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Bison – The Other Red Meat

Gorgonzola and Sun-Dried Tomato Bison Burgers

Gorgonzola and Sun-Dried Tomato Bison Burgers

These days a lot of people are looking for leaner cuts of meat, so I thought I’d give you the lowdown on bison – the other red meat. You may be familiar with the plight of the American bison (buffalo) that once roamed the Great Plains by the hundreds of thousands.

By the late 1800s, their numbers had been decimated through commercial hunting and slaughter, and bison were nearly extinct.The good news is that the population today is more than 500,000 and growing, thanks to the ranchers who are grazing bison in large numbers on the same plains they once called home. Bison has made this amazing comeback due in large part to the rediscovery of this lean and tasty alternative to beef. Unlike cattle that have been selectively bred for marbling, bison remain much closer to their original wild lineage and as a result their meat is much leaner.Grilled Bison Strip SteaksBison generally has fewer calories, a lower fat content yet more protein than beef, making it a good choice for the health conscious meat eater. Extremely nutrient dense, a single serving provides good amounts of iron, zinc and the antioxidant selenium.

Plus, the bison we sell at Whole Foods Market® stores spend the majority of their lives at home on the range. With our bison, you get great-tasting meat from animals raised with:

  • No antibiotics — ever
  • No added growth hormones*
  • No animal byproducts in feed

*Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones in raising pork, poultry, goats, veal and bison. As a meat guy I personally love seeing fresh bison in the case. The leanness and high iron content gives the meat a bright red color that outshines just about everything else. In our butcher case, we offer an extensive selection of fresh cuts of bison.

If you’ve never tried it before, I recommend starting with the ground bison. It’s lean and flavorful and can easily be substituted for ground beef in just about any recipe. Bison makes a phenomenal burger and for a nice treat, drizzle one to two drops of balsamic vinegar on the patty just before you take it off the grill — this really intensifies the natural flavor. An old butcher taught me that trick and I’m sure you’ll agree that it yields spectacular results.

You can also try these Gorgonzola and Sun-Dried Tomato Bison Burgers.

Bison Chili

My all-time favorite bison dish has to be bison chili. It makes a hearty, meaty chili without a lot of the grease that can occur with beef. Try substituting ground bison in your favorite chili recipe or try our Buffalo Bill Chili recipe or this healthy version of Bison Chili from our Health Starts Here recipe collection. Here are a few more recipes for bison meat:

Do you have a great, tasty bison recipe? Share it here. If you’re new to bison, give it a try and let me know what you think!

Blog Updated on 2/20/2015.

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38 comments

Comments

Sue Kingsely says …

Have been eating it for years and one of my favorite cuts is bison flank. I would love to see more variety in your bison offerings - how about flank or sirloin instead of just ground beef and high end steaks?

Troy says …

Bison burgers are amazing. They're so flavorful without being "gamey." If you like to try new things, give elk a try. If prepared correctly, I think elk is even tastier than bison. But either way, you're getting a protein source that's much healthier than beef.

says …

We LOVE bison in our house... it's our preferred source of protein when it comes to burgers (with Havarti cheese, fresh rosemary and sea salt), stew (crushed tomato stew w/ cubed bison and pearl onions), and kabobs. Our kids love it and the flavor is so clean, you could eat it sans seasoning if you choose!

Caroline says …

Bison is such an easy switch to make with kids too. They won't even notice but you'll appreciate the health gain in feeding it to them.

Valerian says …

The other, other, red meat - Ostrich I wish the Whole Foods in our Las Vegas area would sell ostrich meat. We eat poultry and seafood..but sometimes I miss steak and I could get that taste from ostrich meat.

Kitty says …

We love bison! I've been using the ground version for a few years now instead of beef. I buy locally raised and slaughtered beef - nothing else. The steaks are wonderful. I've had friends ask what I put in the "hamburger" to make it taste so good. Nothing I say, it's bison. They are amazed.

Andrew says …

Bison is great tasting, good for your health, better for the environment than CAFO-raised cattle, and more humanely raised than CAFO-raised cattle. It's a win-win-win-win :)

ChickDiesel says …

I use BISON during my contest dieting preparations. I grew up Vegetarian and never like the taste of beef once I became a "meat eater". I was very much pleased with the flavor of bison meat and frequent Whole Foods for ALL of my bison needs. I usually have to check a few different locations in the ATL Metro area depending on the dish I'm cooking. I love using the flank for my bison Cubano tacos, and last year we made Bison Short Ribs with purple potatoes....it was impeccably delicious!

regina says …

river forest store has a king ranch casserole. would like to get the recipe if possible. thank you.

