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Bison meat is definitely not as popular as beef, but it is a delicious and lean alternative. Read on to find out everything you need to know if you are new to purchasing bison meat.
Bison meat is the meat of the American bison, also known as the American buffalo. Bison is a large, bovine mammal that is native to North America.
Although the terms "bison" and "buffalo" are often used interchangeably, they actually refer to two different species of large, bovine mammals. Bison are native to North America, while buffalo are found in Africa and Asia.
In North America, the animal commonly referred to as the "buffalo" is actually the American bison. The name "buffalo" was given to the bison by early European settlers who mistakenly thought the animal was related to the water buffalo found in Asia.
In the past, bison was primarily consumed by indigenous peoples of North America.
Bison can be purchased in a variety of places, including specialty meat markets and health food stores, but we recommend purchasing online and having your bison shipped to your door. You can shop ChopLocal's selection of bison meat here.
Bison meat and beef are both types of red meat, but they have some differences in terms of taste, nutrition, and production.
Taste: Bison meat is often described as having a slightly sweeter and richer flavor than beef, with a slightly coarser texture. It is also leaner than beef, which can affect its taste and tenderness.
Nutrition: Bison meat is generally considered to be a healthier choice than beef, as it is lower in fat and calories, and higher in protein and iron. Bison meat is also a good source of zinc and vitamin B12.
Production: Bison are typically raised on open pastures and allowed to graze on grass, which is their natural diet. They are not given hormones or antibiotics.
Bison meat is leaner than beef, which means you need to cook it a bit differently.
Here are some tips for cooking bison:
Cook to a lower temperature than beef: Because bison meat is leaner than beef, it can dry out quickly if overcooked. For best results, cook bison to a lower internal temperature than beef, around 130-135°F for rare, 140-145°F for medium rare, and 150-155°F for medium.
Use a meat thermometer: Use a meat thermometer to ensure that the bison is cooked to the desired temperature and avoid overcooking.
Season well: Bison has a slightly sweeter and gamier flavor than beef, so it can benefit from strong seasonings like garlic, rosemary, and thyme.
Use moist heat methods: Because bison is leaner than beef, it can benefit from moist heat cooking methods like braising, stewing, and slow cooking, which help keep the meat tender and juicy.
Rest the meat: Allow bison meat to rest for a few minutes after cooking to allow the juices to redistribute and prevent dryness.
Don't overwork ground bison: When making burgers or meatballs with ground bison, be careful not to overwork the meat, as this can cause it to become tough.
Marinate for flavor and tenderness: Marinating bison meat for a few hours before cooking can help to tenderize the meat and infuse it with flavor. Try marinating in a mixture of oil, vinegar, and herbs.
Bison burgers: Make delicious burgers using seasoned ground bison and serve on a bun with toppings like lettuce, tomato, and cheese.
Bison chili: Use ground bison in place of beef in your favorite chili recipe, adding chili powder, cumin, and other spices for flavor.
Bison meatballs: Mix ground bison with breadcrumbs, egg, and seasonings to make tasty meatballs. Serve with pasta and marinara sauce.
Bison shepherd's pie: Use ground bison in place of ground beef in a shepherd's pie recipe, topping with mashed potatoes and baking until golden brown.
Bison tacos: Brown ground bison with taco seasoning and serve in taco shells with lettuce, tomato, cheese, and salsa.
Bison meatloaf: Mix ground bison with breadcrumbs, egg, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce to make a flavorful meatloaf. Bake until cooked through and serve with mashed potatoes and vegetables.
Bison stuffed peppers: Stuff bell peppers with seasoned ground bison, rice, and cheese. Bake until the peppers are tender and the filling is cooked through.
Bison sloppy joes: Brown ground bison with onion, ketchup, and other seasonings to make a tasty filling for sloppy joes.
Bison spaghetti sauce: Use ground bison in place of ground beef in your favorite spaghetti sauce recipe, adding garlic, onion, and herbs for flavor.
Bison breakfast hash: Brown ground bison with diced potatoes, onion, and peppers. Serve topped with a fried egg for a hearty breakfast.
Bison meat pies: Make mini pies using seasoned ground bison and puff pastry. Bake until golden brown and serve as a snack or main dish.
Bison meatloaf muffins: Mix ground bison with breadcrumbs, egg, and seasonings and bake in a muffin tin. Serve as a fun and easy dinner or lunch option.
Bison stuffed zucchini boats: Scoop out the insides of zucchini and stuff with seasoned ground bison and cheese. Bake until the zucchini is tender and the filling is cooked through.
Bison stir fry: Brown ground bison with vegetables like bell peppers, broccoli, and carrots. Serve over rice or noodles.
Bison stuffed mushrooms: Stuff mushrooms with seasoned ground bison and bake until tender and cooked through.
Bison sloppy joes lettuce wraps: Brown ground bison with onion, ketchup, and other seasonings and serve in lettuce leaves for a low-carb option.
Bison nachos: Top tortilla chips with seasoned ground bison, cheese, salsa, and other toppings for a fun and easy appetizer or snack.
Bison Bolognese sauce: Use ground bison in place of beef in your favorite Bolognese sauce recipe, adding garlic, onion, and herbs for flavor.
Bison quinoa bowls: Cook quinoa and top with seasoned ground bison, roasted vegetables, and a drizzle of sauce.
Bison stuffed cabbage rolls: Roll seasoned ground bison in cabbage leaves and bake until tender and cooked through.
One of our ChopLocal customers, Whitney, recently purchased bison meat from West Forty Market. "This was our first experience with ground bison and we loved the taste and texture," she says. "We loved it prepared with garlic and onions and it also made a great base for a meat sauce for our kids."
Ready to give bison meat a try?