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.
Bison 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 care:
- 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.
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:
- Grilled Bison Strip Steaks with Sweet and Sour Onions
- Easy Tamale Casserole
- Bison Meatballs with Gravy
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!