Kristy says …

We have a bison ranch in Cadiz, Ohio and love it. The taste is amazing and clean tasting. Try it for yourself.

Marisa Procopio says …

Troy is right--bison burgers are incredible, and my mouth is watering reading this. Can't wait to try that bison chili! Thanks for this. mcproco.wordpress.com

Jack shiaman says …

Does the store in yorkville have a variety of products made from bison?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@JACK - Since our products vary between locations, I would suggest calling that store directly to see what bison options they carry.

judy martinez says …

Hi. I would like to know where your bison spent the other 1/3 of their lives? And how they are harvested. Are they total grass fed or finished with grain? Thanks!!

Kim Gerber says …

I shop at the Whole Foods at 91st Metcalf in Overland Park Kansas. Except for a small counter area of ground bison, most of the meat was beef. I could not buy bison steaks while I was there but had to special order. Is Wholefoods moving away from selling Bison? Recently the merchandise in the casing has changed quite a bit. More beef, more bacon, less bison and less chicken sausages. I also will purchase wild game meat. Occasionally I will buy quail. No longer see in the case that this is an available product. Thank you for the help

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@JUDY - The answers to your questions will vary between vendors. Check with your local store to find out their vendor and they can look in to this for you!

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@KIM - We are decentralized so our buying is done at the regional/store level. If you have not already, try speaking with someone in store leadership to let them know about the changes. They will definitely appreciate the feedback!

Kim Kolleck says …

We have been eating bison burgers for a while and this weekend, I made bison meatloaf. The loaf was half the size of traditional meatloaf and we still did not eat it all.....the protein fill is amazing. If you do not care for the sweet taste - simply season like you would a regular burger - I use grilling season, garlic, etc....really compliments the meat. :)

Mike Flenniken says …

I noticed that the signage on the Buffalo does not make the claim that it is grass-fed. Is it or not?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@MIKE - It will depend on the vendor that is carried by your local store. Bison does not necessarily mean grass-fed. Check with your local store to see if they have a grass-fed vendor, if not, they might have a grass-fed beef vendor they can recommend.

Janine Schwartz says …

Can I buy Buffalo meet at local whole foods?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@JANINE - Our exact products differ between stores. Most of our locations should have an option but call them just to make sure!

Marita Follansbee says …

We tried whole foods bison burger tonight and loved it but noticed each serving had 11 grams of fat. Is that possible? I was thinking it would be around 2 grams...delicious, but I was a little concerned about the fat count.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@MARITA - Was this a packaged product? If this was a 365 or Whole Foods brand product I'm happy to check with our Private Label team.

Don R. Connell,M.D. says …

Thanks so much for carrying bison meats.I have pork and beef allergies and really had to search for a good alternative.Also ,bison is delicious and so much better for you.

Christine says …

I have been looking all over to find bison because I am dying to try it! I was in whole foods in jenkintown yesterday and couldn't find anything bison :(

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@CHRISTINE - I just spoke with Nick in the meat dept. in Jenkintown and they currently have ground bison and buffalo in the meat case. You can always give them a call at 215.481.0800 before you head over to make sure they have this in stock and they should be able to put some on hold for you!

Betsy says …

Is the bison that WF sells totally grass-fed? Not grain fed? Thanks.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@BETSY - Unless the bison is labeled as grass-fed, it could be fed grain. If it's labeled as grass-fed, it will never be fed any grain as it's grass-finished as well. Our exact vendor options differ between stores so check with your local store to see what types of bison they have in stock.

Barry Chandler says …

Does your store on Dublin Granville Rd in Columbus, ohio sell Bison Short Ribs?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@BARRY - I just spoke with the meat team and this is something they rarely have in stock. If you call them tomorrow morning when the butcher is in, they can let you know how often they have these or possibly special order them for you. You can reach the store at 614.760.5556.

Lori d says …

I haven't been able to find bison steaks at the Baton Rouge LA store in awhile. I used to buy them regularly there. Has it been discontinued?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@LORI - Our buying is done at the store/regional level, have you been able to check with the meat team directly? If not, they can let you know if it has been discontinued.

charles says …

Delicious. I bought my first two pounds and have loved it. The burgers were hands down the best I've ever made. My teen agrees.

bud says …

Where do the bison come from? Also are they fed any kind of corn? Thx Bud

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@BUD - Our vendors will differ between stores so check with your local store to see where their bison comes from and if they offer a grass-fed option.

Vivek says …

Hi Nikki, Do you sell wild boar meat in any of your locations?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@VIVEK - It isn't very common and will differ. I would check with your local store and if they do not, they can hopefully recommend someone in the area that might.