stewing works best with large cuts of meat such as roasts or steaks. Try broiling or grilling thinner slices such as sirloin tip.

These days bison burgers are available in many U.S. restaurants. Bison steak, roasts or ribs are great addition to a weekly dinner menu. Use bison in stews or substitute ground bison for beef in lasagna or a meat sauce.

Photo by The Flying Chef/Recipezaar

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Comments (34)

  1. Dodi says:

    BISON BURGERS are awesome!!!!

  2. phillip boyd anderson says:

    the first time about 10 years ago in some white chile beans and i love it my wife took first place in a cookoff 3 months ago.

  3. phillip boyd anderson says:

    Jennifer I was thinking i have buffago
    wing cheese it the hottest chesse i try in my life trying i try to send you some
    if you like it. philiip anderson 4855 cr 421 fulton,mo 65251

  4. aimee alfonso says:

    I only had a buffalo burger once at a diner in New Hampshire. I loved it. That was years ago. I am now a vegetarian. While I am sometimes tempted to have it again… Remember..It is still murdering an animal!

  5. JulieHarward says:

    The area I used to live in had Buffalo dinners together once a year, it is good. At a younger age, it seemed alittle strange to eat Buffalo over Beef, but I saw it in our local market the other day, si I am going to give it a try.

  6. Aarron Pina says:

    I am looking forward to trying some bison soon. I am not a vegetarian. Yes, it is murdering an animal, but animals have four legs and lettuce has none. Lettuce doesn’t even have a chance to RUN!!! Ever see a fleeing tomato? VEGETABLES ARE MURDER, TOO!!!

  7. Meagan says:

    Bison is wonderful! I use it in place of beef all of the time; especially when I make burgers. To be honest I really haven’t gone back to beef burgers. Bison is so lean and yet so tasty, it’s definitely my choice meat.

  8. If youwant to learn more about “best practice” for cooking buffalo or any other game meat – visit the WildCheff (national authoriy on wild game cooking) by doing a Google search for WildCheff or visit my website a widcheff dot com. I even hear that the Food Network is currently speaking with the WildCheff :)

  9. Deb in WY says:

    unfortunately all bison meat you purchase is not created equally. Some bison ranchers are putting them into a feedlot to compete with beef. Some dehorn and castrate as well. IMO this defeats the entire reason for consuming a natural, lean, healthy meat. It also is an unnatural way to raise bison, off the grass is the only bison to eat if you are looking for healthy meat.

  10. Tom M says:

    Yes, I have seen a fleeing tomato. If your grocery bag fails you while you are walking up a hill, you will find that many fruits and vegetable are capable of escape. The round ones mostly. The carrots didn’t make it nearly as far.

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