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Bison Meat

Characterized by their horns, shaggy coat, and a shoulder hump, bison (or the American buffalo) are members of the cattle family. Native to North America, bison feed on grass and are raised on ranches and reserves. Some bison are raised strictly for the harvest of their meat, which is favored above cattle meat since it is so low in calories and cholesterol. In fact, bison meat is lower in fat, calories, and cholesterol than pork, beef, fish, and even chicken and turkey.

Bison meat is very tender and, when prepared properly, can be quite juicy. Bison can be substituted for beef in many dishes, and it has many of the same cuts as beef. Because it is so low in fat, preparation of bison meat is key in making it tender and edible. Here are some tips for purchasing and cooking bison meat:

  • Since cows and bison have similar muscle groups, you will find the same cuts of beef. This means you can choose from sirloin, porterhouse, T-bone, rib eye, roasts, and filet, just to name a few.
  • Due to its lower fat content, bison will cook faster than beef, so be sure that you don't overcook it.
  • Bison is more expensive than beef because there is such a high demand for the meat and also because suppliers usually sell to restaurants before they cater to the general public. Although you will be paying more for bison than for beef, you will notice that bison is usually the same size after cooking, since there is no fat to waste away.
  • If you buy bison meat through an online retailer, make sure that the meat you choose will be vacuum packed and shipped to you frozen. While retailers can ship fresh meat, it is not advisable. If you want fresh bison, find a retailer in your area and arrange to pick it up using your own transportation.
  • Visit some local butchers and inquire about bison. If they don't have it, ask if they can get it. You may be able to special order bison and have the butcher contact you when it arrives.

Remember that bison is a very healthy alternative to eating fatty beef. Not only is it higher in iron and lower in fat than beef, it is lower in cholesterol and fat than pork, chicken, and most fish. Some people say that bison tastes like gourmet beef because it is so rich.

 

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