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July is National Bison Month!

July is Bison Month so now is a great time to talk about bison meat and how it has entered the plates of a growing number of restaurants and households.

Bison meat, if you still don’t know it yet, comes from the bison. This great beast once ruled the American plains but was driven to near extinction because of hunting. But it has made a comeback from and a number of farmers are now raising bison for their meat.

Bison vs Beef

Is there really something about bison meat that makes it a meat that you should seriously consider? If we’re to believe what nutritionists say, we should. According to studies made on bison meat, it is actually a lot healthier to consume compared to beef. First of all, it is significantly leaner than beef.  Bison meat is 97 percent fat-free and has 40 percent more protein than beef. Even the American Heart Association has chimed in. Bison meat meets the dietary guidelines set by the AHA. In fact, it is often recommended by doctors to patients if they still want to indulge in their diets without compromising their dietary restrictions, especially with fat intake. In fact, a number of weight loss programs that are considered to be highly effective mention bison meat as part of their “recommended diet foods.”

With all of the concerns over GMOs and hormone-saturated farm products, bison meat is something that will allay these fears. Bison are allowed to graze and mainly live on grass. Their diets have remained unchanged – it is the same thing they eat when they are in the wild. Bison that are raised for their meat are not given chemicals or hormones and the only supplemental feeding they get is hay and the occasional oats (usually during the times of the year when pastures dry up). Bison meat producers are quite strict with the dietary guidelines of the bison they raise because they consciously want to separate their image from that of cows and cattle farming. The result is meat that is generally considered sweeter and more flavorful.

As for value, bison meat is considered gourmet meat so expect to pay a little more to try this “exotic” meat. But some people say that the value is not really in the price but in what you get. It may be more expensive than beef but, as previously mentioned, it contains more protein and significantly less fat and cholesterol.

Since it’s Bison month, why don’t you buy some bison meat and see what all the fuss is about?

Cooking tips for bison meat

Bison is a great alternative to beef but when cooking it, remember that it needs to be cooked differently. Bison meat needs to be cooked at a lower temperature compared to beef. It’s because bison meat doesn’t have marbling – or those white flecks of fat that are found in between the muscle tissues. The fat insulates the meat that’s why it takes a longer time to cook. Bison shares the same general flesh consistency with beef so cook bison with the same doneness as you would do beef.

Cuts of bison can be substituted for the same cut of beef in most recipes, although the cooking temperatures, but not the times, should be reduced.

Steaks and Burgers

Medium rare to medium are the best levels of doneness when using bison meat for burgers or steaks. Remember that bison meat will cook faster than regular beef because it is significantly leaner than beef. Finally, do not use a fork when turning steaks because puncturing the meat will just result in the juices flowing out of it, which will just result in a tougher meat.


Pan frying, braising and broiling

Remember to turn down the temperature of the heat you’re using when pan frying bison meat. For broiling, rearrange the broiler rack and make sure that the rack is two to four inches farther than usual.





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